MEMPHIS, TN (WMC) - The Memphis Zoo reptile house received a facelift.
Dozens of creepy crawlers now have a more inviting community.
Closed for past three months, the herpetarium is back open with enhancements throughout.
The zoo doubled the number of state-of-the-art enclosures for reptiles and amphibians.
"Meaning that half of our new cages are empty, but over the next year and a half, we're going to greatly increase the size of our collection," said Reptile Curator Steve Reichling.
Those familiar with the herpetarium will remember how dark and dim it was inside, dating back to its opening in 1969.
One of the first things visitors will notice at the new exhibit is the LED and UV lighting.
"A building full of snakes, and its actually a cheery, happy welcoming place," said Reichling. "One of the things I'm most excited about is our new graphics which are digital, color, just a really excellent way in presenting key information on these animals."
The renovations were made possible by two gr ants totaling nearly $630,000 from the Institute of Museum and Library Services and the Memphis Zoo is providing significant matching cost.
Reichling admits the King Cobra is his favorite.
"He is by far the most intelligent snake in the world, this particular species. Both appealing and makes you give him a lot of respect."
Reichling said he's proud of the zoo's efforts to protect local species.
"Memphis Zoo reptile house focuses primarily on conserving and studying species that are native to the Southeast United States."