How snakes yawn.
I’m reminded of the time my uncle grabbed one of these buggers by the tail and threw them into a lake, Mario vs. Bowser style.
My parents considered getting me a snapping turtle when I was a small child and I have never been so grateful to be disappointed
The Gharial is undoubtedly the most bizarre looking crocodilian. Its very long, very slender snout is adapted to catch fish, as are the interlocking, needle-like teeth. Gharials are possibly the most aquatic of all crocodilians, and they have very short and weak legs; they actually only leave water to bask in the sun and to lay their eggs. This crocodilian is found in India and Nepal, and is among the largest members of the group, reaching 7 meters (23′) in length. Despite their huge size, they are usually harmless to humans; however, they can bite in self defense if provoked. Gharials get their name from the protuberance in the adult male’s snout, which is called a ghara. Gharials use the ghara to produce a sound which is supposed to attract potential mates.
It seems that males also use their ghara to produce bubbles with the same purpose. Some prehistoric crocodilians such as the enormous, dinosaur-eating Sarcosuchus also had a ghara. Who knows what amazing sounds they may have produced! Gharials are, themselves, the last survivors (along with false gharials) of a crocodilian group that was once widely distributed and diverse; remains of gharials and gharial-like crocodilians have been found even in South America! Unfortunately, the survival of the Gharial is, as usual, threatened by the advance of “civilization” and the loss of habitat. There are around 1500 gharials living in the wild nowadays, and the population seems to be declining due to water pollution with heavy metals.
Genetic Forensics Wakes a Dragon
A genetic investigation into the illegal trade of sailfin dragons has unearthed a surprise: a new species of the rainbow-colored lizards that resemble small dinosaurs. The finding highlights just how little is known about these mysterious and threatened animals.
Sailfin lizards (genus Hydrosaurus) look like they were pulled from a child’s coloring book. As the water-loving reptiles mature, their faces, dorsal crests, and saillike tails shift from a drab green and gray to vibrant shades of neon purple, cyan, and harlequin. That’s made them a popular target for an illegal pet trade which—along with destruction of their habitat in the Philippines, eastern Indonesia, and New Guinea—has decimated their numbers. In the wild, only juveniles remain in most populations, says Cameron Siler, the curator of herpetology at the University of Oklahoma, Norman.
This is a full body shot of this lizard, hence the name Sailfin.
I find it sad that this article is about the ILLEGAL trade of these lizards and the response is a strong desire to acquire one (as far as I know there are at most one or two US breeders of Philippine-originating sailfin dragons) so any that you find are more than likely illegal imports.
With that said, this is amazing research, this is the exact kind of research I want to do- research that ties in smuggling/imports and science to better help understand the wildlife which can in turn be used to better protect the species in their native range.
Round Island Boa (Casarea dussumieri)
Also known as the Round Island Keel-scaled Boa, the Round Island boa is an endangered species of Bolyeriid snake that is endemic to Round Island, Mauritius. However, it has been recorded on the islands of Gunner’s Quoin, Flat Island, and IIe de la Pas as well. Round Island boas are unique among vertebrates in that they have a split jaw (an intramaxillairy joint that separates anteria and posteria bones). This is likely an adaptation which helps C. dussumeireri catch its prey, which consists mainly of geckos and skinks.
Currently C. dussumieri is listed as Endangered and faces threats from not only a small range but habitat loss and decrease of prey items as well.