Skye Serpentarium – A Sanctuary for Reptiles
Initially established by Catherine and Alex Shearer as an exhibition and education centre in 1991, the Skye Serpentarium has become a sanctuary for unwanted pets and illegally imported reptiles. With an experienced staff member in attendance to answer any questions, visitors to the centre can view more than fifty animals, ranging from small White’s Tree Frogs through to large Green Iguanas. The centre also does regular handling sessions where visitors can learn interesting facts relating to these often misunderstood creatures.
The award-winning Sky Serpentarium Reptile World has featured on Scottish & Grampian television, as well as on the BBC. As an experienced herpetologist, Catherine Shearer has assisted in the rescue of more than six hundred reptiles and amphibians, many of which have been smuggled into the United Kingdom. Sadly, a large percentage of illegally imported exotic and wild animals die in transit. Sky Serpentarium aims to provide a safe haven for abandoned and rescued reptiles, while at the same time encouraging responsible pet ownership by offering advice and supplying equipment and food to suit the needs of these fascinating animals. By supporting captive breeding programs, the centre hopes to prevent the trade in wild animals. As an educational centre, Skye Serpentarium also aims to promote an understanding of reptiles and in this way soften the public’s attitude toward them.
Skye Serpentarium runs regular sessions on handling reptiles, with visitors having the opportunity to touch the animals, and is involved in a variety of educational initiatives. The centre is located alongside Skye’s Broadford Bay, just off the main road between the village of Broadford and Kyleakin. It is open from Easter through to October each year, between the hours of 10am and 5pm Mondays to Saturdays, as well as on the Sundays of the July and August bank holidays. Money raised by the centre is used for the welfare of its residents, so while enjoying an education and entertaining experience, visitors have the satisfaction of knowing that they are contributing to the welfare of the amphibians and reptiles at the Skye Serpentarium.