Friday, 29 May 2015

Lizards 14: Rhinoceros Iguana

The last of the lizards in this series is one of the largest lizards in the Americas, the imposing Rhinoceros Iguana Cyclura cornuta. Originating from the island of Hispaniola, which is shared between the countries of Haiti and the Dominican Republic, plus some nearby islands, it is the species of Cyclura most often seen in zoos, plus many more in private collections.

Sunday, 24 May 2015

Lizards 13: Leptien's Uromastyx

U.aegyptia leptieni
Scattered through dry areas of Africa and Arabia are numerous species of herbivorous agamid lizard in the genus Uromastyx. Formerly included in the same genus are at least three species of Saara, which replaces Uromastyx in the Middle East and India. Commonly called spiny tailed lizards, they are mostly large lizards with distinctive thick, spiked tails which they use on defense, either by striking attackers with it or using it to block the entrance to their burrows.

Friday, 15 May 2015

Lizards 12: Common Chameleon

The third of the chameleon species at Bristol is not often seen in zoos. The Common Chameleon Chamaeleo chamaeleon is the “original” chameleon. It has a range that at least formerly included several of the Greek islands, although now it is only found on Samos, and extends all around the southern and eastern coasts of the Mediterranean, extending as far east as Iran. It is also found in southern Spain, Malta and Crete.  Other species of Chamaeleo are found in sub-Saharan Africa, the Arabian peninsula and in India as far south as Sri Lanka. One of the largest is also the species hobbyists are most familiar with, the Veiled Chameleon C.calyptratus.

Sunday, 10 May 2015

Lizards 11: Bearded Dwarf Chameleon

Bearded Dwarf Chameleon - in center of picture
While panther chameleons are among the larger species of chameleon, many species have become miniaturised in the course of their evolution and are generally referred to as pygmy or dwarf chameleons. This has happened on at least two separate occasions, resulting in the dwarf chameleons of mainland Africa and the even smaller leaf chameleons of Madagascar. As a result of their small size and limited capacity to disperse, there are almost certainly many more species of these marvelous little lizards than are currently described.

Saturday, 2 May 2015

Lizards 10: Panther Chameleon

Female Panther Chameleon
Of all the world’s lizards, chameleons are perhaps the most instantly recognizable. The distinctive eyes, which are extremely sharp – chameleons probably have some of the best vision of all reptiles – can either give good vision in any direction or be focussed on the same target to give stereoscopic vision and depth perception, essential when using their other distinctive feature, the extensible tongue (which can be as long as their bodies), to catch their prey.