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Topeka Zoo plans new mountain lion exhibit

The Topeka Zoo comes to you: Meet a tiger salamander and a python

11:31 a.m. Monday, January 22, 2007

Found crawling around in the ponds and streams of Eastern Kansas is the tiger salamander. The tiger salamander is recognized as the official Kansas amphibian, and Mike Coker, Topeka Zoo director, brought out that slimy creature to help celebrate Kansas’ 146th birthday, which is January 29.

Tiger salamanders are carnivores, so they spend their time hunting and eating mainly insects, Coker said.

Coker also brought an African ball python to the set of Good Morning Kansas. The African ball python grows to about 4′ in length. They are not poisonous.

“They are a constrictor,” he said. “They spend time seizing their prey, squeezing the air out of it and consuming it.”

These animals are part of the Zoo’s education program, a traveling program that allows children to interact with animals in a more intimate and educational setting.

Coker and other Zoo employees are also working on an exhibit that won’t travel — a mountain line and river otter project.

That is one of seven different projects the Zoo hopes to unveil in the next five years.

The Zoo also is expanding the giraffe exhibit, and will be starting a new health center in the next couple of months.

http://www.49abcnews.com/news/2007/jan/22/topeka_zoo_comes_ you_meet_tiger_salamander_and_pyt/