We are proud to offer exciting daily educational programs presented by our very own specialized zoo keeping staff. Our staff will help dispel the myths about reptiles and educate visitors about the important role they play in our natural world. Call ahead or ask at the front desk for the daily schedule.
We are dedicated to the excellent care and humane treatment of our animals and always ensure the safety of our visitors. During demonstrations, and only if you desire to do so, you will have the opportunity to safely touch a live snake. We always ensure a trained staff member is in complete control of its head at all times for safety. It is important to be aware that snakes are wild animals that can potentially bite at any time if not properly handled by a professional.
The Indian River Reptile Zoo was established in 1998. In 2001, the zoo became a training facility for all Canadian Federal Wildlife Officers as well as several other government agencies. In 2009, the zoo became a not for profit organization and Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) registered charity* in order to gain public support. The zoo focuses its resources on the protection of the world’s reptile species. Today the Indian River Reptile Zoo is the leader in its field - actively participating in internationally regulated conservation programs and is primarily devoted to education.
*Canada Revenue Agency Registered Charity #80522-2253-RR0001
The Indian River Reptile Zoo is located on 44 acres of unique landscape. Take a nature walk, enjoy the trail and learn about the famous Norwood Esker, a gravel ridge left behind by our last retreating glacier over twelve thousand years ago. New in 2013, watch as our nature pond takes hold and offers habitat to the numerous species of native wildlife which call our zoo grounds home.
Please note parts of the trail are steep and can be slippery when wet. Wear proper walking shoes. No flip flops please. You are responsible for your own safety. Please be careful but have fun!
Here is an exciting family experience- an opportunity to dig for real dinosaur bones. Experience the thrill of being a paleontologist! Enjoy digging for bones and dinosaur skeletons in our bone yard. Make a record of your find and note the strategic location for others to enjoy.
Dinosaurs have invaded our zoo since 2012, bringing people in droves to enjoy them! We have added a new bone dig as well as life sized dinosaur skulls and two large full skeletons. Never before seen in eastern Ontario, it’s bigger and better with more exciting dinosaurs and exhibits. We've even added a few complete life sized dinosaur skeletons which make a great photo opportunity and two dinosaurs that you can sit on to have your picture taken.
We provide visitors with the opportunity to view over 200 reptiles in climate controlled conditions. Each enclosure presents reptiles in their natural setting and features specific information about each species.
These animals act as ambassadors, allowing visitors to safely get close to reptiles that they would not likely see in the wild.
We work passionately to protect all reptile species and maintain a large number of animals that are not on display; so that our animals can be rotated off display in order to reduce stress.
Some of our reptiles are rescued animals from the pet trade and many others are endangered species that have been seized by Federal Wildlife Officers. These are animals which cannot be returned to the wild for various reasons. We enlist endangered animals in regulated breeding programs to help save species from extinction.
Note: We only breed animals when provided with recommendations by the species studbook keeper or species survival plan coordinators.
The Indian River Reptile Zoo focuses its efforts on reptile conservation. Presenting a variety of reptile species at our zoo, we give our visitors an opportunity to see animals they would not see anywhere else in Canada. Each animal we maintain helps contribute to the future of its own species. Raising awareness to its plight and functioning within regulated breeding programs. We do not buy, sell or trade animals with the general public.
Our friendly and knowledgeable zoo keepers are trained educators and are always pleased to answer any visitor questions.
WOW! This is really exciting! For the young and the young at heart we have added a crocodile slide. It is 9.14m (30ft) high and a thrill for children to climb up and slide down!
*Please note operation is weather permitting and rules do apply, including socks must be worn and children must be at least 3 feet tall to ride.
Since 2001 the Indian River Reptile Zoo has been training and certifying Canadian Federal Wildlife Officers. We have also developed and tailored special courses for the Ontario Provincial Police (OPP), municipal law enforcement officers (Police and Animal Control), Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (SPCA) and Humane Societies personnel. Additionally we have trained delegates from Chile and US Fish and Wildlife officers.
The Indian River Reptile Zoo has acted as a consultant for zoological facilities worldwide. Our operating protocols have been recognized and adapted by numerous zoo facilities and associations worldwide. Our safety techniques, husbandry, and protocol for reptile care continue to evolve.
Furthermore, we are frequently called to consult in designing federal, provincial and municipal legislation across Canada with the objective of creating safe and humane by-laws for exotic animals.
Most people are unaware of the large number of venomous reptiles currently kept in private collections. It may also surprise you how many venomous snake collections are displayed in zoos and even pet stores across Canada. It is important to note that the Indian River Reptile Zoo, as the founder of the Ontario Antivenin Bank, is the only reptile zoo to stock lifesaving antivenin for venomous snakebites.
On numerous occasions, our zoo has been called upon to provide lifesaving antivenin to hospitals across Canada.
It is incredibly dangerous for a facility or individual to maintain venomous reptiles and not maintain antivenin as a safeguard.
This is a fact: there are accredited zoos, pet stores and private residences across Canada with venomous reptiles and no quick access to antivenin. It is especially prevalent in Ontario. The lack of legislation governing care of exotic species threatens the safety of those involved - be it the keeper or a visitor. While we stock antivenin for the safety of our own keepers it has never been used for any of our own staff or visitors. Our zoo receives multiple calls each year requiring us to bring our antivenin supply to save lives.
The Ontario Antivenin Bank was established in1999.
The Species Survival Plan was enacted in 1986 by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA). It provides vital information for studbook keeping and ensures inbreeding does not occur. This gives zoo animals a better chance at being returned to the wild by means of long term planning. By managing a self-sustaining population in captivity we can ensure that one day we can reintroduce animals back into the wild once the obstacles that caused their population to decline are overcome.
We participate in humane animal research, for example, by providing DNA samples for Trent University’s Wildlife Forensic DNA Laboratory, where there is a scientific interest in the identification of reptile species. DNA is also provided for use as a species baseline where comparison is necessary to identify, for legal purposes, animals that may have been illegally acquired.
For University students interested developing a Theseus on Herpetology, Zoology or related studies, please submit your proposal for review and approval by our board of Directors.
The Indian River Reptile Zoo is frequently called upon when people find animals from raccoons to snakes on their property. We do not recommend the removal of indigenous species. However, we will assist them as needed to ensure safety to humans and our local wildlife.
The Indian River Reptile Zoo has been contacted for assistance in removing reptiles from buildings and residences by the authorities. As of 2012, we no longer accept adoptions from the general public. We simply do not have the room to provide what we deem the proper amount of space to accommodate further adoptions. We have space reserved for and will always assist any authority on any level by request in emergency situations. Additionally there are countless difficulties in integrating someone's pet into captive breeding programs, and this does not benefit our mission statement to conserve reptile life globally.
We will continue to provide excellent care for our current adoptions and we caution people to think twice before acquiring a reptile pet. We are not against people having pets; however, we strongly encourage them to properly research the care, maintenance and life span of the species they wish to acquire.
For the monolithic stone lover- our zoo features several giant structures of Belmont Rose Pink Granite. These two circles of stone are strategically placed on our grounds and available for picnics and photography. These beautiful standing stones have brought people from around the world to view and photograph.
Indian River Reptile Zoo is a non-profit charity. Please help support us in caring for unwanted and abandoned reptiles!