In my last blog, I featured the many beautiful lizards on display during our annual "Reptiles Bizarre & Beautiful," especially those exhibited by VIIPER (Virginians Interested In Protecting Every Reptile.) Today I'll feature some more amazing reptiles, and I'll start you off with some more "guess who?"....
The first is the eye of an African dwarf crocodile. This incredible crocodilian was on loan from Clyde Peeling's Reptiland in Allenwood, Pennsylvania. The dwarf crocodile is the smallest living crocodile species getting up to 5 feet long. Native to sub-Saharan west Africa and west central Africa, it inhabits swamps and rainforest rivers.
Also on loan from Reptiland was this fascinating rhinoceros ratsnake. In the photo below, I caught it yawning! This ratsnake ranges from northern Vietnam to southern parts of China. It's an arboreal inhabitant of subtropical rainforests, where is preys upon small rodents and birds.
The second "guess who" photo is of an American alligator--this one shown by VIIPER member, Jessica.
The third "guess who" photo belongs to a really gorgeous reticulated python shown by VIIPER affiliate, Eric. This snake can get up to 22 feet in length--not sure how long this snake is, but I think it weighs about 75 pounds! Native to southeast Asia, this type of python inhabits tropical rainforests and swamps. This snake is always a crowd pleaser--many thanks, Eric!
VIIPER members shared smaller snakes, too--and every bit as enchanting as the bigger snakes! Tara showed off her delicate little Namibian bug-eyed house snake, which inhabits a variety of habitats from forests to deserts to urban areas. When I took this photo, the snake's skin looked "dull" or "milky"--a sure sign that it would shed its skin in the near future.
This next snake is a rosy boa, shown by Scott, who told me it was one of the smallest boa species, maxing out at about 3 to 4 feet. The rosy boa inhabits rocky deserts in the southwest US and northern parts of western Mexico.
I was fascinated by the brilliant colors of this carpet python, native to Australia, Indonesia, and New Guinea:
Another snake native to those same regions is the scrub python--take a look at the wonderfully detailed scales on its head:
More beautiful snakes....a blood python shown by Sierra:
...a gray banded kingsnake shown by Curtis:
...a black ratsnake flicking out its tongue to sniff the air. (Thanks, Madi!)
And last but not least....a frog?! Yep, even though "Reptiles Bizarre & Beautiful" mostly features reptiles, there were a few amphibians, too. This one is a black and blue poison dart frog:
Again, many, many thanks to ALL who helped make our annual event a success. I can't wait to see what next year brings!....More "off the beaten path" in two weeks....
Our "Reptiles Bizarre & Beautiful" weekend was absolutely amazing! Many, many thanks to all the VLM staff, volunteers, and guest exhibitors who worked long and hard to make this event a resounding success. Today I'll focus on some lovely lizards exhibited by members of VIIPER (Virginians Interested In Protecting Every Reptile.) I especially want to thank VIIPER President Bobby and Vice President Lara for their continued support of our annual event. I had a chance to talk to several VIIPER members who enthusiastically shared their wonderful creatures with hundreds of visitors over the course of the weekend. To start out, I'll show you a few "guess who" pictures...whose scales?
...whose gorgeous eyes?
Lizards are, of course, reptiles--so they have scaly skin. This weekend we saw all sorts of scales, in all sorts of colors. The first picture showed off the intricate scale pattern of a steppe runner, an insectivorous lizard of the temperate grasslands of Russia, Romania and the Ukraine. Thanks to Rachel for sharing this little beauty with us!
The odd-looking tail belongs to the brilliantly patterned leopard gecko, native to dry grasslands and deserts of southeast Asia, Pakistan, northwestern India and parts of Iran. Thanks, Scott, for showing off this magnificent creature:
Lizard's eyes--so diverse in color and texture (the better to see you with, my dear?) VIIPER member Jessica had lots to show me this weekend--here she displays a Columbian tegu. This omnivorous lizard inhabits swamp, rainforest, savannah, and even urban habitats in northern and central parts of South America. This lizard not only has beautiful brown eyes, but a nice long tongue, too!
The eye with the bizarre looking pupil belongs to a baby giant gecko--it's only about 5 inches long now, but will get up to 14 inches! Giant geckos are the largest known gecko species in the world, native to the rainforests of New Caledonia.
The eye with the "eyelash" fringe around it belongs to the crested gecko, shown by Kylie and Madi. This gecko, also a rainforest creature of New Caledonia, can get up 7-9" long.
The eye with the flaming orange border belongs to a gargoyle gecko, shown by Jessica. This omnivorous gecko, also native to New Caledonian rainforests, will get up to 8-9" long. Also noticeable in this photo--the "hole" on the side of its head is actually its ear opening.
Finally, the tongue belongs to an impressive lizard, an Argentine black and white tegu. This gigantic lizard is owned by Laureen who has affectionately named him "Burrito." Burrito is an adult male of unknown age (he was a rescued animal) and is approximately 3.5 feet long--yep, you heard me, 3.5 feet! These omnivorous lizards can get up to 4.5 feet long, inhabiting savannahs and rainforests of Argentina, Uruguay, and parts of Brazil.
Here's a detail of his black and white scales--note the bumpy texture:
...a parting shot with that long, long tongue of his:
I'll post more photos from this year's "Reptiles Bizarre & Beautiful" in two weeks--I'll focus on other reptilians, including snakes. Again, a very special thank-you to all the members of VIIPER!