London Zoo: Sneak peek at fabulous frogs and stunning snakes as new reptile exhibit prepares for grand opening

A king cobra's intense gaze (Photo: Jamie Price/ZSL)A king cobra's intense gaze (Photo: Jamie Price/ZSL)
A king cobra's intense gaze (Photo: Jamie Price/ZSL) | zsl
The exhibit is home to some of the world's most threatened species - and underrated - species

London Zoo fans can now get a sneak peek at some of the denizens of its brand new exhibit - from one of the world's rarest frogs peeping out from its muddy den, to the intense gaze of a regal cobra.

The conservation zoo's long-awaited new experience, the Secret Lives of Reptiles and Amphibians, is finally set to open to the public on Easter weekend. The centre will be home to to some of the planet’s most fascinating and threatened species, while also shining a spotlight on the Zoological Society of London's (ZSL) global conservation efforts to protect them.

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Home to 33 species - from jewel-coloured geckos to turtles with heads so big they cannot fit in their shells - visitors to the exhibition will also be able to catch a glimpse some of the rare reptiles and amphibians which were previously hidden from public view, or part of conservation breeding programmes. These include the zoo's critically endangered mountain chicken frogs, which have recently welcomed a clutch of tiny froglets for the first time in five years.

A mountain chicken frog peeks out from its burrow (Photo: Jamie Price/ZSL)A mountain chicken frog peeks out from its burrow (Photo: Jamie Price/ZSL)
A mountain chicken frog peeks out from its burrow (Photo: Jamie Price/ZSL) | ZSL
A Roti-island snake necked turtle swims by (Photo: Jamie Price /ZSL)A Roti-island snake necked turtle swims by (Photo: Jamie Price /ZSL)
A Roti-island snake necked turtle swims by (Photo: Jamie Price /ZSL) | ZSL
A turquoise dwarf gecko strikes a pose (Photo: Jamie Price/ZSL)A turquoise dwarf gecko strikes a pose (Photo: Jamie Price/ZSL)
A turquoise dwarf gecko strikes a pose (Photo: Jamie Price/ZSL) | zsl

To celebrate its impending opening day, London Zoo enlisted celebrated macro-photographer Jamie Price to showcase some its intriguing new inhabitants, in all their glory. The results of his four-hour long photoshoot, which required a mix of painstaking preparation and lightning-quick reactions - thanks to some of the conservation Zoo’s more camera-shy species - were released on Tuesday (12 March).

While the roti-necked turtle was eager to be papped, Price said he had to move quickly to snap a photo of the turquoise dwarf gecko, who made only a brief appearance from under a leaf. The exclusive gallery also features a close-up glimpse of the conservation Zoo’s colourful panther chameleon poking his bright yellow tongue out, a steely-eyed King Cobra, and an optical illusion-esque shot of a perfectly camouflaged mossy frog.

"As a wildlife macro-enthusiast, I love focussing in on the extraordinary details of the creatures I’m photographing – and these reptiles and amphibians at London Zoo have some of the most distinctive features of any animal I’ve captured," Mr Price said. "From the armour-like scales coating the Gidgee skinks to the completely camouflaged mossy frogs, it is great to be able to use my pictures to highlight and celebrate their uniqueness."

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Dave Clarke, London Zoo's herpetology manager, added: "As a long-time fan of these animals, I’m acutely aware of the beauty and wonder to be found within reptiles and amphibians - I’m delighted to see a gallery of images devoted to showcasing just that."

The Secret Life of Reptiles and Amphibians centre had provided custom, specially-crafted habitats, he continued, that would help enable the zoo to grow its conservation efforts "for these diverse, unique and extraordinary species", while allowing visitors to get closer than ever before.

"These photos give a wonderful preview of the amazing animals they’ll get to see," he said.

You can see the rest of the new gallery, find out more about the new experience, or book tickets online here.

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