New LAIR reptile exhibit opening at LA Zoo

L.A. Zoo

A Gray's monitor. They are featured in the Care and Conservation room in the LAIR. The new exhibit opens March 8, 2012. The Los Angeles Zoo is one of only a few zoos in the U.S. to house the endangered Gray's monitor.

All manner of cold-blooded creatures are settling into new digs at the L.A. Zoo. The new reptile center opens Thursday.

It’s called Living Amphibian, Invertebrates, and Reptiles, or “LAIR” for short. Residents include one of the rarest and most endangered reptiles in the world: the foot-long Gray’s monitor, as well as the largest amphibian, the Chinese giant salamander.

They’re among the more than 60 species from around the globe housed in 49 exhibits in the new building. One of the rooms allows you to watch zookeepers at work through the glass as they care for young reptiles and tend to their eggs as they hatch.

Another is known as the “Bite and Squeeze” room. That’s where the snakes live. Among them: the Bushmaster, the largest venomous snake in the Americas.

Many of the reptiles were confiscated from wildlife smugglers.

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