reptiles

Not Really Made of Wood

Not Really Made of Wood

We are meeting a creature that you often find sunning themselves on branches along the shore of Lake Salamander. These reptiles are called Wood Turtles- but guess what, they aren’t made of wood- hehehe.

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Wood Turtle Fun Facts:

  • These little turtles grow up to about 8 inches long.
  • There scutes are slightly domed shaped.
  • These omnivores eat fruit, leaves, insects and worms.
  • Wood turtles thump on the ground with their feet to make earth worms come out of the ground. They then snatch up the worms.
  • They are listed as Endangered by the IUCN.
  • It is thought that their lifespan is over 60 years old.

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These neat little turtles are losing their habitats. That’s why intact and clean habitats like our lake here at camp are so important.

 

Categories: adventure, Animals, camp, Children, conservation, education, endangered species, Environment, nature, reptiles, science, Today's Post, wildlife | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Armored Lizard

Armored Lizard

We decided we haven’t met enough lizards on our trip so far and headed out to meet one with some most interesting scales. This reptile was a definite look don’t touch kind of creature. Get ready to learn more about them.

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Giant Girdled Lizard Fun Facts: 

  • They are also known as the sungazer lizard.
  • Giant girdled lizards grow to about 7 inches long.
  • Though they live in rocky areas, they do dig their own burrows for shelter.
  • They are insectivores.
  • They live in groups.
  • They secret scents to communicate with other sungazers.
  • Giant girdled lizards are listed as Vulnerable by the IUCN.

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We enjoyed spotting this little spiked lizard. It would be a smart predator to stay away from those scales.

Categories: adventure, Animals, Children, conservation, education, endangered species, Environment, lizards, nature, reptiles, science, Today's Post, wildlife | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Doing Some Geometry

Doing Some Geometry

We headed out today with a local tracker to find a species that is critically endangered. We did find one of these special animals and we couldn’t wait to share more about them with you!

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Geometric Tortoise Fun Facts: 

  • These tortoises grow put to 6 inches long.
  • They have a geometric, radiating pattern on their shell that help them camouflage.
  • These herbivores eat flowers, leaves and shoots.
  • Once thought to be extinct, a small population (around 2,000-3,000) was found in the west cape of the country.
  • They are thought to be aestivate (be dormant) in the summer.
  • Females are larger than males, but have shorter tails.
  • They are highly protected by the local conservation organizations and the government.

We were super excited to spot this little rare tortoise. They are shy, so we had to be very quiet and patient. We were lucky to have such a great tracker with us. We wonder who we might find tomorrow.

Categories: adventure, Animals, Children, conservation, education, endangered species, Environment, nature, reptiles, science, Today's Post, wildlife | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

A Dragon in the Water

A Dragon in the Water

We are off to meet a little reptile who is called a dragon! They don’t look like dragons, but they are neat!

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Chinese Water Dragon Fun Facts: 

  • Chinese water dragons grow to around 3 ft long. Their tail is about 2/3 of their body length.
  • Those tails can aide in balance, swimming and protecting themselves from predators.
  • Males are slightly larger and have larger crests on their heads.
  • The crests under their throats can be all kinds of colors, including purple, peach and blue.
  • These arboreal lizards are diurnal.
  • They are omnivores that eat insects, small fish and some vegetation.

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We love spotting small animals as much as we love seeing the big, famous ones. For habitats and ecosystems to be healthy, all the animals that live there must have healthy populations.

Categories: adventure, Animals, Children, conservation, education, Environment, nature, reptiles, science, Today's Post, wildlife | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Swimming with Greens

Snorkeling with Greens

We decided to go snorkeling for our first time in Hawaii. The water is so gorgeous and inviting. We were excited to see what animals we would find! And wow- we met some green sea turtles grazing in the shallows!

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Green Sea Turtle Fun Facts: 

  • Green Sea Turtles have a smooth carapace.
  • They can grow up to 5 ft long and weigh up to 600 lbs.
  • The carapace (top shell) is a brown-olive color.
  • Green sea turtles have small heads, but strong flippers.
  • They are the only sea turtle that can be seen occasionally sunbathing on the beach.
  • Green sea turtles lay eggs on the beach.
  • They are herbivores. They eat sea grass, roots and algae. Young turtles are known to eat crabs and jellies.
  • They are listed as Endangered by IUCN.

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We enjoyed seeing these majestic reptiles in the oceans. Green sea turtles get their name from their greenish skin color. It was so excited to snorkel with these sea turtles. They are known to come ashore and sun themselves on certain beaches around Hawaii- if you visit- wave quietly and from a distance!

Categories: adventure, Animals, Children, conservation, education, endangered species, Environment, nature, oceans, reptiles, Today's Post, wildlife | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

That is One Big Snake

That is One Big Snake

We are meeting another amazing animal of the Pantanal today! This reptile is largest snake by weight in the world. That’s why we are glad we saw it from a boat!

 

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Green anaconda fun facts: 

  • Green anacondas are giants! They can get up to 29 ft long and weigh over 500 lbs. Just to give you an idea of how long that is- a school bus is 45 ft- so they would take up 2/3 of it.
  • Females are larger than males!
  • The constrictors are carnivores. They eat small mammals, caiman and some reptiles.
  • Like other snakes, they have stretchy ligaments in their jaw that allow them to open wide and swallow large prey whole.
  • These reptiles can go weeks after eating a big meal.
  • They are mostly nocturnal!
  • Female anacondas give birth to live young, that hatch in her body! They are independent of their mothers immediately after being born.

These giants are amazing! We know people fear snakes, but we think they are awesome! These predators have been around for 100 million years, so maybe it’s time to take a new look at our legless friends and start appreciating how truly great they are!

 

Categories: adventure, Animals, Children, conservation, education, Environment, nature, reptiles, science, Today's Post, wetlands, wildlife | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Hello Caiman

Hello Caiman!

We are back from our holiday break! We flew back in to camp and settled in. The next morning we rose early to meet today’s animal! We hope you think it is a cool as we do!

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Spectacled Caiman Fun Facts: 

  • Spectacled caimans are members of the crocodile family.
  • Females are smaller than males. Males can get up to 6ft long and females generally up to 4 ft long.
  • They get their name from the ridge on their head that makes them look like they are wearing glasses or spectacles.
  • They are carnivores.
  • Their scales have ostoderms; bony deposits in their skin that give them an armor.
  • Like other crocodilians, they are built to live in water.
  • They are listed as Least Concern by the IUCN.

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We think these caiman are super cool! They are not nearly as big as the American Alligator or the Nile Crocodile. Never less, we like to watch them from afar.

Categories: adventure, Animals, Children, conservation, education, Environment, nature, reptiles, Today's Post, wildlife | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Hello Large Lizard!

Hello Large Lizard!

We are heading to the beach for the weekend and while we were there we met a really neat reptile! Come join us!

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Black spiny-tailed iguana fun facts:

  • They are the largest member of the spiny tailed iguan family.
  • They are also considered one of the fastest lizards on earth. They can run up to 21 mph!
  • They have black scales on their long tails.
  • Males are larger than females and can grow up to 4 ft long.
  • These diurnal reptiles love rocky habitats. They hide in the crevices and bask in the sun on them.
  • Young iguanas are insectivores. As they grow older they are most herbivorous.
  • They are listed as least concern by the IUCN.

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We sure are glad those lizards find the rocks to be comfortable, because they are not so easy to sit on. We prefer the sand. As fast as they are, maybe they should be renamed the flash iguana! Hehehe!

Categories: adventure, Animals, Children, conservation, education, Environment, nature, reptiles, science, Today's Post, wildlife | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Slow Mover

Slow Mover

We headed to the heart of the Mojave Desert in search of one of two species of tortoises! These desert tortoises call this their home and we were thrilled to learn more about them!

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Desert Tortoise Fun Facts:

  • These tortoises spend most of their time in burrows and shelters. They are inactive most of the year. They stay in cool areas to avoid losing water during the heat and they hibernate during the winter.
  • You’ll find them mostly after a rain.
  • They can live up to 80 years.
  • Desert tortoises have sharp claws that help them dig burrows. They can spend 95% of their lives in burrows.
  • Desert tortoises are slow growing. They still are only around 8 inches at 16 years old. They can reach up to 30 inches total.
  • These herbivores are listed as threatened and vulnerable- depending on the population.
  • Their biggest threat is habitat loss.

Desert Tortoise

These amazing creatures are made for the desert. They can survive a year without direct access to water! WOW!!

Categories: adventure, Animals, Children, conservation, education, endangered species, Environment, nature, reptiles, science, Today's Post, wildlife | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Blue Spines

Blue Spines

After encountering a prairie dog town yesterday, we met a little reptile who calls these parts home! It’s always good to see so many species and this unusual looking lizard definitely caught our eye.

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Blue Spiny Lizard Fun Facts: 

  • These lizards can grow up to 14 inches long.
  • They have spiny scales,
  • Males are more blue-green in color. Both males and females have a black ring around on their neck.
  • These relatives of the iguana spend much of their day under rocks and crevices to avoid the hottest part of the day.
  • Blue spiny lizards are carnivores. They eat insects.
  • They are listsed as Least Concern by the IUCN.

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These interesting lizards are so neat looking with bumpy scales. We think they are quiet handsome.

Categories: adventure, animal rescue, Children, conservation, education, Environment, nature, reptiles, science, Today's Post, wildlife | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

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