Photography obsessed writer and urban explorer. Lover of nature, art and long weekends. Adelaide, South Australia.
Published May 28th 2015
Love those thorny devils
When planning my trip to Alice Springs and Uluru, and knowing that I had limited time in Alice prior to my 6am pick up to join the tour - I headed to Google to find some interesting places to visit while I was there. The Alice Springs Reptile Centre was within walking distance of my accommodation and was easy to find, so onto my list it went!
It's located just across the road from the Royal Flying Doctor Service headquarters in Stuart Avenue.
It looks small and unassuming from the outside. A big photo of a crocodile told us we were in the right spot.
Entry was really cheap. Our host at Alice's Secret gave us a discount voucher to use. We didn't need it though - the Reptile Centre gave us extra cheap entry tickets due to the entire snake room being closed for renovations. Bad timing for us, but renovations and maintenance need to happen sometime and it was nice that they reduced the entry fee to compensate.
We weren't disappointed with our visit though. Far from it. We headed out to the rear of the building to see Terry the saltwater crocodile and the dozens of lizards - including the one I desperately wanted to see - the Thorny Devil.
There were 3 Thorny Devils roaming about in their enclosures. They are the most amazing little creatures I've ever seen! For such fierce looking animals, they are so placid and friendly. Their diet consists entirely of ants and their thorns are really not that thorny. Their looks are all bluff and blunder, and they look the way they do to keep the predators away.
We were invited back inside to attend their keeper talk and to see a python, goanna and bearded dragon up close.
I thoroughly enjoyed the keeper talk. We saw some examples of snake fangs, we heard about first aid in the Australian outback and learnt about the Centre's environmental and eco-tourism initiatives and of course - we held a snake and lizards (all under proper supervision).
I've never held a snake before and, although a bit nervous, was happy that my first time was a pleasant experience. There were kids in the audience and it was as much fun watching them handle the reptiles as it was in handling them myself.
I'm glad that I spent time at the Reptile Centre - it's definitely a worthwhile place to visit and would highly recommend it for families.
The Alice Springs Reptile Centre is a privately operated reptile centre and environmental education facility and houses the largest collection of reptiles in the Northern Territory.