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Reptile Park Ti Point Reptile Park Review & News 2015

Discussion in 'New Zealand' started by zooboy28, 13 Jan 2015.

  1. zooboy28

    zooboy28 Moderator Staff Member

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    This Park has been previously reviewed (http://www.zoochat.com/17/ti-pi-reptile-park-12666/; http://www.zoochat.com/17/ti-point-reptile-park-review-2011-a-226190/), but I visited again recently (31/12/2014) and thought I might just jot down some observations and a current species list. And some photos, as some of those I uploaded have been lost from the gallery.

    (As a disclaimer, I shall point out that I have used the species names on the signs (which may not be current given the dynamic state of NZ reptile taxonomy), and I have included these species regardless of whether I saw them or not. Furter, many species are displayed in multiple enclosures, and these are only mentioned once).

    So, to begin! The Reptile Park is located close to my childhood home, and I have visited it around 10 times previously, with my last visit two years earlier on 29/12/2012. It is New Zealand's only "Reptile Park", and is a privately-owned zoo set on a extremely picturesque hillside in a major summer tourist region. Entry was $20 for adults and $10 for kids. One of the first new items of interest was the park map, which is displayed in a couple of locations, but is not given out with entry (http://www.zoochat.com/398/ti-point-reptile-park-map-398371/). The entry building now has a little room adjoining it, with a couple of chairs and tables, and a poster about the reptile research undertaken at the park.

    The first exhibits are a series of glass-fronted exhibits for native geckos and skinks, which haven't changed for many years (http://www.zoochat.com/398/native-lizard-exhibits-ti-point-reptile-398370/). Species on display include:

    -Auckland Green Gecko (Naultinus elegans elegans)
    -Northland Green Gecko (Naultinus grayi)
    -Nelson Green Gecko (Heteropholis stellatus)
    -Jewel Gecko (Heteropholis gemmeus)
    -Forest Gecko (Hoplodactylus granulatus)
    -Goldstripe Gecko (Hoplodactylus chrysosireticus)
    -Southern Alps Gecko (Woodworthia sp.)
    -Central Otago Gecko (Woodworthia sp.)
    -Striped Skink (Oligosoma striatum)
    -Falla's Skink (Oligosoma fallai)
    -Otago Skink (Oligosoma otagense)

    Outside are the Tortoise Paddocks, which include a large grassy exhibit for various Australian species (I suspect the world's largest such exhibit - http://www.zoochat.com/398/australian-lizard-exhibit-ti-point-reptile-398372/), and then a central round exhibit (viewed from an elevated boardwalk) for Australian lizards, and then a series of small paddocks for exotic tortoises (many lacking signage), with the largest reserved for the Galapagos Tortoise, Willy, a male who winters at Auckland Zoo, but spends the summer months at the Park. Unfortunately, Willy was not yet at the Park as a medical check before his departure revealed a minor issue that needed treatment, however he is expected at the Park shortly. Other species displayed included:

    -Cunningham's Skink (Egernia cunninghami)
    -Blue-tongue Skink (Tiliqua scincoides)
    -Eastern Water Dragon (Physignathus lesuerii)
    -Eastern Bearded Dragon (Pogona barbatus)
    -Chaco Tortoise (Geochelone chilensis)
    -Leopard Tortoise (Geochelone pardalis)
    -Hermann's Tortoise (Testudo hermanni)

    Back near the entrance was another block of exhibits, a netted tortoise exhibit, and a series of glass-fronted exhibits viewed at eye-level (definitely the best way to view these species - http://www.zoochat.com/398/terrariums-ti-point-reptile-park-2012-a-304029/), with species including:

    -Star Tortoise (Geochelone elegans)
    -Three-toed Box Turtle (Terrapene carolina triunguis)
    -Reeve's Turtle (Chinemys reevesii)
    -Eastern Snake-necked Turtle (Chelodina longicollis)
    -Leopard Gecko (Eublepharis macularius)

    Heading down the hillside through the forest, the next block of exhibits is again for native lizards, with terrariums at the front, and long runs behind them (http://www.zoochat.com/398/native-reptile-exhibit-ti-point-reptile-304030/). These are undoubtedly excellent enclosures for the inhabitants, but spotting them is very tricky, and requires a great deal of patience and silence. Species displayed include (several others also in the entry building were here too):

    -Duvaucel's Gecko (Hoplodactylus duvauceli)
    -Manuka Gecko (Naultinus manukanus)
    -Robust Skink (Cyclodina alani)
    -Northern Brown Skink (Oligosoma moco)

    Around the corner are the Park's only mammals (a remnant of the Park's previous life as a "proper" zoo), displayed in a large aviary, with plenty of climbing room, vegetation and views (http://www.zoochat.com/398/capuchin-exhibit-ti-point-reptile-park-398373/).

    -Brown Capuchin (Cebus apella)

    Further down the hill, a large lawn features two large enclosures for the largest animals in the Park - alligators (http://www.zoochat.com/398/alligator-exhibits-ti-point-reptile-park-304031/). These exhibits are nothing stunning, but work well, and one features underwater viewing. The male is housed seperately to the two females, one of which (Doris) has recently arrived from Auckland Zoo.

    -American Alligator (Alligator mississippiensis)

    At the bottom of the hill is a low-walled enclosure dominated by a pond, which is very tranquil (if a bit unkempt), followed by a small aviary style exhibit in the forest, both of which hold the same turtle species (http://www.zoochat.com/398/red-eared-terrapin-exhibit-ti-point-226205/). Further up the hill, in a quiet clearing, are the forest tortoise exhibits, again netted and with plenty of shade (http://www.zoochat.com/398/yellow-footed-tortoise-exhibit-ti-point-226206/). These are my favourite exhibits. Previously, there was a nearby exhibit for Shingleback Skinks, but this has been removed, and a picnic table is now in its place.

    -Red-eared Slider (Trachemys scripta elegans)
    -Yellow-footed Tortoise (Geochelone denticulata)
    -Red-footed Tortoise (Geochelone carbonaria)

    On the opposite side of the clearing is the Reptile House (http://www.zoochat.com/398/reptile-house-ti-point-reptile-park-226208/). Two outdoor exhibit holds Australian reptiles, while the indoor exhibits hold a number of exotic tropical species, including tarantulas. A nocturnal section holds a small number of native reptiles. These exhibits range from poor to excellent, and the house itself could use a major upgrade, which I suspect is highly unlikely.

    -Madagascan Giant Day Gecko (Phelsuma madagascariensis)
    -Jackson's Chameleon (Trioceros jacksonii)
    -Murray River Turtle (Emydura macquarii)
    -Fire-bellied Newt (Cynops pyrrhogaster)
    -Tuatara (Sphenodon punctatus)
    -Mexican Red-kneed Taranula (Brachyphelma smithi)
    -Chilean Rose Tarantula (Grammostola rosea)
    -Green Iguana (Iguana iguana)
    -Florida Soft-shelled Turtle (Trionyx ferox)
    -Malayan Box Turtle (Cuora amboinensis)
    -Spotted House Gecko (Gekko monarchus)

    Upon leaving the house, there is a steep staircase leading up through the bush back to the entrance, where the last (and most recently constructed) exhibits are located (http://www.zoochat.com/398/new-exhibits-ti-point-reptile-park-398374/). The first of these exhibits is an aviary with glass windows (this is not new), holding juveile toroises, the second an open-topped tuatara exhibit, and the third another aviary for chameleons. The new species here are:

    -Spur-thighed Tortoise (Testudo ibera)

    From here, a short walk takes you back though the entry building, which also functions as the exit. Overall, little had changed at the Park, and while the new exhibits are nice, they are not really any different to the older exhibits. Personally, I'd like to see some tidying up of the Park, just cleaning and weeding in the visitors areas, some improvements to the paths, maybe some new paint in places (this could be done by volunteers probably). Within enclosures, cleaning of the glass, ponds and some vegetation tidying would make them look much more presentable, and replacement signage (especially where there is none) would be great. If it were up to me I would change the path system to run across from the alligators to the reptile house, cutting out the two very old and shappy looking slider exhibits at the bottom of the hill, and also some rather muddy paths through the bush down there.

    In summary, while the Park was a little shabby on this visit, it is still by far the best collection of reptiles in NZ (44 species), and has the largest number of native species on display (16 species). Unfortunately, this number has declined with a smattering of lost species, including two frogs, a couple of antive geckos and skinks, and possibly an exotic tortoise and skink (at least I didn't see them on display). Its easy to get to from Auckland, around an hour North, and is set within native forest, with plenty of native birds hanging around. Highly recommended!
     
    Last edited: 15 Jan 2015
  2. snowleopard

    snowleopard Well-Known Member Premium Member

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    Thanks for the informative review! It is always great to read about lesser-known establishments from around the world.
     
  3. Kifaru Bwana

    Kifaru Bwana Well-Known Member

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    Thanks for the informative review!

    Any info on reptile breeding and the research they perform?
     
  4. vogelcommando

    vogelcommando Well-Known Member

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    Also from me THANKS for this review and I also would be intrested to know about breeding results with the species kept ( esp. the native ones ).
     
  5. zooboy28

    zooboy28 Moderator Staff Member

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    I think they have had very good breeding success with most of the exotic species, including the Jackson's Chameleons, Leopard/Madagascan/House Geckos, Leopard/Star/Hermann's/Spur-thighed Tortoises, Red-eared Sliders and all Australian Species. A number of other species are held individually (relic species in NZ, like Red/Yellow-footed Tortoises) or in single-sex groups, so can't be bred. They haven't bred alligators, but with the arrival of an additional female, perhaps that will be on the cards.

    I don't know so much about their success with native species, but suspect they have had some, especially with the geckos. Don't think they have bred tuatara.
     
  6. Chlidonias

    Chlidonias Moderator Staff Member

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    so would you say that they no longer have Northern Dtella (Gehyra australis) or the Florida Softshell Turtle (Apalone ferox)?
     
  7. zooboy28

    zooboy28 Moderator Staff Member

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    I was not aware that they had ever had Northern Dtella, but the softshell is still there (I listed it above as Trionyx ferox).
     
  8. Cassidy Casuar

    Cassidy Casuar Well-Known Member

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    Could you please tell me how many Tarantulas they were holding?
     
  9. zooboy28

    zooboy28 Moderator Staff Member

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    There were three tarantula exhibits I'm fairly sure, one for Mexican Red-kneed Tarantula, and two for the Chilean Rose - I don't think any contained more than one, so they have at least three individuals, possibly more off-display.
     
  10. zooboy28

    zooboy28 Moderator Staff Member

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    I'm not fully aware of all their research at all, but suspect they have done a fair bit with husbandry and breeding of native lizards.

    In addition, they carry out some research in conjunction with universities, both with natives and exotics. For example, I think they were involved in a project that looked at the population structure of Duvaucel's Geckos, with Massey University. I have uploaded a photo of a poster at the Park detailing some research on exotic reptile stress: http://www.zoochat.com/398/research-ti-point-reptile-park-398446/
     
  11. Chlidonias

    Chlidonias Moderator Staff Member

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    oh. I looked through your lists several times and somehow completely missed it every time!!