Preparing for Winter: Reptiles & Amphibians

The Greensboro Science Center is home to a number of reptiles and amphibians, including four awesome Aldabra tortoises! Although they live at the GSC all year long, during your winter visit, you won’t see these guys out and about in our zoo.

As cold-blooded animals, Aldabra tortoises need warm weather to stay healthy. When temperatures dip below about 60 degrees, they remain inside their blockhouses where the temperature is maintained at a toasty 80 degrees and where they have access to heat lamps and UV lamps.

You probably notice in your very own backyard that you don’t see turtles, snakes, frogs, and the like during winter. Many of these animals hibernate during the colder months. If you see one around as the temperatures begin to cool, the best thing to do is to leave it alone. If the animal is in an unsafe location, you can move it to a brushy area where it can burrow and hide. To help local reptiles and amphibians, you can create brush piles in your yard where they can stay warm and safe through winter!

Volunteer Spotlight: Daylyn L.

At the Greensboro Science Center, we are honored to welcome approximately 750 volunteers each year, giving a cumulative 36,000+ hours of their time. With a friendly greeting and a warm smile, our volunteers help us carry out our mission each day, educating our visitors about our animals and exhibits and inspiring them to learn more.

This week, we’d like to introduce you to Daylyn L. Daylyn has been volunteering at the Greensboro Science Center since 2013. She says:

Daylyn LAs a child, I visited the Greensboro Science Center all the time. Now, even though school keeps me busy, I like to volunteer at the GSC on the weekends, at least 2 or 3 times a month. I was drawn to volunteering at the Greensboro Science Center because I have a passion for all animals. I love educating people about the different kinds of animals that live at the GSC. Since volunteering there, I found a new passion for herpetology, the study of reptiles and amphibians.

One of my best memories of being a volunteer was the day I got to shadow the Herp staff. I was allowed to assist with the husbandry and feeding of the snakes, lizards, salamanders, frogs and turtles. I even got to pet one of the Rhinoceros Iguanas, Rocky! I enjoyed shadowing the Herp staff because I want to be a herpetologist. I learned a lot that day and the staff made me feel welcomed.

Volunteering at the Greensboro Science Center means a lot to me. While working with the animals is a lot of fun, I have had a lot of really cool experiences interacting with visitors. A lot of the same people come to the Center every time I volunteer, so they always speak to me when they see me. I love seeing kids come to the Center and show their parents around. The best part of all, however, is knowing that what I do to teach the people might change the world as we know it. That is the most rewarding thing with volunteering at the Greensboro Science Center.

Amphibian Lab

For the last year or so, the “Sea Lab” located on the lower level of the museum has been closed off from view. In the months leading up to the opening of the Carolina SciQuarium, this room was used to house fish before their exhibits were finished. Now that these animals have moved to their permanent homes in the SciQuarium, the old Sea Lab has been transformed into an Amphibian Lab.

Greensboro Science Center visitors can now take a peek into the lab to view the slimy residents therein. Currently, the Amphibian Lab is home to a young Hellbender, White’s Tree Frogs, and Yellow & Black Dart Frogs. All of these animals are displayed in the window for visitors to see. The remainder of the lab will be used as quarantine and holding areas as new animals arrive.

Yellow and Black Dart Frog

Yellow & Black Dart Frog

The class Amphibia is made up of frogs, toads, salamanders, newts, and caecilians. But what on Earth is a caecilian? These are amphibians who appear to be superficially similar to earthworms or snakes.

During Phase II of the GSC’s Master Plan, the Amphibian Lab will continue to metamorphose. The current plan is to convert this area into an educational wing featuring underground animals. In this “wUNDERWORLD,” visitors will encounter mysterious inhabitants of the dark, such as spiders, scorpions, leeches, and snakes.

New Poison Dart Frog Exhibit

Poison Dart Frogs are now on display in the Jaycees Herpetarium at the Greensboro Science Center. On Friday, the exhibit officially opened with Blue Dart Frogs (Dendrobates azureus). They are the first of three species that will call this habitat home.

Blue Dart Frog

Blue Dart Frog

In about a week, the Blue Dart Frogs will be joined by Golden Dart Frogs (Phyllobates terribilis), one of the most toxic animals on earth. Golden Dart Frogs are endangered in their native range near the Pacific Coast of Columbia, South America. A few weeks later, Yellow and Black Dart Frogs (Dendrobates Leucomelas) will be added to complete this mixed-species exhibit. All three species are native to tropical forests in northern South America.

Amphibians are watched closely around the world as they are so vulnerable to environmental changes with their moist permeable skin.  Many factors, from disease to changes in climate, can cause rapid extinctions with some species.  With more education in place, stronger efforts in conservation can help the survival with many of these delicate amphibians.  Learn more by visiting the Poison Dart Frog Exhibit in the Jaycees Herpetarium daily between 9:00am and 5:00pm.