Reptiles: The Beautiful and the Deadly

By Carolyn Belardo

Get eyeball to eyeball with live deadly snakes, colorful lizards, bizarre turtles, and rugged crocodilians from around the world in the Academy’s new exhibit Reptiles: The Beautiful and the Deadly.

There’s no substitute for living animals, and this exhibit features some of the world’s most recognized and fearsome cold-blooded animals, which also happen to be some of the most beautiful and exotic.

“Reptiles have enduring appeal, and they are fascinating to watch and examine up close,” said Academy Senior Director of Exhibits Jennifer Sontchi. “Few people will ever encounter these animals in the wild, but it’s great that they can learn about them in the safety and the fun environment of our museum.”

Rhinocerous iguana. Photo by Mike Servedio/ANS
Rhinocerous iguana. Photo by Mike Servedio/ANS

Reptiles: The Beautiful and the Deadly will be on view through Jan. 10. Discounted online tickets are available in advance on our Reptiles page

Nearly 20 species of live reptiles are on display including a bearded dragon, Gila monster, crocodile, alligator, chameleon, gecko, python, viper, cobra, and more.

Nestled in naturalistic habitats, these unforgettable animals will help dispel common myths and foster a basic understanding of how reptiles fit into the animal kingdom and in their native environments.

Engaging, interactive components let visitors “milk” a viper, learn to speak croc, and test their knowledge with “Turtle Trivia” and “Lizard Wizard.”

Reptiles: The Beautiful and the Deadly is sponsored by Brown Brothers Harriman & Co. Reptiles was created by Peeling Productions at Clyde Peeling’s REPTILAND, Allenwood, Pa.


CBS 3 visited the exhibit on opening day and met the blue-tongued skink from Australia. Click here to watch the segment.

Special activities and shows are planned for opening weekend, Oct. 3 and 4. Visit for the list of times so you don’t miss anything!

Recently in the news:National has amazing video of chameleons shooting their tongues like arrows to catch insects and displayng their hidden colors. The New York Times reports on new findings about the evolution of chameleons’ hands and feet.  


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