Posts Tagged With: reptiles

We’re Monitoring a Monitor

We’re Monitoring a Monitor

We’re spent our day looking for a large lizard that calls the Serengeti home. The monitor family includes the famous Komodo dragon! The lizard we were searching for does not get to be as big as a komodo, but they are just as cool!

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Date: 2/6

Location: Serengeti

Nile Monitor Fun Facts:

  • Nile monitor lizards are known by many names including the African small grain lizard.
  • Nile monitor lizards have long sharp claws for climbing, digging and ripping apart prey.
  • They have a range of colors from olive to to brown.
  • Nile monitors are the largest lizard in Africa.
  • They have a stout strong tail to help ward off predators.

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  • Those forked tongues give the Nile monitor a keen sense of smell.
  • They are known to hunt cooperatively. One monitor will lead a crocodile away from the  nest, while another eats the eggs.
  • Nile monitors are excellent swimmers and will take to water to escape a predator.

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We watched a monitor for quiet a while. These amazing lizards are intimidating to see in the wild. They are often kept as pets. As with all exotic pets, it is important to do your homework before getting a pet that will grow large and possibly unruly. There are now populations of Nile monitors in California and Florida. These lizards can be harmful to the local wildlife.

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

Lava Lizards Not Lamps

Lava Lizards Not Lamps

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Date: 10/18

Location: Galapagos Islands

  • Lava lizards can vary in color, from bright colors to drab browns.
  • They can change their color when they are in danger or if the temperature drops.
  • These carnivores help keep insect populations down.

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  • Females lay eggs that incubate for 12 months. Baby lava lizards hatch out and are around 2″ long!
  • They are diurnal.
  • Female lava lizards mature at 9 months, but it takes a male up to 3 years to fully mature!

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Wow, who knew these little lizards were so interesting! They are favorite meal of the Galapagos Hawk! Thank goodness they camouflage in with their habitats!

Categories: adventure, Animals, Children, conservation, education, Environment, nature, science, Today's Post, wildlife | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Is That an Iguana in the Ocean?

Is That an Iguana in the Ocean?

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Date: 10/11

Location: Galapagos Islands

  • Marine Iguanas colors vary by the island they live on.
  • The iguanas on Espanola are nicknamed “Christmas Iguanas” because of their red coloration.
  • They have large flat tails to help them swim along the rocky coasts.
  • Only the largest iguanas swim often. They do not lose body heat as much.
  • Marine Iguanas have razor sharp teeth that they use to scrape off algae and eat seaweed.

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  • They sun themselves on lava rocks after being the cold ocean waters.
  • During years when food is in shortage, marine iguanas actually get smaller. They are the only known vertebrate to be able to shrink.
  • Marine iguanas can live up to 60 years.

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We woke up a little late after our evening excursion looking for the rice rats. Once we were up, we headed back on the island to meet it’s little dinosaur looking iguanas! Marine iguanas may not be the cutest, but they are spectacular! We love their knobby heads and spiky spines. Watching them sneeze, is so funny too!

Categories: adventure, Animals, Children, conservation, education, Environment, nature, reptiles, science, Today's Post, wildlife | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

That is One Big Tortoise

That is One Big Tortoise

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Date: 10/3

Location:  Galapagos Islands

  • Galapagos tortoises are the largest tortoise species on earth.

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  • These large reptiles can spend up to 16 hours a day sleeping.
  • They can also go up to a year without food or water, due to slow metabolisms.
  • The Galapagos Islands were actually  named after these gentle giants. Galapago is Spanish for tortoise!
  • There are 11 subspecies of Galapagos tortoise. They can be found on the different islands.
  • Galapagos finches are known to “clean” the tortoises by eating parasites off their skin. This mutual symbiotic relationship benefits the birds and the tortoise.

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We found a guide to help us through our tour of these special islands. Most of the Galapagos are now protected and people and horse & elephant adventurers can not just go exploring around on their own. These magnificent animals, were once hunted to near extinction with only 3,000 of them left. Conservationists have worked with captive breeding programs to bring those numbers up to around 19,000. Thank goodness we have such great people to protect these old reptiles!

We can not wait to go on to our next island to see an insect! We’ll need to get Edmond some sea sickness medicine first!

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

Walks on Water!

Walks on Water!

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Date: 9/19

Location: Amazon rainforest

 

  • Common basilisks are also called the Jesus lizard for their ability to run on water.
  • Common basilisks can run up to 7 mph. The average is 5 mph.
  • They stand erect and run on their back feet. Younger, lighter lizards can run longer distances than adults.
  • They are also excellent swimmers and can stay in the water for up to a 1/2 hour.

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  • Common basilisks have large crests down their backs.
  • The males have crests on their heads and tails.
  • Commons basilisks are excellent climbers too.
  • These carnivores have a mouth full of sharp teeth.

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We happened upon a basilisk escaping from a predator as we walking around today. It ran so fast over the water before taking a swim. These lizards are amazing and those fast feet are a great adaptation to get away from predators.

 

Categories: adventure, Animals, Children, conservation, education, Environment, nature, reptiles, science, Today's Post, wildlife | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Don’t Let Them Get the Squeeze on You!

Don’t Let Them Get the Squeeze on You!

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Date: 9/13

Location: Amazon River

  • Green anacondas are members of the boa constrictor family.
  • They love swamps and marshes and spend most of their time in the water. They are very slow on land due to heavy bodies.

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  • They can swallow their prey whole, due to flexible ligaments in their jaws.
  • They can go weeks without eating.
  • Females incubate eggs inside and then give birth to live young.
  • Babies are almost 2 feet long when born and can take care of themselves.
  • Females can be 5x as big as the males.
  • They are nocturnal.
  • Their scientific name means “good swimmer” in Greek.

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We barely spotted this anaconda- hehehe- we rhymed! They are nocturnal and we were out during the day on our boat trip! We just caught a glimpse of its nostrils! These giants are amazing creatures, but we’ll stay away if they ask for a hug!

Categories: adventure, Animals, Children, conservation, education, Environment, nature, reptiles, science, Today's Post, wildlife | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

An Alligator of a Different Name

An Alligator of a Different Name

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We’re meeting our last Brazilian animal today! This reptile has some nice chompers and can get to be one big dude! Are you ready to meet this caiman?

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Black Caiman Fun Facts:

  • Black caiman are found in the Amazon Basin and other part of South America in rivers, lakes and marshes.
  • They can grow up to 16 feet long and weigh up to 600 lbs. They are the largest member of the alligator family in South America.
  • Black caiman are carnivores. They eat fish, mammals and other large prey.
  • Black caiman are listed as least concern by the IUCN.
  • Caiman are a subfamily of the alligator family. Black caiman are bigger than their cousins the American Alligator.
  • The black caiman is the largest predator in its habitat.

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  • They are also ambush predators.
  • They have dark, almost black scales.
  • Black caiman are nocturnal.
  • Caiman have a bony ridge down their eyes to their snout.
  • Like other members of the alligator and caiman family, females protect their nests and their hatchlings.

caiman3 These relatives of the American alligator definitely look like their cousins. As apex predators we definitely will just visit from a distance!

Categories: adventure, Animals, Children, conservation, education, Environment, nature, reptiles, science, wildlife | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Meet the King of the Woods!

Meet the King of the Woods

We’re going to meet a snake today who is the king of the woods! So let’s get to it campers! We also have a fun cartoon for you!

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Categories: adventure, Animals, Children, conservation, education, Environment, nature, reptiles, science, wildlife | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

SLIDERS!!!

SLIDERS!!!

We’re meeting an awesome reptile today at camp! These turtles live in Lake Salamander, we see them when we go canoeing or hang out on the dock! They are friendly,  but never wave back- maybe that’s because turtles are not good at waving! Hahaha! Let’s meet the red-eared slider!

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RED EARED SLIDER FUN FACTS:

  • Red eared sliders live in the Southern United States to Mexico in wetlands, ponds and rivers.
  • They are omnivores. They eat fish, tadpoles and plants.
  • They grow up to 13 inches.
  • Red eared sliders are listed as common by the IUCN.
  • Red eared sliders have red dashes around their ears.
  •  They bask in the sun during the day.

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  • Red eared sliders don’t have saliva and must eat their food under water.
  • Red eared sliders have claws on their front feet. Their feet are also webbed.
  • They brumate (become less active and hang out on the bottom of rivers/ponds during the fall and winter).

Red eared sliders are super cute. They unfortunately are listed as one of the most invasive species by the IUCN. They are popular pets, but once they grow to large or their owners get bored with them, they release them in to the wild, whether it is the proper habitat or not.

Having pet turtles is great, but you must do your homework and know how big they will grow and how long they will live. Releasing pets in to the wild is not good for them or for local wildlife that is native to the area.

Categories: adventure, Animals, Children, conservation, education, Environment, nature, science, turtles, wildlife | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

World Sea Turtle Day!


World Sea Turtle Day!

Come learn some cool facts about sea turtles and then meet four turtles! Woohoo- it’s all about the turtles at camp today!

  • Sea turtles have been around for 65 million years.
  • Most sea turtles travel many miles to lay their nest of eggs one the beach where they were born.
  • Most sea turtle species are listed as threatened or endangered.
  • Sea turtles come ashore at night to lay their eggs in nests at the edge of sand dunes.
  • Sea turtles can not pull their heads and fins in to their shells.
  • Baby sea turtles use the full moon  to guide them to the ocean after they hatch.

Keeping our beaches & oceans sea turtle friendly:

  • Keep all trash off the beach- especially plastic bags.
  • Turn off all beach lights at night so turtles are not confused.
  • Keep noise levels down at night.
  • If you are walking on the beach and need a light, use a flashlight with a red lens.

Now it’s time to meet our sea turtle friends!

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Categories: adventure, Animals, Children, conservation, education, endangered species, Environment, nature, oceans, science, turtles, wildlife | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

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