so uhhhhh when I was visiting Ohio I was looking through my old stuffed animals to take back home with me and I found my first two weighted lizards that I was obsessed with as a child (now I know why obviously) but when I got back I kinda had this stupid idea so uhh here:
“Unsung Saint: Crotalus horridus”. Timber rattlesnakes are one of only two venomous species in Minnesota, and has been listed as “threatened” in the state since 1996. Until 1989, they were often hunted for bounties paid by local governments.
Rattlesnakes have an undeserved bad reputation, and their persecution has them threatened throughout their range. They are also at the mercy of introduced fungal infections. They do their part in keeping populations of small mammals under control, and they deserve our healthy respect as well as their space.
Colwood Detailer wood burner on basswood with acrylic gold accents.
“Anoles you say? Those little lizards that run around Florida and you can buy for a few bucks at the pet store?”
Well, not those anoles. But reptiles in the genus Anolis. Anolis is a genus with arguably over 400 species in it. I say arguably because honestly a lot of species were thrown in there until they could be studied more in-depth. Which happens with a lot of genera, actually. Over time things are separated into more accurate genera or sub-species.
The anoles you see in the store are usually Green Anoles (aka a lot of things like Carolina Anole) and Brown Anoles.
After having the pleasure of caring for Anolis equestris (Knight Anoles) I was opened up to a whole world of these guys.
Much larger than your average anole!! But just as sassy.
So I’m just going to show off some of the lesser known but still really cool species. Honestly, I would love to breed them someday because many are threatened by habitat loss. Having a stable population in captivity would at least help preserve them.
Anolis chamaeleonides (Short Bearded Anole) Love that head shape. There are five species in this… group? Of
anoles. All are cool, native to Cuba, and large (about 13″ head to tail).
Anolis allisoni (Allisons Anole) Blue is only on the males and it’s variable but WOW. They’re native to
Belize (Islas de la Bahia), Cuba, and Honduras. They’re a smaller species getting to about 4″ in length and are very closely related to your common Green Anole. In fact, a female of each species is very very similar in appearance!!
Anolis barbouri (Hispilan Hopping Anole) Now THIS anole… THIS ANOLE RIGHT HERE… is NOT arboreal!!!! She lives on the ground like a good god fearing lizard amonst leaf litter. This is SO unusual for anoles!!! Like you have no idea! I’m losing my fucking MIND over this lizard!!! I don’t know maybe it’s just me but that’s inCREDIBLE and I can’t get over it. On the ground!!!! This publication is a literal GOLDMINE of information about them. They are native the the Dominican Republic. Just look at this lizard!!! You can tell she isn’t like other anoles. The whole shape is just… different!!
Anolis proboscis (Proboscis Anole) When I saw the name of this anole… I knew… I KNEW it would be incredible. And it is. Behold the INCREDIBLY SEXY proboscis anole!!! It is native to Ecuador and the males have this AMAZING snout. Even the females are cool and spiky. They’re small, about 3″ long, and endangered! Again, due to habitat loss these poor guys are threatened with extinction.
And now…. drum roll please… the highly variableAnolis marmoratus (Leopard Anole)!!! Ok not technically variable but there are TEN subspecies and they all look different and BEAUTIFUL!!! Her are a few of the prettiest, in my opinion. Images (x) They are native to
and get about 3″. Interestingly, they hybridize commonly in the wild so these sub-species are uh… not always “pure”! You get tons of variability even among different localities.
Anolis marmoratus marmoratus
Anolis marmoratus giraffus
Anolis marmoratus alliaceus
In conclusion, ANOLES ARE COOL AND INTERESTING LIZARDS AND I LOVE THEM
I got a DNA test and it came back 0.5% more reptile than the average human. I got an interview for it and they asked me how it made me feel, I said, “I have the potential for scaly skin in my DNA, I couldn’t be happier.”
For the longest time I’ve always strictly gone to pet stores for all of my reptile supplies but lately I’ve been finding that it’s just getting too pricey. This morning I needed two 100 watt bulbs and more substrate, and the total would have been $65 at PetSmart. I decided to do some online research instead. Apparently for only $11.49, Home Hardware has large compressed blocks of coconut husk, a substrate I’ve been desperately wanting to try for a while but couldn’t find anywhere other than online. I also found a two pack of 100 watt bulbs for only $5.99, BUT! You’ll always want to buy shatter resistant bulbs and I forgot about that part before I bought these, so keep that in mind. If you have any other hacks (or comments/concerns) please add to this post!
Unprecedented footage from Costa Rica shows tiny tropical lizard (Water Anole) “breathing” from an air sac suspended atop their snouts—an apparent scuba tank that helps them stay submerged for extended periods.
As the lizards lie motionless underwater, bubbles can periodically be seen appearing above their snouts. The bubbles quickly expand in size, and then shrink. It may very well be a form of underwater respiration, in which oxygen is pulled from the recycled air bubble on the lizard’s head, though further research will be required to validate these visual observations.
Time and Place: Between 248 to 247 million years ago, in the Olenekian of the Early Triassic
Hupehsuchus is known only from the Jialingjiang Formation in the Hubei Province of China.
Physical Description: At first glance, Hupehsuchus looks a lot like what you’d expect a primitive ichthyosaur to look like, and indeed they are related. Only around 1-2 metres (3-6 feet) long, its body is long and streamlined, with a long, pointed snout lacking teeth, limbs evolved into large rounded paddles, and a long flattened tail without a fluke. However, on closer inspection Hupehsuchus turns out to be much more bizarre.
Like other hupehsuchians, Hupehsuchus is heavily armoured with vertically layered rows of osteoderms running down its back over the vertebrae (you read that right, they’re on top of each other). These osteoderms interlock with each other, which may have stiffened the body and/or provided ballast. The vertebrae themselves have tall neural spines, giving Hupehsuchus an almost humpbacked appearance, and the neural spines appear to be made up of twoseparate pieces, one attached to the vertebra, the other seemingly attached to the osteoderms. Only hupehsuchians have vertebrae like that. Its body was probably compressed from side to side, taller than it was wide, and was only flexible around the hips and tail. The armour on its back is complemented by a robust, thick ribs that almost create a shield around its sides, and it even has heavily built, interlocking gastralia on its underside complete with another row of smaller osteoderms on the underside.
The skull of Hupehsuchus is also very unusual. The jaws are long, pointed, and the skull was seemingly quite broad and flat from above, resembling a duck’s bill. The lower jaws were incredibly thin and loosely attached to each other, and were probably capable of bending and bowing outwards like a pelican or baleen whale. The lower jaw may even have supported a large gular pouch, and large hyoid bones imply it had a powerful tongue. Furthermore, several parallel grooves in the upper jaw suggest the presence of a baleen-like structure in its mouth, making it even more uncannily similar to baleen whales. The neck, though, is relatively long and slender compared to a whale.
Diet: The bizarre adaptations of Hupehsuchus suggest it may have been a filter-feeder, sifting small particles and animals out of the water column or near the sea bed.
Behavior: Hupehsuchus was likely a lunge-feeder, in spite of its relatively long neck. The laterally compressed body and flexible hips and tail indicate that it swam by undulating through the water, likely lunging forwards suddenly through swarms of plankton and other small organisms to feed. The flexible jaws of Hupehsuchus imply that it engulfed large amounts of water as it fed, like whales, and would have strained it out through its filtering structures using its tongue.
Hupehsuchus almost certainly gave birth to live young, like ichthyosaurs. Partly because its anatomy was totally unsuited for crawling onto land to lay eggs, but also because one of the oldest ichthyosaurs, Chaohusaurus, is known to have given birth to its babies head-first, the opposite of the tail-first birth in other ichthyosaurs. Babies born head-first in water are at risk of drowning during birth, so this implies that live birth evolved in the ancestors of ichthyosaurs while they were still on land, which would mean that Hupehsuchus likely would have inherited this trait too.
Ecosystem: Hupehsuchus, and indeed all other hupehsuchians for that matter, are known only from a single locality in China. Here Hupehsuchus coexisted with its fellow hupehsuchians Nanchangosaurus, little short-necked Eohupehsuchus, the tubular Parahupehsuchus (I’m sensing a pattern here) and the truly bizarre platypus-faced Eretmorhipis (along with an undescribed polydactylous species!).
The diversity of hupehsuchians in this one habitat likely lead to diverse niche partitioning between them. Hupehsuchus was one of the largest, and seemingly occupied a more active lifestyle, lunge-feeding on organisms in the water. Nanchangosaurus had a similar skull to Hupehsuchus, and so may have had a similar diet, but it was smaller and had a body shape more suited for swimming along the sea bed. Parahupehsuchus was so heavily encased in armour that its body was practically a bony tube, and rather than round paddles it had pointed flippers, suggesting a different swimming style (for what, we don’t know). The bizarrest of them all, Eretmorhipis, may have specialised in grubbing blindly through the seabed, sensing prey with its bill like a platypus, possibly even at night.
The habitat is believed to have been a shallow lagoonal environment, perhaps sheltered from larger predators that could have preyed upon them, like giant nothosaurs. However, they nonetheless coexisted with the primitive ichthyosaur Chaohusaurus and two species of pachypleurosaur (sauropterygians related to nothosaurids), Keichousaurus and Hanosaurus, as well as an undescribed large sauropterygian 3-4 metres (10-13 feet) long. Strangely, no fish have been discovered in this formation, so it’s quite possible that the smaller hupehsuchians were the main food source for some of these larger marine reptiles (as evidenced by a bite taken out of one Eohupehsuchus paddle!). These conditions may have also prompted the strange dietary adaptations of the hupehsuchians, with no smaller fishes to eat, they specialised in eating tiny marine invertebrates and other plankton.
Other: Hupehsuchians are very mysterious marine reptiles, they are known from only one location in the whole world and from a very narrow range of time in the earliest Triassic. Hupehsuchus was once suggested to be a missing link between the ichthyosaurs and their as-yet-unknown terrestrial ancestors, although as more early ichthyosauromorphs have been discovered it is clear that is not the case, and that hupehsuchians are a bizarre offshoot of their own.
Hupehsuchus is part of a surprisingly diverse range of early-derived ichthyosauromorphs that lived in China during the Early Triassic, just a few million years after the Permian Mass Extinction, including the first proper ichthyopterygians and the peculiar (possibly amphibious) nasorostrans like Cartorhynchus. These marine reptiles were very quick to diversify in the wake after the extinction, as the strange filter-feeding lifestyle of Hupehsuchus testifies, quite the opposite of the predicted slow recovery for marine ecosystems. However, it remains a mystery why only the ichthyosaurs prevailed, and all the other strange and diverse ichthyosauromorphs like Hupehsuchus never even made it into the Middle Triassic. Perhaps they were just too strange and specialised even for the Triassic.
I was in a big reptile exhibit and the employees were trying to keep me from looking at an albino ball python that was on display. They kept telling me the snake was “very sick” and when I finally saw the snake it was lying in a completely white room and was covered in blood. I told them it didn’t look sick to me, and then the glass from the enclosure came off (very akin to the scene in Harry Potter) and I was trapped in the white room with it. The snake didn’t move its mouth but it told me that we couldn’t leave the room, and that it had been stuck there for years. I told the python that I was sorry for what happened to it, but it just said that there wasn’t anything to be sorry for.