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Scaly new addition

Sam Mitchell holding an olive python, handler Jack Male with a venomous Mulga snake and Dana Mitchell with a Woma and central carpet python.Kangaroo Island Wildlife Park has just opened a new addition –although it may just be for the park’s braver visitors.

The park’s new reptile house opened to intrigued crowds on Saturday, with more than 30 native Australian reptiles on show to excite and delight tourists and locals alike.

Among the scaly and slimy additions to the park’s family are Australia’s biggest snake –the scrub python, pig-nosed turtles, forest dragons and splendid tree frogs.

The new inclusion also houses Australia’s –and the world’s –five most venomous snakes, with the inland taipan, coastal taipan, brown snake, tiger snake and death adder –all capable of killing many people with one dose of venom.

The reptile househas definitely been a labour of love with parkownerSam Mitchell explaining he and childhood friend Peter Laughton had wanted to build a reptile house since they were young.

“He’s been my best friend since we were 10 and we always wanted to do it, sohe came down from Queensland just to build it. And he’s done a great job,” Sam said.

Sam and Dana Mitchell have now owned the park for three years after moving to Kangaroo Island from Victoria.

The park has been open since 1992 and mainly housed birdlife, but the Mitchells have grown the park to include a wide array of native animals.

Recent inclusions to the park include larger redeveloped koala, crocodile and little penguin enclosures and the addition of a cafe.

They have attempted to create a more interactive atmosphere at the park with informative presentations and up close experiences –including holding a koala, snake, lizard or crocodile.

While they have accomplished a lot in three short years, Sam and Dana are unlikely to stop anytime soon.

“We’re constantly upgrading,” Dana said.

“Soon we’ll have fruit bats at the park and we’re about to start work on a new dingo enclosure.”

“We’ve also introduced a new local loyalty program where a person mentions they’re a local andcan return for a second visit forfree.”

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