Ontarians are in for a slithery good time this summer — Reptilia, the largest reptile zoo in Canada, is officially opening in Whitby, Ont. this June.

The new facility will be the second of its kind in the province, surpassing the original Vaughan location in size. It will span a total of 31,000 square feet and feature over 250 reptiles, amphibians and arachnids.

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"This is our first [new] location and we're proud to say it's in Whitby," said Lee Parker, Reptilia's site manager. "This is a big reptile community. There's a lot of people who have reptiles as pets."

Visitors will meet a group of featured residents which includes an alligator named Sarah, a tortoise named Strawberry, and a bull snake named Touros. There will also be a slew of exotic creatures to observe in naturalistic habitats, from giant, furry tarantulas to brightly-coloured (and deadly) poisonous frogs.

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Reptilia has educated and entertained the public for over 20 years and is committed to continuing its unique service in the new Whitby facility. As a Caza-accredited facility, it is focused on animal welfare, conservation and protection. In fact, more than 80 per cent of the animals in the zoo are either rescued or surrendered.

The site offers a variety of fun experiences, including live reptile shows, reptile feeding sessions, community events, reptile camps and birthday parties. It will also serve as a training resource for Environment Canada employees who work in reptile-rich spaces, and as a treatment location for individuals looking to overcome their reptile phobias.

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Visit www.reptilia.org for more information.

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