Red-Black Striped Snake
Bothrophthalmus lineatus (Colubridae) is a harmless snake, native to west and central Africa. Its common name, Red-Black Striped Snake, obviously refers to the color pattern of the species, black with five red stripes down its back.
Photo credit: ©Konrad Mebert | Locality: Banalia-Longala, Democratic Republic of the Congo
Gopher Tortoise (Gopherus polyphemus)The gopher tortoise (Gopherus polyphemus) is a large dark-brown to grayish-black terrestrial tortoise. The shell is approximately 15-37 cm, or 5.9 -14.6 in—long. The gopher tortoise has elephantine hind feet, shovel-like forefeet, and a gular projection beneath the head of the yellowish, hingeless plastron or undershell.
For refuge, gopher tortoises dig burrows which average 5 to 10 ft in depth and may be 10 to 20 feet—or more—in length. A number of other species may share gopher tortoise burrows, including the eastern indigo snake, the eastern diamondback rattlesnake, the black pine snake,and the gopher frog, as well as several small mammals.
The range of the gopher tortoise extends along the coastal plain from South Carolina through Florida to southeastern Louisiana.
The gopher tortoise most often lives on well-drained sandy soils in transitional (forest and grassy) areas. It is commonly associated with a pine overstory and an open understory with a grass and forb (non-woody) groundcover and sunny areas for nesting. Gopher tortoises can also sometimes be found in more marginal habitat such as roadsides, ditch banks, utility and pipeline rights-of-way, pastures, and even marginal wetland habitat, especially if their preferred habit at has been lost.
The gopher tortoise is Federally listed as threatened across the western portion of its range. This area extends west from the Tombigbee and Mobile Rivers in Alabama across Mississippi and into Southeastern Louisiana.
(via: Alabama Ecological Services Office - USFWS)
photos: U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
Leiopython meridionalis SCHLEIP 2014. L. ‘hoserae’ is considered an invalid name for this species. Its taxonomy is super complicated, but basically, it was originally identified as a subspe cies by Raymond T. Hoser, an infamous ‘herpetologist’ who is possibly the world’s worst taxonomic inflationist. The description of the subspecies did not comply with the ICZN rules on descriptions, and so was invalid. It was then re-named L. hoserae by Schleip in 2008, but this name is invalid, because he didn’t specify it as being a new name. Finally, it was re-described as L. meridionalis in 2014 by Schleip, now in accordance with the ICZN.
For full details and extensive discussion, see Schleip 2014 Journal of Herpetology 42:645–667.
Focal Length: 24mm
Western Pond Turtle Moves Toward Endangered Species Act Protection
Turtle Battling Steep Declines in California, Oregon, Washington
SACRAMENTO, Calif.— In response to a 2012 petition by the Center for Biological Diversity and several renowned scientists and herpetologists, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service announced today that Endangered Species Act protection may be warranted for the western pond turtle. The agency will now conduct a one-year status review on the turtle, which faces declines of up to 99 percent in some areas, including Oregon’s Willamette Valley.
Western pond turtles (Actinemys marmorata) are declining in abundance rangewide, especially in the northernmost portion and the southern third of the range. The animals are listed as state endangered in Washington, sensitive/critical in Oregon, and a species of special concern in California. Although habitat destruction is one of the biggest threats to the turtle, none of these state laws provides effective habitat protection…
(read more: Center for Biological Diversity)
photograph by California department of water resources
Green Tree Pythons (Morelia viridis) are non-venomous arboreal snakes found in tropical Northern Australia, New Guinea, and some islands of Indonesia. They reach a max length of 180 cm (5.9 ft). This snake feeds primarily on small rodents, but will also take various lizard species. Green tree pythons under go an ontogenetic color shift, starting off life as yellow or red neonates, and slowly turning into green adults. Though the, pattern and shade of green may be different amongst different populations.
photographs by Dick Bartlett
Strange-horned Chameleon - Kinyongia xenorhina
The Strange-horned Chameleon, Kinyongia xenorhina (Chamaeleonidae), is a Near Threatened species, endemic to the Rwenzori Mountains of Uganda and the Democratic Republic of Congo, distinctive by the large protuberance extending from the top of the snout, particularly prominent on the males of the species.
The East African genus Kinyongia was erected in 2006 and its representatives are prominent due to their striking morphology and for the high number of species.
Photo credit: ©Emmanuel Van Heygen | Locality: Uganda (2005)
Malayan Green Whip Snake - Ahaetulla mycterizans
Commonly referred to as Malayan or Big-eye Green Whip Snake, Ahaetulla mycterizans (Colubridae) is a mildly venomous, but docile snake, distributed in Indonesia, Peninsular Malaysia, Singapore and Thailand.
The body of this snake is extremely slender and whip-like, reaching a maximum size of 1 m. The head is large in comparison with the neck and upper body, and eyes are large, with yellow iris. Like many other species, when this snake feels threatened it may expand its body slightly, and the beautiful patterning of this snake is revealed.
Photo credit: ©budak | Local ity: Singapore (2009)
Sand Lizard (Lacerta agilis)
…a species of wall lizard (Lacertidae) which is known to occur throughout most of Europe, east to Mongolia. It is known not to occur in the Iberian peninsula or in Turkey. True to their common names, sand lizards are known to occur in heathlands and sand dunes. However, they are known to occupy a range of other habitats as well. During the spring mating season males will show a bri lliant green color, which will turn back to brown in the late summer.
Image: George Chernilevsky
Asked by typhlonectes
3 months later I think to check my inbox and I find this message … super sorry Paxon! v_v
Varanus kingorum or King’s Rock Monitor at a few days old.
Bred and photographed by Rare Earth Inc
Timor pythons are a fairly long (7 + feet) but relatively thin python species from the Lesser Sunda Islands in Indonesia. Ironically, there are no known records of Timor Pythons from the Island of Timor. This probably stems fr om the misidentification of a Macklot’s Python (Liasis mackloti) that is similar in appearance and does occur on that island. This is a very fast-moving, highly defensive snake that spends a great deal of time in the trees hunting for prey. Like many python species, Timor pythons have a series of heat-sensing pits between their nostrils and mouth used to find warm-blooded prey in total darkness. They are egg-layers, but instead of laying the eggs and leaving, they remain coiled around the clutch for the entire incubation period. This maternal incubation serves two purposes: protection of the eggs is one, and temperature regulation is the other. Through a series of twitches and contractions many python species can raise the temperature of their bodies by as much as eight degrees F. Loosening the coils and exposing the eggs to more air circulation does the opposite. This is a fairly remarkable achievement given that snakes are “cold-blooded” *, meaning that their body temperature is dictated by their surroundings.
* Re “cold blooded”, it is a generic term for a complex suite of characters that determine an animal’s thermophysiology. These characters include:
- ectothermy, controlling body temperature through external metabolic processes, such as by basking in the sun
- poikilothermy, the ability of an organism to function over a wide internal temperature range
- bradymetabolism, the ability to greatly alter metabolic rate in response to need; for example, animals that hibernate
The terms “ warm-blooded” and “cold-blooded” have fallen out of favor with scientists because of their imprecision.
“Patient Zero” Update:
I have an update on the status of this project!
There are quite a few eggs incubating at this time. It is most likely not recessive… unless the odds have been really awful. With crested geckos, Mendelian genetics are most likely not applicable…
I discussed this with Matt and we are both thinking that stacking alleles and hardening them over generations, will give the best odds at hitting a visual expression.
It looks like a great year of egg production, so… fingers crossed!