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  6. Beautiful and deadly: Live reptile exhibition opens on October 7

Beautiful and deadly: Live reptile exhibition opens on October 7

OTTAWA, October 6, 2016 – The mystery and wonder of live lizards, snakes, turtles and other reptiles around the world are revealed in the Canadian Museum of Nature’s (CMN) newest exhibition, Reptiles: Beautiful and Deadly, which opens October 7.

“This is the largest travelling reptile exhibition in the world and we’re very excited to showcase it at our Museum,” says Meg Beckel, President and CEO of the CMN. “The experience is meant to explode common myths and instill a new appreciation for these misunderstood creatures.”

Visitors will see amazing animals in their recreated habitats up close and leave with a broad understanding of how reptiles fit into the animal kingdom. The many creatures on display include: geckos, giant tortoises, various turtle species, Gila monster, American alligator, python, rattlesnake and more!

Through several fun and informative interactive components, visitors will learn about fangs, skulls, shells, locomotion, milking viper and how to tell the difference between an alligator and a crocodile.

Reptiles was created by Clyde Peeling’s Reptiland in Allenwood, Pennsylvania. This popular show has been touring in North Amercia since 1999.

The exhibition will be on display at the CMN until April 8, 2017, at 240 McLeod Street in Ottawa. In addition to regular museum admission, a surcharge of $6 applies. 

For hours, admission, and other information, visit nature.ca. Like the CMN on Facebook. Follow on Twitter (@museumofnature) and Instagram (museumofnature).

Cool facts about reptiles

  • What is a reptile? Today most biologists classify animals by their evolutionary family tree, an approach called cladistics. The animals that evolved an outer covering of dry, horny scales are called reptiles. Their living descendants include turtles, crocodilians, lizards, snakes and birds (feathers are modified scales).
  • There are more than 10,000 species of reptiles in the world. In Canada, there are 54 species and sub-species. 
  • This exhibition focuses on the “cold-blooded” reptiles, which depend on outside sources of heat to warm their bodies. (The first known warm-blooded lizard, the tegu, can heat itself to as much as 10 °C above its surroundings, making it unique among reptiles.)
  • Athough turtles are an ancient group, the structure of the shell has changed little since the age of the dinosaurs. Scientists disagree about where turtles fit in the evolutionary tree of life.
  • Snakes are lizards that have lost their legs, ear openings and eyelids—possibly ancient adaptations for an underground existence.
  • More people die from bee stings each year than snakebites. In the United States, about 8,000 people receive venomous snakebites. Only nine to fifteen of those people die.
  • Most venomous snake bites in North America are from copperheads, water moccasins and rattlesnakes.
  • Alligators, crocodiles, caimans and the gharial are the closest living relatives of birds. They have bird-like hearts, digestive tracts, ear canals, and rib cages.
  • Alligators and other crocodilians are the “loud mouths” of the reptile world. Calls vary widely depending on species, age, size and sex. Some species can communicate over 20 different kinds of messages through sound alone.
  • Chameleons change skin color to express a mood or aid in camouflage. Tentacle-like chromatophores move pigments up and down through the layers of skin. The closer the pigment gets to the surface of the skin, the darker the animal appears.


Media contacts

Laura Sutin
Media Relations
Canadian Museum of Nature

Dan Smythe
Media Relations
Canadian Museum of Nature
(cell) 613.566.9253