Thursday getting you down? Take a few minutes and watch Lilo swim her way back to health via the Texas A&M Turtle Facility’s  Turtle Cam!  This is my kinda meditation. 


Welcome Lilo to Texas A&M University at Galveston’s"Turtle Cam," which monitors the small circular tank where Lilo glides around, occasionally eating shrimp and crab, for 24 hours a day. On Tuesday afternoon, 31 people were watching the stream, currently housed on, but soon to move over to the A&M’s website, as well. The stream has had more than 12,000 viewers.

A&M rehabilitates the turtles in the tanks like the one featured on the live stream. The turtles, most of which have spent time healing from illness or injuries at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s Sea Turtle Facility in Galveston, a sort of sea turtle hospital, are put in the tanks and allowed to swim around until they regain their strength and grow less used to humans.

"We’re trying to get them back to their natural state where they’re fearful of people, or at least cognizant that this isn’t normal," said Dr. Kimberly Reich, marine research facility manager at A&M

Lilo, and another small turtle nicknamed Stitch, were washed ashore with this summer’s endless wave of seaweed. The two spent about a month at the sea turtle facility before moving over to A&M’s tanks late last week. They’ll stay there through the winter, Reich said.

In 2012, the Turtle Cam hosted its first star: Milagro, a turtle, who had suffered a cracked carapace, damaged lungs, a missing right front flipper and portion of his shell. The turtle, who had been found by a couple of fishermen, also had pneumonia.

A growing online following watched as a recovering Milagro swam around his tank. He was release the day after Memorial Day.


Lonesome George (c. 1912 - June 24, 2012) was the last Pinta Island Tortoise in existence. His subspecies was wiped out by invasive feral goats who devastated the native vegetation, leaving nothing for the tortoises to feed on. Found to be the only survivor of his kind, he was relocated from his native island in 1971 to the Charles Darwin Research Station on Santa Cruz Island where he stayed until he died of old age in 2012.

From David Attenborough’s encounter with Lonesome George in Life in Cold Blood.

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.

Read more (via

Ok, snake people and herpetologists near Spokane WA, this snake here is in a bit of a dilemma. Apparently, some asshole abandoned or released this 11 foot albino reticulated python, which was then discovered in an apartment, underweight and with burns on it from trying to wrap around a heater to escape from the cold.

The city has nowhere to put this animal, the owner isn’t likely to come get her, and unless someone steps up she’s going to be euthanized after the time window has passed.

I’d imagine a snake of this size and color must be worth something to SOMEbody out there, and she seems to be pretty tame, as the article didn’t mention her lashing out at any of the people trying to rescue her during this ordeal. So, snake owners, herpetologists, breeders, collectors, anyone out there with room for her, would you give this poor thing a chance?


Armadillo Girdled Lizard, Ouroborus cataphractus©Trevor Hardaker

Clanwilliam, South Africa.

Ouroborus cataphractus [Syn. Cordylus cataphractus F. Boie, 1828] is a lizard endemic to desert areas of southern Africa.

Armadillo lizards are named for their appearance when in a defensive position. When threatened, they curl up, grip the tail in their jaws, and form a tight, armored ball, resembling an armadillo. Rows of spiny osteodermate scales covering the neck, body, tail, and limbs deter predators from seizing or swallowing these lizards. This position protects the soft underside of the lizard, which is its most vulnerable area.

Like other species of armadillo lizards, Ouroborus cataphractus has the ability to drop their own tail (autotomy) when in danger, and can grow it back slowly. But, unlike many other lizards, in this species the tail is a necessary part of its unique defensive position. Because of this, the lizard will not part with the tail easily or quickly and tail autotomy is used only as a last resort. That is why in many of the photographs of these lizards is common to appear biting its tail.

The Armadillo lizards have an unusual appearance and are rather easy to catch. They are captured and sold in the commercial pet trade to other countries, although collecting this species is illegal.

This species is classified as Vulnerable on the IUCN Red List.

Reptilia - Squamata - Cordylidae - OuroborusO. cataphractus


Blogging again for the morning crowd: IMPORTANT

Apparently there’s a new show set to come on air in a few days called Killer Karaoke. From what I can understand, it’s basically a mixture of Fear Factor and American Idol, hosted by one of the members of Jackass (I honestly wish I was kidding). But that’s irrelevant.

The problem is this: the show’s producers and crew have all participated in blatant animal cruelty.

In one of the challenges, a contestant is lowered into a tub filled with ice-cold water and non-aquatic snakes.


This is cruelty on several accounts. Those snakes started drowning the moment they were put in that tank. Those snakes started freezing the moment they were put in that tank. Reptiles in general are extremely sensitive to temperature change and the cold would have been excrutiatingly painful. Not only that—the contestant can be seen thrashing around in fear, kicking and flinging snakes. The producers have issued a statement that none of the animals were harmed during the making of the episode, but fatal respiratory infections can take days (even weeks) to start showing symptoms. Considering most breeds of snake can develop URI’s at humidity levels of just 70% and higher, they’re almost guaranteed to get sick after being dunked in water like they were.

It’s pretty obvious to see that the snakes are highly distressed and trying desperately to get out of the water. Sadly, I wouldn’t be surprised if a good half of them came down with URI’s and died in a few week’s time.

There is a petition going around to try and get this show taken off the air. I urge all of you to go sign it. This isn’t just a matter of sympathy for reptiles—this is a matter of speaking out against animal abuse. Period.

As of now, Steve-O and his producers are standing by their statement that nothing they have done is wrong. They need to learn that they are sadly mistaken.


   Anyone who’s tried to collect eggs from a large constrictor knows that it is rarely a pleasant experience. These mothers are very protective over their clutches and will fight off anything that comes near their eggs. This reticulated python was allegedly caught in a grassland fire and stayed with her eggs even while being engulfed in flames. Instinct or not this is a dedicated mother and she should be remembered for her sacrifice. 


Titanoboa (Titanoboa cerrejonensis)

  • In the pantheon of predator, its one of the greatest discoveries since the T-rex: a snake 48 feet long, weighing in at 2,500 pounds. Uncovered from a treasure trove of fossils in a Columbian coal-mine, this serpent is revealing a lost world of giant creatures
  • In the lowland tropics of northern Columbia, 60 miles from the Caribbean coast, Cerrejon is a criss-crossing of roads leading to enormous pits 15 miles in circumference
  • 58 million years ago, a few million years after the fall of the dinosaurs, Cerrejon was an immense swampy jungle where everything was hotter, wetter and bigger than it is today
  • Today Cerrejon happens to be one of the world’s richest, most important fossil deposits, providing scientists with a unique snapshot of the qeological moment when a new environment was emerging
  • After the dinosaurs disappeared the river basin held turtles with shells twice the size of manhole covers and crocodile kin-at least three different species- more than a dozen feet long. And there were seven-foot-long lungfish, two to three times the size of their modern Amazon cousins
  • The lord of this jungle was a truly spectacular creature- a snake more than 40 feet long and weighing more than a ton. This giant serpent looked something like a modern-day boa constrictor, but behaved more like today’s water-dwelling anaconda.It was a swamp denizen and a fearsome predator, able to eat any animal that caught its eye

Read the whole story:

Or watch the video by the Smithsonian:

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