The San Antonio Zoo has lost at least three reptiles, including a Komodo Dragon, in a fire this morning.
The fire in the zoo’s reptile house broke out at 6 a.m. According to zoo officials, a short circuit in what’s called a hog mat, which keeps the animals warm, is likely the cause. The small blaze took the fire department only 50 gallons of water to put out. However, three animals died due to smoke inhalation, including an 8-foot female Komodo dragon, a small snake and one other reptile.
Zoo Director Steve McCresker said another Komodo Dragon on display, a male, was relocated along with other animals.
“The male is in the top of the lion building, so he wont be on exhibit. All of the stuff that was upstairs was primarily small rare neo-tropical rattle snakes that we’re working on, so nobody ever saw those before. From an exhibit stand point, the only thing we’ll lose is the Komodo Dragon,” McCresker added.
McCresker also stated a large python was placed in a veterinary hospital.
About 90 animals live in the reptile enclosure, which used to be a giraffe house. The damage is estimated between $70,000 to $100,000. Most of it is smoke damage, and repairs could take about eight to ten months. Until then, the reptile house is closed, but the rest of the Zoo is open regularly.