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Reptile Park Ti Point Reptile Park Review 2011

Discussion in 'New Zealand' started by zooboy28, 29 Jul 2011.

  1. zooboy28

    zooboy28 Moderator Staff Member

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    I visited Ti Point Reptile Park today, 29/7/2011, for the first time in a couple of years, and it was looking pretty good, even though there were a few species missing (hopefully just off-display in the cooler months). Prices are rather steep ($18 for adults, kids $8 - large increase from 2008 prices of $10 and $5 respectively), but it is a small private collection which really needs the money.

    The Park is set on a steep hillside, and there is a simple loop track which takes visitors around all the exhibits. Having previously been a zoo, many of the reptile exhibits are ex-mammal or bird enclosures, and in general a very good size. Most are extremely well-vegetated, with the smaller terrarium-style exhibits having fresh cuttings.

    The first exhibits are in the entry building (except for a Sulphur-Crested Cockatoo in a small aviary just by the entrance), and consist of one large (floor to ceiling) exhibit for Forest Geckos and a native skink, four smaller rocky exhibits on the ground holding Otago Skinks (didn't see any), and seven exhibits above these with Rough Gecko, Goldstripe Gecko, Jewelled Gecko, Nelson Green Gecko, Auckland Green Gecko, Southern Alps Gecko, Pacific Gecko, Duvaucels Gecko, Common Skink & Striped Skink (various mixes). All were glass fronted, very leafy, and I saw most of the gecko species (http://www.zoochat.com/398/entry-exhibits-ti-point-reptile-park-226192/).

    The next set of exhibits are the 'tortoise paddocks' and consist of several paddocks with low-chainlink next to the visitor path and very low wooden divisions separating paddocks and small gardens. The first and largest exhibit has Eastern Water Dragons, Eastern Bearded Dragons & Spur-thighed Tortoise, followed by a smaller exhibit for juvenile Eastern Bearded Dragons circled by an elevated boardwalk. Next are paddocks for Texas Tortoise, Hermann's Tortoise, Chaco Tortoise & Star Tortoise (http://www.zoochat.com/398/tortoise-paddocks-ti-point-reptile-park-226194/). At the bottom of this complex is the new exhibit for the male Galapagos Tortoise Willy (ex-Auckland), who was shut in his (probably too small) indoor house today (http://www.zoochat.com/398/galapagos-tortoise-ti-point-reptile-park-226193/).

    Next up are a divided aviary-style exhibit for a pair of Leopard Tortoises and then their offspring. This backs on to a series of four raised glass fronted exhibits, the first of which is accessible to the leopard tortoise offspring. The next held a Jackson's Chameleon, which the owner fed a locust too for us, which was very cool. The last two exhibits held juvenile Red-Eared Terrapins & Bearded Dragons repectively.

    From this, the path leads down a steep hill (with great views out across to the islands) to a set of exhibits for native lizards. This is a corrugated iron-covered visitor area, with mesh-covered lizard runs extending out one side (http://www.zoochat.com/398/lizard-runs-ti-point-reptile-park-226195/). At the front of the runs are a series of six low concrete and glass exhibits, with Duvaucel's Gecko, Marlborough Green Gecko, Nelson Green Gecko, Goldstripe Gecko & Falla's Skink (plus others probably, various mixes). The runs are large exhibits, open to the elements, with native skinks (Falla/Otago/Robust I think).

    Heading further down the hill is a aviary-style exhibit for a pair of elderly Black-capped Capuchins (http://www.zoochat.com/398/capuchin-exhibit-ti-point-reptile-park-226196/). I'm still trying to find out what this exhibit originally held, as it looks more like a small cat (serval or even maybe leopard) cage rather than a primate one. Next are the two exhibits for American Alligators, a large male and a younger female, imported with the Auckland Zoo alligators from Australia in 2010. These exhibits are fully meshed over, with basic grass banks and ponds with underwater-viewing (http://www.zoochat.com/398/american-alligator-exhibits-ti-point-reptile-226197/). At the very bottom of the hill is a low walled exhibit for Red-Eared Terrapins, which I suspect previously held otters (http://www.zoochat.com/398/red-eared-terrapin-pond-ti-point-226204/). This is followed by another Red-Eared Terrapin exhibit, this time with a tall chainlink fence (http://www.zoochat.com/398/red-eared-terrapin-exhibit-ti-point-226205/).

    Heading back up the hill, this time through denser bush, is a large area, with some scattered exhibits, and a building which would probably be best called a Reptile House. The first exhibit is another tall aviary-style exhibit, split into two sections, with a heated house at the back (http://www.zoochat.com/398/yellow-footed-tortoise-exhibit-ti-point-226206/). The back part of the first half held a single Yellow-Footed Tortoise, while the other half appeared empty. A similar, although narrower, exhibit held a pair of Malayan Box Turtles, which appear to be an exciting new species (http://www.zoochat.com/398/malayan-box-turtles-ti-point-reptile-226207/)! I am not sure where they have come from, but it doesn't look like they have come from another ZAA institution. The entry to the Reptile House has a medium-sized, open exhibit, again with underwater viewing, which has previously had alligators, but now just has Eastern Water Dragons (http://www.zoochat.com/398/reptile-house-ti-point-reptile-park-226208/).

    Entering the house, the first exhibit is a glass-fronted exhibit for Leopard Geckos, opposite a taller exhibit for Shingleback Skinks. Next are a series of three exhibits, including one which goes over the visitors heads, for Jackson's Chameleons. There is then a large outdoor exhibit with an elevated jetty-style structure sticking out over it, but this was empty (previously had water dragons and red-eared terrapins). Tanks for Japanese Fire Bellied Newts & Whistling Tree Frogs, then Green and Gold Bell Frogs follow, opposite which is another outside exhibit for Three-toed Box Turtles. Back inside are separate exhibits for Bearded Dragons, Tuatara, Snake-neck Turtles & Leopard Geckos. Next is a large sloping, rainforest-themed exhibit, previously home to South American Red-Footed Tortoise, but now divided in two and holding a single Florida Soft-Shelled Turtle and Reeve's Turtles. Next is an exhibit for Spotted House Geckos, and then two for Madagascan Giant Day Geckos, with a Cunningham Skink exhibit at the exit.

    Heading further up the hill, the very last exhibit is for Duvaucel's Geckos, in an aviary which used to hold native parakeets. It appears that another exhibit is being built opposite this, and that a shortcut back to the top is also being installed here.

    Overall, the Reptile Park is really good species-wise, easily the best reptile collection in New Zealand, including best collection of native species, and well worth a visit. It does need a bit of maintenance, some painting and work on paths would lift it a bit, and some more detailed signage would help (many are just common name, latin name, distribution, and all are just text), but there is nothing wrong with most of the enclosures themselves. A visit on a nice summer day would be best, highlighting the location, surroundings and animals, rather than the aging infrastructure.
     
    Last edited: 29 Jul 2011
  2. Chlidonias

    Chlidonias Moderator Staff Member

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    nice review of a place I have wanted to visit for years but never been able to! $18 seems a bit steep but I guess one can't complain when seeing NZ"s best reptile collection (I would probably say NZ"s only good reptile collection!).

    Malayan box turtles are reasonably available in the private sector but, as is often the case with chelonians, not seen in zoos much (although the species was at Ti Point in 2008 apparently, because NZJeremy includes it in his review from the time: http://www.zoochat.com/17/ti-pi-reptile-park-12666/).

    Was there just the one Florida soft-shell at Ti Point now? And no red-footed tortoises that you saw?
     
  3. zooboy28

    zooboy28 Moderator Staff Member

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    Yes, thats interesting that he includes Malayan Box Turtles, as I am certain I have never seen them before, and they are not listed on Ti Point's census for 2007, 08 or 09.

    There was only one Florida soft-shell on display, and this would match with the current census, which just lists 1.0 remaining. There were also no Red-footed tortoises on display, but hopefully this is just a seasonal thing, and 0.1.1 are listed in the census. I will enquire about this and a few other questions I have.
     
  4. Chlidonias

    Chlidonias Moderator Staff Member

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    I think you must have probably simply missed the Malayan box turtles last time you were there, and they must be another one of the missing species from the facility's census results. I found this from an old 2009 forum while browsing the dark recesses of the interweb:
     
  5. sonicjett

    sonicjett Member

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    According to their website entry is now $20 for adults and $10 for children!
     
  6. zooboy28

    zooboy28 Moderator Staff Member

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    Its certainly not the cheapest place to visit, but it is one place I don't complain about the price.

    To update the questions earlier in the thread:

    -The park now lists 0.2 Malayan Box Turtles on the census.
    -They are down to 0.1 Red-footed Tortoise.
     
  7. CGSwans

    CGSwans Well-Known Member

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    I know it's not their fault (at all) but it's hard to take a reptile park without snakes terribly seriously.
     
  8. Steve Robinson

    Steve Robinson Well-Known Member

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    True - but you really have to see this place to appreciate just how good it is.

    Their range of reptiles [even sans snakes] puts many of us over here to shame.

    And, really nice folk running it.
     
  9. zooboy28

    zooboy28 Moderator Staff Member

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    This is absolutely true, it has the largest collection of NZ lizards in the world, and probably the largest turtle/tortoise collection in Australasia. Obviously snakes would be nice, but that isn't going to happen anytime soon, if ever.

    The owner is a pretty amazing guy, but I'm not sure how much he does now (he's rather old), there were at least two other guys working there when I last visited. Is there a manager there now? I wonder what will happen to this place in the future.
     
  10. zooboy28

    zooboy28 Moderator Staff Member

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    Giant Earthworm Found

    Maybe they could display these giant earthworms instead of snakes, native and far more interesting :D They could put them behind a large glass window (ranch-slider sized), with maybe 10cm of earth behind it, would be an interesting display, and an amazing one if they displayed their bioluminosity.

    Story & Photos here: The 75cm giant worm that turns ...up - National - NZ Herald News

     
  11. Steve Robinson

    Steve Robinson Well-Known Member

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    Hey, watch it young whippersnapper!! Ivan is not all that much older than me!!:p

    Mike is the curator and knows his subject well.
     
  12. Chlidonias

    Chlidonias Moderator Staff Member

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    scheltopusiks would be a good alternative for the snakes for Ti Point. I wonder if Wellington will be going ahead with their plans for importing some.
     
  13. zooboy28

    zooboy28 Moderator Staff Member

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    They probably have a better chance of getting iguanas now that Wellington has imported some.
     
  14. Chlidonias

    Chlidonias Moderator Staff Member

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    how so? The import procedure for iguanas and scheltopusiks is the same.
     
  15. zooboy28

    zooboy28 Moderator Staff Member

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    Oh is it? I didn't realise that. It would still be esaier (logistically if not bureaucratically) to import iguanas from Australia than Scheltopusiks from Europe.
     
  16. Chlidonias

    Chlidonias Moderator Staff Member

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    actually I made an important miscalculation. It is as easy to import scheltopusiks as it is iguanas -- from Australia (they can only be imported from there). I forgot that they are scarce in Australia, so in that respect you are quite correct that iguanas are easier.

    The only lizards that may currently be imported (all from Australia), as either adults or eggs, are lace monitor, shingleback, Madagascar day gecko, scheltopusik, common iguana and Fijian crested iguana. The import procedures for all of them are the same. [I was looking into what I could import a while ago, just in case the money ever became available for me to do so.....]
     
  17. zooboy28

    zooboy28 Moderator Staff Member

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    I hope you choose Lace Monitors...
     
  18. zooboy28

    zooboy28 Moderator Staff Member

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    Ti Point Reptile Park 2012 Update

    I visited the Ti Point Reptile Park again on the 29th of December 2012, which was a beautiful summer day. Despite the weather (or perhaps because of it) there were only 5-6 other groups at the park. Entry was $20, and they don’t have student prices (not that I am a student, but I have a card).

    The entry building hadn’t changed significantly, species I saw here were: Auckland Green Gecko, Northland Green Gecko, Goldstripe Gecko, Common Skink, Southern Alps Gecko, Rough Gecko, Nelson Green Gecko & Striped Skink, there were also signs for Duvaucel’s Gecko & Falla’s Skink. These enclosures are perfectly adequate for the animals, but the glass was very dirty on the inside, which made viewing them rather difficult (especially at the bottom of the terrariums).

    The tortoise paddocks hadn’t changed much either, although they looked a bit older. Species displayed here included: Cunningham Skink, Eastern Bearded Dragon, Shingleback Skink, Leopard Tortoise, Galapagos Tortoise, Star Tortoise, Chaco Tortoise & Hermann’s Tortoise. The Texas Tortoises are no longer displayed nor listed on the census. The next enclosure block now had Star Tortoises (plus juvenile Leopard Tortoises) in the aviary section (http://www.zoochat.com/398/tortoise-enclosures-ti-point-reptile-park-304028/), with Three-toed Box Turtle, Eastern Snake-necked Turtle, Red-eared Turtle, Eastern Bearded Dragon & Leopard Gecko displayed in the terrariums (http://www.zoochat.com/398/terrariums-ti-point-reptile-park-2012-a-304029/).

    The native lizard house (http://www.zoochat.com/398/native-reptile-exhibit-ti-point-reptile-304030/) was looking the same as always, still a nice collection of exhibits (good size and well furnished), but very difficult to see the reptiles (not helped by more dirty glass). I saw Robust Skink, Moko Skink, Marlborough Green Gecko, Nelson Green Gecko, Duvaucel’s Gecko & Falla’s Skink here, but there were signs for other species too. The Black-capped Capuchin exhibit hadn’t changed at all, with the pair still looking active and in good condition.

    Down the hill, the American Alligator enclosures looked the same (http://www.zoochat.com/398/alligator-exhibits-ti-point-reptile-park-304031/), although a new path (or possibly just a staff access way) looked to be being cleared across the hillside to the Reptile House. This would cut off the bottom two enclosures of the park, which are both very old and rundown, and just hold Red-eared Turtles, as well as an often muddy walk through part of the bush.

    The Reptile House area still had Yellow-footed Tortoise and Malayan Box Turtles housed nearby, with Eastern Water Dragons adjacent to the house itself. Within the house, species displayed were: Leopard Gecko, Jackson’s Chameleon, Fire-bellied Newt, Whistling Frog, Three-toed Box Turtle, Tuatara, Robust Skink, Duvaucel’s Gecko, Eastern Water Dragon, Snake-necked Turtle, Chilean Rose Tarantula, Green Iguana, Florida Soft-shelled Turtle (http://www.zoochat.com/398/florida-softshell-turtle-ti-point-reptile-304032/), Reeve’s Turtle, Spotted House Gecko & Madagascan Giant Day Gecko, although I didn’t see all species. The tarantulas were held in adjoining terrariums and were presumably part of the large importation of tarantulas earlier in the year. The iguanas (there are two) are an exciting addition to the park, and looked great in the large rainforest exhibit, which also holds the soft-shell turtle. There was still no sign of the male Red-footed Tortoise, although he is still listed in the census. There was also a pair of Welcome Swallows nesting in the entryway.

    Returning to the top area of the park, a new block of enclosures, of various types, are being constructed on both sides of the path, where the Duvaucel’s Gecko enclosure used to stand. This part of the path was blocked off, but looked like it will be a nice display, if a bit dense. A new staircase (under construction last year) now links to the entry building.

    Overall, the park looked basically the same as 18 months ago, some parts a bit rougher, and some parts looking a bit tidier. The new enclosures look interesting, and the addition of tarantulas and iguanas are very exciting, and together hopefully signal more new species arriving at the park in the near future.
     
  19. zooboy28

    zooboy28 Moderator Staff Member

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    I have had some communication with the owner of the reptile park, who has informed me that this enclosure has previously housed Spider Monkeys and Raccoons.
     
  20. Chlidonias

    Chlidonias Moderator Staff Member

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    still nothing on the park's website about having iguanas which is a bit surprising, but there's a photo of one of them here: Ti Point Reptile Park - Leigh