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Reptile Room At Australian High School Catches Fire

About 15 of 50 reptiles perish at Lilydale High School in Melbourne.

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Imagine going to a high school that offers a class on reptile and snake handling. Far fetched? Maybe here in the United States, but not in the Land Down Under. Lilydale High School in Melbourne offers such a course, but it has been put on hold after a fire destroyed the teaching room in which the reptiles were housed, killing about 15 of the 50 reptiles kept in the room, according to an Australian Broadcasting Corp. news report.

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According to the report, the portable building was home to some 50 reptiles, including pythons, Australian monitor lizards (called goannas in Australia) and several water dragons. Several of the lizards perished in the fire as well as several baby albino pythons. Most of the snakes, survived. Many of the animals escaped their enclosures during the fire but those that survived were placed back into enclosures that were not damaged in the fire.

The firefighters were at first concerned when they arrived on the scene because they were unsure if there were any venomous snakes in the room, but their fears were allayed when they were informed by the teacher who oversees the program that the snakes were all non-venomous pythons.

Three firefighters were able to capture the loose reptiles. The coordinator of the reptile room, teacher Marcus Whitby, is looking to temporarily rehome several of the reptiles until a new room can be delivered to the school.


John B. Virata keeps a ball python, two corn snakes, a king snake, and two leopard geckos. His first snake, a California kingsnake, was purchased at the Pet Place in Westminster, CA for $5. Follow him on Twitter @johnvirata.