Skye Serpentarium

54913 HLSKYSD11.jpg[ProductMain]Its quite a few years since I visited my friends Catherine and Alex Shearer at the Serpentarium on the beautiful isle of Skye, but this week I caught up with both of them. The Skye Serpentarium was first as opened in 1991 by Catherine and Alex as a wonderful exhibition and educational centre.

Its a super place and somewhere they have developed and updated over the years as their collection grew. Over the past 25 year they have also worked tirelessly to care for abandoned or rescued reptiles and amphibians that have been passed onto them by customs and others. With their dedication to provide proper care, and through the help of sponsors and donations, over the years they have done a truly amazing job in supporting the lives of between 500-600 animals, with many being featured on display in the Serpentarium at any one time.

interior-450Sadly, but understandably after all this time, Catherine and Alex have now decided it is time for them to close the Serpentarium. As such it will officially close its doors on the 24th October, 2015. However, Although the public side of the Serpentarium will end, their care for animals they feel they will still be able to personally look after will continue.

These include rescued Iguanas and royal pythons brought back from the very brink of death by them after being customs seizures as far back as 1993. Sponsorship is still urgently required, and donations needed, to support their continued efforts, so for anyone wishing to make a donation or offer support please contact Catherine or Alex directly at:

Skye Serpentarium

Groundbreaking Legal Win!

A major Palm oil company has just been charged with illegal forest destruction.
Earlier this week, Indonesia’s Supreme Court rejected an appeal by a palm oil company, PT Kallista Alam, which was found guilty of illegally burning over 1,000 hectares of the Tripa peat swamp forests in Sumatra, part of the Leuser Ecosystem.


The company has been fined more than USD $25 million, a verdict that many hope will set a precedent for law enforcement against companies involved in environmental destruction. A large proportion of the fine will be used to restore the ecosystem.

The verdict comes as Sumatra and surrounding areas are shrouded in a thick haze, caused by illegal forest fires. The Environment and Forestry Ministry are stepping up legal action against the plantation companies behind the raging fires.

Ninety percent of the world’s palm oil is grown in Indonesia, which also has the world’s highest rate of deforestation—more than 2 million acres of rainforest are cleared every year. Including in the Leuser Ecosystem. The Leuser Ecosystem is a unique habitat, vital for to the continued life of many endangered species and people. Help support it being saved here: RAN.ORG       

 Leuser Ecosystem                 Global Greengrant

Science Uncovered Tonight!

Mcr-Museum-science-uncovered-1-472x264Science Uncovered is a unique chance to delve deeper into science on an evening out: you can go on a behind the scenes tour of the museum, hear spotlight talks on how we can have so many bacteria in our bodies and not get sick, plus, you know, the history of the earth in three minutes – and even make a bracelet based on the structure of graphine.

Tonight there will be a performance of the Circuit Bent Orchestra, a trio of electro-experimentalists who produce their sound entirely from well-loved childhood toys, as well as pop-up bars, and a fantastic chance to see Manchester Museum’s incredible new facility, The Study, in action.

wonder-900x675-605x301Perhaps most unusual of all, Science Uncovered is an exclusive chance to meet curators and researchers from organisations including Chester Zoo and Liverpool John Moores University, who’s research ranges from mummified animals to meteorites.

So, to finally hear the answer to your most burning science-y question (how do we understand the chemistry of a T-rex’s teeth, for instance) as well as have a rather remarkable night out, head to Manchester Museum tonight!

Science Uncovered         The STUDY        After hours – event details

Birthdays to Celebrate!

Last week we had a very unexpected surprise –  our Jackson chameleon female gave birth again to 12 babies! It was incredible to watch her giving birth to such beautiful, fully formed little creatures.

photo 2Today we had another special reason to celebrate a birthday, that of our highly valued volunteer Audrey. Audrey has been with us for 4 years and is a wonderful asset to our department. She regularly supports our daily handling table in the vivarium gallery here at the museum, today was no exception. Today Audrey was a year older, at 83 she is wonderful advocate for the reptiles and amphibians we maintain and use for engaging visitors of all ages. Although Audrey has never kept exotics at home, her pets mainly consisting of cats in recent years, she adores our live animals and her care for them is clear by all who are lucky enough to be in her presence.

Happy Birthday Audrey!, and thank you so much for all your support, which is so appreciated.

Get Involved               IF              Volunteer Abroad

PS. This month is also the 7th Birthday of Frogblog, so why not take a recap over past posts by checking out the Archives, very top left of the main page!

Rainforest renovation

Yesterday I was back working in the rainforest. No, not the rainforest of Costa Rica, but one much nearer to home – in our amazon rainforest exhibit right here in the vivarium. It was ready for a good strip down, clean, replanting, basically a full makeover! It was full days job, and a very hot, dirty and sweaty one I can tell you. With the support of Matt and Tom it all got finished and is now looking clean, fresh and better than ever. The animals are all thriving in there, and as with me, now they have new spray nozzles and suchlike in there they could all have a nice shower afterward too!


Anolis allisoni (c) Andrew Gray

New additions of specimens have recently included some large and beautiful Blue-headed Anolis, which are stunning, and some further Trinidadian Leaf Frogs, which we raised ourselves behind the scenes. They all look incredible in the newly refurbished exhibit and so next time you visit why not take a look for them amongst the lush new rainforest in Manchester!

Secret project revealed – coming to a screen near you!

Exciting news on a secret project which we have been working on here at The Vivarium!  Andrew, David and I are now a step closer to finishing the project, which is a film about climate change affecting frogs.  It has been an interesting and satisfying film to be part of.  I wanted to be involved because frogs mean a lot to me and I want people to know that the Lemur Leaf frog might soon become extinct.  This is what we’ve been up to  .  .  .

My Day at the University of Salford

A few weeks ago we visited the University of Salford at MediaCity and went to this room with loads of High Tech stuff to record my voice for the film.  David, a brilliant film maker, had already recorded lots of shots of the rainforest and frogs in Costa Rica, an interview with Andrew, as well as the frogs in the Vivarium in Manchester. So now we needed to record the voice-over.  I had to go to a separate sound room to record my voice. I had these huge headphones and a microphone in front of my face and whenever I talked I could hear echoes of my voice and everyone in the other room could hear my voice too!


Once we had finished the first script, I then got to record another one, so we ended up in the studio for two hours!!!  But I really really enjoyed it and at the very end David asked me if I would like to do another film.  It was a yes, obviously!!! My favourite line in the film was the very last line which means a lot to me: “Because after all, it all starts with you!”. You’ll find out why this is so important when you watch this special film!!!

I’d like to say a big thank you to Andrew and David for letting me be a part of this fantastic project!

Lucy’s post – why I want to be a zoologist when I grow up

Costa Rican Field Course

University of Manchester Costa Rican field course, established in collaboration with Professor Amanda Bamford:

 FLS FIELDCOURSES    COSTA RICA COURSE     – 2015     – 2014     – 2013    

Theo Jolliffe


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