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!


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.


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!

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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!



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!


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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!



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.


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.

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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!



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.


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!

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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!


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!!

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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.


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.


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

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Back to Basics- Reptiles & Amphibians

Back to Basics- Reptiles & Amphibians

We are on our last day of learning the basics on the groups! We have much more to learn! Today Professor Carl the Chameleon is catching everyone up on reptiles and amphibians.



Let’s learn some reptile basics first and then more about our amphibian friends.

There are around 7,984 reptile species on earth. Reptiles first appeared on earth around 340 million years ago. The largest group of reptiles is lizards. You can find us on most continents except Antarctica. You can even find some of us in the worlds’ oceans.

What makes a reptile a reptile?

  • We are covered in scales.
  • We lay eggs.
  • We are ectothermic.
  • We have lungs for breathing.
  • We are vertebrates.


Our scales cover our epidermis and they are made of keratin. When we grow we shed our scales. Some of us do this in pieces and some of us, like snakes- shed their whole layer at once.

Turtles, tortoises, crocodiles and most lizards have movable eyelids. Snakes have a fixed clear eye covering that they shed when they grow too.

Most reptiles have poor hearing and none of us can taste.

Snakes and some lizards have a forked tongue that they “smell” with. They pick up scent molecules with their tongue and use an organ in their brain called the Jacobson’s organ to analyze those molecules.

sea turtle

Most reptiles lay their eggs and leave them. They provide no parental care for their young.  There are some reptiles that incubate their eggs inside their body and give birth to live young.  The crocodilian family and a few lizards to protect their eggs and young.





Now let’s talk some about our amphibian friends.

There are around 5,000 species of amphibians. They have been around for 370 million years.  There are three groups of amphibians; newts/salamander, frogs/toads and caecilians.

The word amphibian means dual life. They live a life in the water (usually as young) and then on land (usually as adults).

What makes an amphibian an amphibian?

  • We are ectothermic.
  • We are vertebrates.
  • We breathe through our skin.
  • We go through metamorphosis. We do not look the same as young as we do as adults.

Amphibian young use gills to breathe. Young frogs and toads are called tadpoles and they have tails and no legs.

We have no scales and no hair. Our skin can absorb water and we need water to keep it moist, this helps us breathe. We all have poison glands in our skin!

Adult amphibians have lungs, but we do not have rib cages. We can also absorb oxygen through our skin and through the lining of our mouth.

Most amphibians deposit eggs in water. We can lay anywhere from 2 to 50,000 eggs.



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Monitoring a Monitor!

Monitoring a Monitor!

We went looking for a medium sized reptile today! We found this gorgeous animal and it was so fun to watch!

sand monitor







Date: 4/19

Location: Great Victorian Desert

Sand Goanna Fun Facts:

  • Sand goannas are members of the monitor family.


  • Sand goannas are burrows. They dig burrows for shelter.
  • They are diurnal (active during the day).
  • They have forked tongues to help them “smell” the air.
  • Sand goannas sense of smell is so good they can find buried prey.
  • Sand goannas lay their eggs in a termite mound. The termites keep the eggs warm.

sand monitor2

These monitors are so cool to watch! Other members of the monitor family include the famous Komodo dragon!

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A Skink not a Skunk!

A Skink not a Skunk!

After we settled in at camp we decided where we should go on our first adventure! We wanted to meet a neat little lizard we knew lived in this habitat! We headed off for the day with our day packs full of snacks and MUD SPF 30 sunscreen!

great desert skink







Date: 4/3

Location: Great Victorian Desert

Great Desert Skink Fun Facts:

  • Great desert skinks vary in color from tan to grey or dark brown.
  • They store fat in their tales during the winter.
  • Males are slightly larger than females.
  • Great desert skinks live in complex burrows with several entrances and areas.


  • A family group occupies the burrow. Babies stay with their family for up to three years.
  • They generally hunt at night in the hotter months.

great desert skink2

We had such fun going to look for these little short legged lizards! They remind us of another Australian skink- the blue tongued skink! They are both so cool! And they aren’t slimy at all- very smooth!

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Howdy Gecko!

Howdy Gecko!

What’s more fun than meeting a new friend right in your camp? When you’re out exploring, some of the coolest animals can be found wandering around your home base! In this case, we found the Madagascar Day Gecko on the porch!

day gecko


Date: 3/27

Location: Madagascar- Base Camp

Madagascar Day Gecko:

  • Madagascar day geckos do not have eyelids.
  • They have flat toe pads to help them grip when climbing.
  • Madagascar day geckos are one of the largest day gecko species.


  • They can range from green to bluish-green in color.
  • Madagascar day geckos prefer a humid habitat.

day gecko2

We had the best time watching these little reptiles at camp. They are so cute and funny!

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