Boyd’s Forest Dragon
With large pointed scales on a crest behind the head, pinkish flat-topped conical scales on the cheeks and a deep mustard yellow pouch beneath the jaw line, this exquisite medium sized lizard certainly resembles a dragon.
Scientifically named Hypsilurus boydii (Agamidae), this Australian lizard has properly received the common name of Boyd’s Forest Dragon. It is a nocturnal arboreal lizard which reaches up to 49cm in total length.
The Boyd’s Forest Dragon is found only in the wet tropics of Queensland, Australia, into the “Forests of East Australia” Global High Biodiversity Hotspot. 
References: [1] - [2] - [3]
Photo credit: ©Peter Nijenhuis | Locality: Daintree National Park, Thornton Beach, Queensland, Australia


Boyd’s Forest Dragon

With large pointed scales on a crest behind the head, pinkish flat-topped conical scales on the cheeks and a deep mustard yellow pouch beneath the jaw line, this exquisite medium sized lizard certainly resembles a dragon.

Scientifically named Hypsilurus boydii (Agamidae), this Australian lizard has properly received the common name of Boyd’s Forest Dragon. It is a nocturnal arboreal lizard which reaches up to 49cm in total length.

The Boyd’s Forest Dragon is found only in the wet tropics of Queensland, Australia, into the “Forests of East Australia” Global High Biodiversity Hotspot. 

References: [1] - [2] - [3]

Photo credit: ©Peter Nijenhuis | Locality: Daintree National Park, Thornton Beach, Queensland, Australia

08.22.14 ♥ 375


Western Banded Gecko (Coleonyx variegatus)

…is a species of banded gecko (Coleonyx spp.) which is native to  southwestern North America, occurring in southern California, southwest New Mexico, southern Arizona, Utah, Nevada, and northern Mexico. Western banded geckos typically inhabit sandy or rocky desert along with oak and juniper pinyon woodlands. Like some other geckos western banded geckos are nocturnal, emerging at night to feed on small insects and arachnids, including scorpions. If threatened a western banded gecko will attempt to curl its tail over its body in hopes to mimic a scorpion. 


Animalia-Chordata-Reptilia-Squamata-Gekkonidae-Eublepharinae-Coleonyx-C. variegatus

Image: AzWildcard

08.22.14 ♥ 170


Eastern Glass Lizard (juvenile)

This is a legless lizard native to the United States belonging to the species Ophisaurus ventralis (Anguidae).

The Eastern Glass Lizard is long, slender, and as many legless lizards, it  superficially resembles snakes. This species is best distinguished from other glass lizards by the absence of a dark dorsal stripe or dark markings below the lateral groove, and the presence of several vertical whitish bars just behind the head. Older individuals are less boldly patterned than younger individuals, often developing a greenish or speckled coloration. 

References: [1] - [2]

Photo credit: ©Mike Graziano | Locality: Wilmington, North Carolina, US

08.21.14 ♥ 133


Cleveland Metropark Zoo Working to Help Threatened Spotted Turtles

by Jean Bonechak

Cleveland Metroparks Zoo and a Northeast Ohio park district are working in tandem to ensure the limited spotted turtle (Clemmys guttata) population in Ohio doesn’t disappear.

The reptile is on the state’s threatened species list and without intervention might become endangered.

“If we don’t do something about it they may disappear in 10 years,” said Paul Pira, a Geauga Park District biologist.

Though not threatened in other areas of the U.S., the prevalence of spotted turtles in the northeastern states and Canada is extremely limited.

The species, which is naturally slow to mature and reproduce, also is the victim of predators, especially raccoons. A loss of its preferred wetlands habitat coupled with an illegal pet trade adds to the creatures’ scarcity…

(read more: Morning Journal)

08.21.14 ♥ 89


Red Tailed Racer  (Red-tailed Green Ratsnake, Arboreal Rat Snake)

Gonyosoma oxycephalum (Colubridae), the Red Tailed Racer, is an arboreal species of ratsnake, living in the trees up to 10m above the ground.

This striking green snake with blue tongue is a renowned raider of birds nests, and with up to 2.4 m in total length, is amongst the largest of all the ratsnake species. 

Red Tailed Racers can be found from Myanmar eastward to central Viet Nam, southward through the Malay Peninsula and Southeast Asia as far east as the Philippines and Lombok, Indonesia.

References: [1] - [2] - [3]

Photo credit: ©kkchomeLocality: Sarawak, Borneo, Malaysia

08.20.14 ♥ 198


by © Craig Leach

Green Tree Python

08.20.14 ♥ 3077


TSA Turtle Tuesday: Narrow-bridged Musk Turtle

The small and agile narrow-bridged musk turtle (Claudius angustatus) is endemic to southern Mexico and northern Central America. Its relatively large head has very powerful jaws and pointed beak making it well adapted for its varied diet. An opportunistic carnivore, it eats all kinds of accessible prey types including fish, frogs, newts, snails, earthworms, insects and larvae. With its long neck and hooked lower jaw, the narrow-bridged mud turtle is a formidable hunter!

Photo by James Harding

(via: Turtle Survival Alliance)

08.19.14 ♥ 111


Mandarin Ratsnake

The Mandarin Ratsnake, Euprepiophis mandarinus (Colubridae), is a beautiful snake native to Asia, that although is a relatively rare species in wild, is quite popular as pet due to its beauty.

An anecdotal but sad fact is the news published last December in the Bulletin of the Federation of Asian and Oceania Pest Managers Associations (FAOPMA), which reported an audacious Mandarin Ratsnake (or perhaps neglected by its owner), that was found on a plane at Sydney Airport.

The snake, with 20 cm length, was identified by Department of Agriculture entomologists (yes, you read correctly, entomologists), as being the species Euprepiophis mandarinus. Sadly, she (or he) had to be “humanely euthanized”, because “being an exotic reptile can harbor pests and diseases not present in Australia and pose a significant threat to Australia’s agricultural industries, environment and economy”.

Although it is unfortunate the death of that beautiful snake, is a fact that the accidental release of wild animals that are kept as pets, has caused problems for health and ecological in some countries (which is why there are regulations for the transfer and import of these animals).

Reference: [1]

Photo credit: ©Fabio Lena | Locality: unknown

08.19.14 ♥ 147


TSA Turtle Tuesday:  The Arrau or Giant River Turtle

The giant South American river turtle (Podocnemis expansa) is the largest river turtle in South America, with males reaching nearly 200 pounds!

The large, aquatic species has a wide distribution and can be found in Brazil, Colombia, Bolivia and Peru. Known to be strong swimmers due to their size and powerful limbs, they are able to traverse deep rivers with strong currents. Their broad, dome-shaped shell allows them to be streamlined and move efficiently through the Amazon and Orinoco Rivers where they are found. 

Photograph by Camila Ferrara

(via: Turtle Survival Alliance)

08.18.14 ♥ 95
Which snakes are the ones that can (and have) killed and eaten small dogs, cats, and/or children? They're an invasive species in Florida. Is it the Burmese Python, or a type of anaconda? I might want to get a Burmese Python someday if possible, but I'm a small 5'3" female and I don't want it to try and eat me haha

Asked by Anonymous



Wow, lots of points to address in this one;

  • Large constrictors are not for first-time snake owners
  • There is no verified evidence that has shown any large constrictor successfully eating or even habitually preying upon humans. There is no verified evidence to show that any large constrictor in modern history has successfully consumed a human.
  • Captive bred large constrictors will not prey upon dogs and cats and should not be handled in ways where they are allowed to pose a threat to other pets. Wild large constrictors will typically stick to their common prey items however invasive populations displaced from their native habitats or populations living in urban areas are known to prey upon dogs and cats.
  • The only species of snake that is suggested to actively prey upon humans is the Reticulated Python but this claim is largely based around hearsay and the small pool of attacks that have been recorded, which means that this claim is likely false.
  • Large constrictors are not for first-time snake owners
  • Although it is possible for any large constrictor to harm and even kill a person, they do not see humans are a prey item and incidences where people are harmed by these animals are always caused by irresponsible handling practices such as insecure enclosures, dangerous feeding practices, and handling while very inebriated. Learning how to safely house and handle large constrictors, like using snake hooks and the buddy system, cuts down these risk factors significantly. 
  • Over 3000 people die in car crashes every day, large constrictors only fatally attack humans like once every couple of years. Getting into your car statistically poses a larger threat than responsible handling of a large constrictor.
  • Children should not be allowed to interact with large constrictors without strict supervision from an experienced handler.
  • Large constrictors are not for first-time snake owners
  • Burmese, African Rock, and Reticulated Pythons all have been recorded as invasives in Florida at some point in time with Burms being the only established species of the three.
  • Even though Burms have the largest range of any invasive large constrictor, they are only established in only a few counties in southern Florida as they can only survive in tropical climates.
  • Large constrictors are not for first-time snake owners

TL;DR, you should not seek ownership of a Burmese Python if you are this uninformed about their ecology and view this animal as an active threat to your well being.

Large constrictors of many species are rewarding captives for many keepers but they require a deep amount of respect and a lot of responsibility both in part because they can pose a significant risk when mishandled but also because so many people are misinformed about these animals. Every person who purchases a large constrictor with out the knowledge to responsibly keep it, every mishandling that results in injury or even death, every animal that ends up being surrendered when it becomes too large only contributes to the stigma that surrounds these fascinating creatures which is then used as fuel for people to push for banning these snakes. 

If you would like to get into keeping pythons or boids, start out with a smaller beginner friendly species such as a BP, Children’s Python, Kenyan Sand Boa, or a Rosy Boa.


Also not to mention big snakes like burms are no joke expensive to keep. Dumat is still a kiddo and is currently downing 3-4 medium rats a week, will eventually be taking things like jumbo rabbits or chickens each meal, which are not only expensive but also expensive to ship on ice AND you need a space to freeze that amount of food (I just bought an entire extra freezer). That’s well over a thousand right there, and you’ll spend probably close to another thousand for a good burm-proof cage. And for all that money you get the grand prize of mucking out gallons of pee and poop as big as a horse’s.

That is not what a lot of people would consider fun.


Calling all citizen scientists in Florida!

Our researchers are asking the public to report sightings of three species of native upland snakes: the Florida pine snake, southern hognose snake and short-tailed snake.

All three species are found in dry, upland habitats and are often difficult to locate because they spend a lot of time underground. Here’s video of a pine snake found during a recent upland snake survey.

Visit our rare snake registry to submit your sightings. Doing so will help biologists evaluate the current status of these three snake species:

FWC - Fish and Wildlife Research Institute

08.17.14 ♥ 140


Baby Web-footed Gecko

Also referred to as Namib Sand Gecko, Pachydactylus rangei (Gekkonidae) is a very attractive gecko, found in Namibia and Angola. It is distinctive by its webbed feet, an adaptation that allows these geckoes to quickly scroll through their sandy environment. They also have translucent skin, mostly a somber brown or gray color which helps them blend in with the desert sands. 

The Web-footed Gecko is nocturnal and insectivorous, but they are known as inefficient hunters because their prey (such as grasshoppers, small spiders, and any arthropod small enough for them to digest) can easily avoid them. However, by hunting at night, they are able to take advantage of the lack of competition from other lizards during the hours when insects and spiders are off their guard. Their large eyes and vertical pupils help the gecko to see well at night.

Synonyms: Palmatogecko rangei Anderson, 1908; Syndactylosaura schultzei Werner 1910

Reference: [1]

Photo credit: ©cowyeow 

Locality: Sesriem, Namibia

08.17.14 ♥ 158


Tragedy or Love Story? - A Tale of Two Gilas

by Melissa @ Social Snakes

Our friend Jeff Servoss works for USFWS and in his spare time, does outreach for snakes (how cool is that?). He shared this story on Facebook and graciously allowed us to reprint it here, along with his photos. Enjoy!

Yesterday turned out to be fairly interesting. I was on my way to Costco in the early evening, along a major neighborhood arterial, when I rolled-up on a guy emptying the “contents” of a five-gallon bucket at the side of the road. To me, it sure seemed like the guy was releasing animals so I naturally pulled over and inquired.

Sure enough, he was releasing two adult Gila monsters he found in his yard “entangled together.” I’m no expert at sex ID in Gilas (generally requires imaging technology for confirmation), but it appeared to be a mating pair. This guy lived at the edge of a wilderness boundary (Coronado National Forest) about a mile away, yet he decided it was best to release these two magnificent animals along a busy roadway with a retaining wall blocking one direction of movement (AKA – death sentence).

After a brief but cordial lecture, I informed him that the wilderness behind his house was a much better location to release the animals. He understood and was really cool about it…

(read more: Social Snakes)

08.16.14 ♥ 126


Regal Ringneck Snake 

The Regal Ringneck Snake, scientifically named Diadophis punctatus regalis (Colubridae), endemic to the southwestern United States and northern Mexico, is one of the largest subspecies of Ringneck Snake (up to 87cm in length).

This mildly venomous subspecies (not considered dangerous to humans), is characterized by having light gray, olive-gray, or olive dorsal coloring, with a yellowish or light orange underside that is lightly speckled with black markings. The underside of the tail is a bright reddish orange. An orange band around the neck, sometimes faint or absent. 

Reference: [1]

Photo credit: ©Sam Murray

Locality: Santa Cruz County, Arizona, US

08.16.14 ♥ 278


Mata mata (Chelus fimbriata)

The Mata mata is a freshwater turtle found in South America, primarily in the Amazon and Orinoco basins. It is strictly an aquatic species but it prefers standing in shallow water where its snout can reach the surface to breathe. The appearance of the mata mata’s shell resembles a piece of bark, and its head resembles fallen leaves. The mata mata is carnivorous, feeding exclusively upon aquatic invertebrates and fish, which it has to swallow whole, since it cannot chew due to the way its mouth is constructed.

08.15.14 ♥ 2982