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Creepy crawly creatures fill LA Zoo's new 'Lair'

March 8, 2012 12:00:00 AM PST
Creatures like lizards, frogs, snakes and more than 60 other species of reptiles, amphibians and invertebrates are part of the L.A. Zoo's new exhibit, "The Lair," which debuted Thursday morning.

"The neat thing to show the kids is that some of the reptiles were camouflaged. It looked like their habitats were like the Earth, which I don't think they've seen before," said zoo visitor Georgia Lee.

The more than $14 million project has been in the works for years inside a green building housing some of the rarest species among North American zoos and some of which are not showcased anywhere else in the world.

"It's been many years for the construction crews, the reptile keepers and the actual staff. We've been working 12 hour days nonstop for the past couple weeks getting all the animals on exhibit and making the habitats look natural," said zoo keeper Chris Rodriguez.

The hard work appeared to pay off. The exhibit was so crowded in the first hour it was hard to see the creatures.

Not only are they stunning to look at, but for parents, they're living valuable living lessons.

"To teach them about nature and animals and that there's more to this world than just us," Lee said.