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Meet the reptile house in Vallarta

By Tribune Travel

October 13, 2021

The Unit for Management and Preservation of Wild Life, UMA Cipactli Reptile House of CUCosta, is a space for the care, management and conservation of reptiles in the region. Its main focus is on the crocodile (Crocodylus acutus). Also present are the green iguana (Iguana iguana), black iguana (Ctenosaura pectinata), brown basilisk (Basiliscus vittatus ), scorpion or pearl lizard (Heloderma Horridum), boa (Boa Constrictor), rattlesnake (Crotalus basiliscus) and turtles.

Puerto Vallarta and Bahía de Banderas are a natural habitat of this species. They look for coastal places such as lagoons, mangroves and other salty waters to dwell. However, they can also inhabit freshwater and landlocked deposits. The crocodiles of this species are native to the littorals of Mexico, Central America, South America, the Caribbean and south of the US state of Florida.

reptile house

The crocodile is one of the oldest reptiles roaming planet earth. However, they suffered overexploitation between the 1930s and 1960s. Thus, there was a decrease in abundance of this species. Since 1982 it is part of the Red List of the IUCN as an endangered species. This species has suffered most from the urban and tourist growth generated in recent years. Development of infrastructure and public services has little by little contributed to the loss of their natural habitat.

The reptile house’s name, Cipactli, is a word of Nahuatl origin, meaning crocodile. It opened on January 24, 2000. You can find it within the facilities of the Centro Universitario de la Costa. It currently has an area of 0.8 acres. Its ten aquariums are distributed as follows:



  • three for adult crocodiles,
  • two for juvenile crocodiles,
  • four for crocodile calves, and
  • one for freshwater turtles


reptile house

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And as a curious fact, the Centro Universitario de la Costa is the only campus of the University of Guadalajara network that has a reptile house. Also, it is the first captivity center of crocodiles in the state of Jalisco.

Here come crocodiles and other reptiles, birds and mammals requiring veterinary attention for care and rehabilitation by trained personnel. All this is endorsed by municipal, state, and federal authorities in the field, which works as an indicator of its compliance with the regulations for the care of reptile species in the region of Jalisco and Nayarit.

The main objective of this Unit is to preserve, contribute to the protection and sustainable use of Crocodylus acutus, and reptiles of the region. Crocodiles, iguanas, and turtles receive feeding. Scientists also provide conditions for reproduction, incubation of eggs and offspring hatching.

On the other hand, research is carried out on reptiles of the region, as well as teaching on campus. This has been useful to publish articles in different scientific and dissemination books, undergraduate, masters and doctoral theses. The reptile program has also participated in radio and television programs.

reptile house

At the same time, the program provides environmental education with links and extension of the University of Guadalajara. Also, there are talks on the subject for several school grades, local population, domestic and foreign tourists. Their goal is to provide a full tour all the reptilarium.

So now you know it, if your curiousity arised and you want to know a little more about these reptiles, you cannot miss the opportunity to visit the UMA Cipactli reptile house. For more information, call 322 226 2200.





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