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Honolulu Zoo Opens Newly Renovated Ectotherm Complex

The new reptile facility is three years in the making at a cost of $3 million.

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If you live on Oahu, or will be visiting the 50th state this holiday season, be sure to check out the new Ectotherm Complex at the Honolulu Zoo.  The Reptile House first opened in 1964, but closed three years ago so the zoo could build a new facility to house its cold-blooded animals. The facility is state-of-the-art, and cost about $3 million to build and equip. It houses the zoo’s collection of turtles, snakes, lizards, amphibians, as well as snails and butterflies.

Honolulu Mayor Kirk Caldwell was present in the blessing of the Ectotherm Complex.


“I do think it's really important that we do things to help preserve the species that we do have and educate our keiki, and the adults too, about those species," Honolulu Mayor Kirk Caldwell told HawaiiNewsNow.

The zoo lost its national accreditation several years ago, but with the addition of the Ectotherm Complex, it is hoped that it will again earn accreditation.

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“It is a major first step. It is a modern exhibit style where we’re very fortunate in Hawaii. We can take advantage of the natural sunlight where a lot of facilities can’t. Their reptile facilities are indoors, and they have to use sunlamps and different things,” zoo director Linda Santos told KHON 2. “Our facilities in the past was really outdated and old. That’s what accreditation wants to see, moving forward with a better guest experience and animal welfare and exhibitry.”

Except for sea turtles and sea snakes, Hawaii doesn’t have any native reptiles, although the state has vibrant populations of invasive green anoles, brown anoles, Jackson’s chameleons and various gecko species. Some reptiles that are given up or were confiscated have ended up at the zoo.