New Exhibit at High Desert Museum in Bend, Oregon Features an Intriguing Collection of Live, Venomous Animals


(Photo above: Black Volitans Lionfish. Provided by the High Desert Museum)

Deadly by Nature: Venom and Poison opens January 31. The venomous spikes of a Spanish ribbed newt and the stinging tail of a scorpion are just two examples of toxic weapons used by animals to immobilize their prey and protect against predators. The High Desert Museum is unveiling a new collection of these captivating creatures in its latest exhibit, Deadly by Nature: Venom and Poison.

The collection includes reptiles, amphibians, arthropods and some sea creatures. All the animals will be securely housed in aquariums and glass enclosures in the Collins Gallery at the High Desert Museum and will be on display until June 28. The exhibit was conceived and designed by the Museum staff, and is the first of its kind for the Museum.

“We’ve pulled together a fascinating collection of species that demonstrates how widespread venom and poison is in the natural world,” said Curator Jonathan Brower. “Everyone around here is familiar with rattlesnakes and scorpions, but we are also displaying the distinctive lionfish, the bearded dragon lizard and the Vietnamese centipede, which can get as big as eight inches long.”

Museum Executive Director Dana Whitelaw believes the new exhibit is a nice complement to the diverse collection of animals that are on permanent display at the High Desert Museum. “Venomous species tend to not be as charismatic as some of our mammals, but this exhibit highlights an incredible adaptation in a variety of animals and illustrates how species in the High Desert and around the world survive and thrive.”

In connection with the exhibit, Venom and Poison will be the theme of a special Kids’ Day at the Museum on Wednesday, March 25. There will be activities for children throughout the day. For more information about the exhibit and Museum events, visit

Deadly by Nature is sponsored by Aquatopia, Avion Water Company, House of Reptiles – Tigard, Oregon, with support from Dex Media and the James F. and Marion L. Miller Foundation.


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