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The boa constrictor, also called red-tailed boa, is a species of large, heavy-bodied snake. It is a member of the family Boidae found in North, Central, and South America, as well as some islands in the Caribbean
A staple of private collections and public displays, its color pattern is highly variable yet distinctive. Ten subspecies are currently recognized, although some of these are controversial. This article focuses on the species Boa constrictor as a whole, but also specifically on the nominate subspecies B. c. constrictor. [credits: Wikipedia]
The reticulated python (Python reticulatus) is a species of python found in Southeast Asia. They are the world’s longest snakes and longest reptiles, and among the three heaviest snakes. Like all pythons, they are nonvenomous constrictors and normally not considered dangerous to humans. However, cases of people killed (and in at least one case eaten) by reticulated pythons have been documented.
An excellent swimmer, P. reticulatus has been reported far out at sea and has colonized many small islands within its range. The specific name, reticulatus, is Latin meaning “net-like”, or reticulated, and is a reference to the complex colour pattern. [Credit: Wikipedia]
The Gila monster (Heloderma suspectum) is a species of venomous lizard native to the southwestern United States and northwestern Mexican state of Sonora. A heavy, typically slow-moving lizard, up to 60 cm (2.0 ft) long, the Gila monster is the only venomous lizard native to the United States and one of only two known species of venomous lizards in North America, the other being its close relative, the Mexican beaded lizard (H. horridum). Although the Gila monster is venomous, its sluggish nature means it represents little threat to humans. However, it has earned a fearsome reputation, and is sometimes killed despite being protected by state law in Arizona. [Credit: Wikipedia]
The Mexican beaded lizard (Heloderma horridum) is a species of lizard in the family Helodermatidae, one of the two species of venomous beaded lizards found principally in Mexico and southern Guatemala. It and its congener (member of the same genus) the Gila monster (Heloderma suspectum) are the only lizards known to have evolved an overt venom delivery system. The Mexican beaded lizard is larger than the Gila monster, with duller coloration, black with yellowish bands. As it is a specialized predator that feeds primarily upon eggs, the primary use of its venom is still a source of debate among scientists. However, this venom has been found to contain several enzymes useful for manufacturing drugs in the treatment of diabetes, and research on the pharmacological use of its venom is ongoing.
Threatened throughout its range by overcollection and habitat loss, it is a CITES protected species. The Guatemalan beaded lizard (H. charlesbogerti ) is one of the rarest lizards in the world, with a wild population of fewer than 200. [Credit: Wikipedia]
The green iguana (Iguana iguana), also known as the American iguana, is a large, arboreal, mostly herbivorous species of lizard of the genus Iguana. Usually, this animal is simply called the iguana. The green iguana ranges over a large geographic area; it is native from southern Brazil and Paraguay as far north as Mexico and the Caribbean islands, and have been introduced from South America to Puerto Rico and are very common throughout the island, where they are colloquially known as gallina de palo (“bamboo chicken” or “chicken of the trees”) and considered an invasive species; in the United States, feral populations also exist in South Florida (including the Florida Keys), Hawaii, the U.S. Virgin Islands and the Rio Grande Valley of Texas.
A herbivore, it has adapted significantly with regard to locomotion and osmoregulation as a result of its diet. It grows to 1.5 metres (4.9 ft) in length from head to tail, although a few specimens have grown more than 2 metres (6.6 ft) with bodyweights upward of 20 pounds (9.1 kg).
Commonly found in captivity as a pet due to its calm disposition and bright colors, it can be very demanding to care for properly. Space requirements and the need for special lighting and heat can prove challenging to the hobbyist. [Credit: Wikipedia]
The red-footed tortoise (Chelonoidis carbonarius) is a species of tortoise from northern South America. These medium-sized tortoises generally average 30 cm (12 in) as adults, but can reach over 40 cm (16 in). They have dark-colored, loaf-shaped carapaces (back shell) with a lighter patch in the middle of each scute (scales on the shell), and dark limbs with brightly colored scales that range from pale yellow to dark red. Recognized differences are seen between red-footed tortoises from different regions. They are closely related to the yellow-footed tortoise (C. denticulata) from the Amazon Basin. They are popularly kept as pets, and over-collection has caused them to be vulnerable to extinction.
Their natural habitat ranges from savannah to forest edges around the Amazon Basin. They are omnivorous with a diet based on a wide assortment of plants, mostly fruit when available, but also including grasses, flowers, fungi, carrion, and invertebrates. They do not brumate, but may aestivate in hot, dry weather.
Eggs, hatchlings, and juvenile tortoises are food for many predators, but the main threats for adults are jaguars and humans. Population density ranges from locally common to very scarce due in part to habitat destruction and over-collection for food and the pet trade. [Credit: Wikipedia]
The African spurred tortoise is native to the Sahara Desert and the Sahel, a transitional ecoregion of semiarid grasslands, savannas, and thorn shrublands found in the countries of Burkina Faso, Chad, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Mali, Mauritania, Nigeria, Senegal, and Sudan In these arid regions, the tortoise excavates burrows in the ground to get to areas with higher moisture levels, and spends the hottest part of the day in these burrows. This is known as aestivation. Burrows may average 30 inches in depth; some dig tunnel systems extending 10 feet or more underground. There is a variant of this tortoise in Sudan, they differ by having a bigger overall body and shell. [Credit: Wikipedia]
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The common snapping turtle is a large freshwater turtle of the family Chelydridae. Its natural range extends from southeastern Canada, southwest to the edge of the Rocky Mountains, as far east as Nova Scotia and Florida. This species and the larger alligator snapping turtle are the only two species in this family found in North America (though the common snapping turtle, as its name implies, is much more widespread).
The common snapping turtle is noted for its combative disposition when out of the water with its powerful beak-like jaws, and highly mobile head and neck (hence the specific name serpentina, meaning “snake-like”). In water, they are likely to flee and hide themselves underwater in sediment. Snapping turtles have a life-history strategy characterised by high and variable mortality of embryos and hatchlings, delayed sexual maturity, extended adult longevity, and iteroparity (repeated reproductive events) with low reproductive success per reproductive event. Females, and presumably also males, in more northern populations mature later (at 15–20 years) and at a larger size than in more southern populations (about 12 years). Lifespan in the wild is poorly known, but long-term mark-recapture data from Algonquin Park in Ontario, Canada suggest a maximum age over 100 years. [credits: Wikipedia]
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The desert hedgehog is one of the smallest of hedgehogs. It is 5.5 to 11 inches (140 to 280 mm) long and weighs about 10 to 18 ounces (280 to 510 g). The spines (or quills to give their correct name) on its back can be banded with coloring similar to the four-toed hedgehog. It is usually identified by its dark muzzle. If desert hedgehogs are threatened, their muscles go tight and pull the outer layer of skin around the body, making their quills stick out in all directions. The quills tend to be longer than other hedgehogs for better protection against predation. As such it is extremely difficult to catch one.. [credits: Wikipedia]