Tortoises

Galapagos Tortoise

GalapagosTortoise

Diet: Herbivore
Lifespan: Up to 100 years
Weight: Up to 880 lbs.
Status: Vulnerable
Habitat: Only exists on two remote archipelagos: the Galápagos, and Aldabra

Did you know?

  • The Galapagos Tortoise is the largest living Tortoise.
  • They have strong, toothless jaws which suit their herbivorous lifestyle and they spend most of the day grazing or basking in mud or pools.
  • They are slow moving, averaging a long distance walking speed of 0.3 km/hr (0.18 mph), although if the tortoise has a purpose, for example moving to breeding grounds, they can move more quickly. They typically use the same sleeping place and same pathways to get around.
  • The Galapagos Tortoise feeds on a variety of grasses, leaves, cactus, vines and fruit. They obtain most of their moisture through their diet and can go for long periods without drinking.

Sulcata Tortoise

Galapagos-Tortoise

Diet: Herbivore
Lifespan: Up to 80 years
Weight: Up to 200 lbs.
Status: Vulnerable
Habitat: Southern edge of the Sahara Desert in Northern Africa.

Did you know?

  • The Sulcata Tortoise is the third largest species of tortoise in the world.
  • The skin of the Sulcata Tortoise is very thick and the legs are covered in dull, spiney projections. The thick skin and spines are intended for protection from predators, but also works like insulation, keeping them cooler in the summer, and warmer in the winter.
  • The Sulcata Tortoise, when provoked, scared or startled, will hiss loudly. They do not have teeth, but they do have a beak like structured mouth. The ridges are extremely sharp and the larger the Tortoise gets, the larger and thicker the ridges on the beak get.
  • The Sulcata Tortoise needs a lot of light to keep active and healthy. Without substantial light amounts, they become lethargic. They also need a lot of calcium to develop healthy bones.
  • They have very friendly and outgoing personalities, although they do not like being picked up. Petting and hand feeding is a great way to build a relationship with the Sulcata Tortoise.

Red Footed Tortoise

RedFootedTortoise

Diet: Herbivore
Lifespan: Up to 80 years
Weight: Up to 50 lbs.
Status: Vulnerable
Habitat: The Mojave and Sonoran Deserts of the southwestern United States and northwestern Mexico

Did you know?

  • The Red Footed Tortoise has a variety of color such as red, yellow and brown. They enjoy a warm climate, and spend most of their day inactive. They generally try to find tight-fitting resting places, and will occasionally ‘wedge’ themselves between roots and trunks but remain otherwise exposed. In warmer weather, they press up against moister, cooler surfaces in shelter areas.
  • The Red Footed Tortoise often follows one another, usually a smaller one following a larger and quite often males following males. They rarely show any signs of aggression.
  • The bulk of the diet of the Red Footed Tortoise is fruit, but they also eat grasses, leaves, flowers, roots and plants.
  • The Red Footed Tortoise spends over 50% of the daylight hours resting. They may rest even longer after a large meal – sometimes with 5 – 10 day stretches! Resting tortoises barely move, and one study showed that a tortoise stayed in the same position for over a month.

Leopard Tortoise

Bulldog

Diet: Herbivore
Lifespan: Up to 80-100 years
Weight: Up to 120 lbs.
Status: Vulnerable
Habitat: The savannas of Eastern and Southern Africa

Did you know?

  • The Leopard Tortoise is the fourth largest species of tortoise in the world. Their skin and background color is cream to yellow, and the carapace is marked with black blotches, sports or even dashes or stripes. Each individual tortoise is marked uniquely.
  • In both very hot and very cold weather, the Leopard Tortoise dwells in abandoned fox, jackal, or anteater holes. They do not dig other than to make nests in which to lay eggs. Sheltering trees or bushes are necessary for them to escape the extreme midday sun.
  • The Leopard Tortoise grazes extensively upon mixed grasses.
  • The Leopard Tortoise is more defensive than offensive. They retract their feet and head into their shell for protection. This often results in a hissing sound, probably due to the squeezing of air from the lungs as the limbs and head are retracted.

California Desert Tortoise

CaliforniaDesertTortoise

Diet: Herbivore
Lifespan: Up to 80 years
Weight: Up to 50 lbs.
Status: Vulnerable
Habitat: The Mojave and Sonoran Deserts of the southwestern United States and northwestern Mexico

Did you know?

  • The California Desert Tortoise grows slowly and generally has low reproductive rates. They spend most of their time in burrows, rock shelters, and pallets to regulate body temperature and reduce water loss. Shelters are important for controlling their body temperature and water regulation, as they allow the tortoises to slow their rate of heating in summer and provide protection from cold during the winter. The humidity within burrows prevents dehydration. Burrows also provide protection from predators.
  • They are most active after seasonal rains and are inactive during most of the year. This inactivity helps reduce water loss during hot periods, whereas winter hibernation facilitates survival during freezing temperatures and low food availability.
  • The California Desert Tortoise can tolerate water, salt, and energy imbalances on a daily basis, which increases their lifespan.

Turtles

Red-Eared Sliders

Erma

Diet: Omnivore
Lifespan: Up to 20-30 years
Weight: Up to 1.5 lbs.
Status: Least Concern
Habitat: It is native to the southern United States and northern Mexico, but has become established in other places because of pet releases, and has become an invasive species in many areas

Did you know?

  • The Red-Eared Slider gets its name from the small red dash around its ears. The “slider” part of its name comes from its ability to slide off rocks and logs and into the water quickly.
  • The red stripe on each side of the turtle’s head distinguishes the Red-Eared Slider from all other species. The red stripe is located behind the eyes where its ears would be. These stripes lose their color over time. The Red-Eared Slider does not have a visible outer ear or an external auditory canal; instead, it relies on a middle ear entirely covered by a cartilaginous tympanic disc.
  • In its natural habitat, the Red-Eared Slider thrives on a variety of invertebrates and insects, including fish, crayfish, tadpoles, snails, crickets and worms, all of which provide the turtle with needed protein. Dark leafy greens are an essential part of the turtle’s diet. Younger Red-Eared Sliders tend to prefer meat before gradually acquiring a taste for plant foods as they age.
  • The turtle’s tail is important as it helps the turtle to steer as it is swimming.

Box Turtle

BoxTurtle

Diet: Omnivore
Lifespan: Up to 40-50 years
Weight: Up to 10-35 lbs.
Status: Threatened
Habitat: Native to North America (United States and Mexico)

Did you know?

  • The Box Turtle spends the majority of its time on dry land, within easy range of shallow fresh water. It is not as aquatic as most turtles.
  • Males tend to have more colorful markings on the forelegs, and the claws on the hind feet are generally shorter and more curved than those on the females.
  • Box Turtles are omnivorous and eat mostly vegetation. It spends much of its sleep time dug into burrows or wedged under fall trees or rocks, safe from predators. It requires a lot of fresh shallow water.

Mud Turtle

Sunny

Diet: Ominvore
Lifespan: Up to 15 years
Weight: Up to 2 lbs.
Status: Least Concern
Habitat: found in the United States, Mexico, Central America, and South America

Did you know?

  • The Mud Turtle is a small, omnivorous turtle that prefers sandy, wet and muddy areas to live. It also makes an excellent pet, easily kept both indoors and out.
  • The Mud Turtle’s diet consists of a regular consumption of worms, snails, and fish of edible sizes. In the wild, they may forage on plants, with captive turtles regularly eating fruit and vegetable material.
  • The Mud Turtle is known for burrowing into the mud during hibernation in the fall and winter seasons. These types of turtles are also commonly found in pet stores, being a favorite among turtle enthusiasts due to their relatively easy upkeep.
  • Mud Turtles can release a foul smelling liquid from their anal glands. This is a defense mechanism against predators. Many mud turtles kept as pets never release this scent.

Lizards

Iguana

Iguana

Diet: Herbivore
Lifespan: Up to 20 years
Weight: Up to 10 lbs.
Size: Up to 5 1/2 feet long
Status: Least Concern
Habitat: Found in Central and South America from Mexico to southern Brazil and Paraguay, as well as the Caribbean Islands to Florida

Did you know?

  • Green Iguanas are bred and raised on farms in Central and South America to be eaten by people.
  • Iguanas have evolved a white photosensory organ on the top of their heads called the parietal eye, which is also called “third eye”. This “eye” doesn’t work the same way as a normal eye does. It has only a rudimentary retina and lens and cannot form images. It is, however, sensitive to changes in light and dark and can detect movement. This helps the iguana when being stalked by predators from above.
  • Iguanas can detach their tails if caught and will grow another without permanent damage.

Savannah Monitor

MEETANIMALS-HERO-REPTILE2

Diet: Carnivore
Lifespan: Up to 15 years
Weight: Up to 11 lbs.
Size: Up to 3.5 or 5 feet
Status: Least Concern
Habitat: Sub-Saharan Africa

Did you know?

  • The Savannah Monitor is a medium sized species of monitor lizard native to Africa. It is found in the savannahs and grasslands of central Africa. These animals are superbly adapted predators that hunt and forage during the cooler daylight hours for foods consisting of insects, birds, eggs, rodents, and other reptiles.
  • The Savannah Monitor is primarily a ground-dwelling species that shelters in burrows, although it is sometimes found in bushes or low trees.
  • In addition to being hardy, reasonably sized, and readily available, Savannah Monitors are also toted as one of the easiest monitor species to tame. With regular, gentle handling, most of these animals will learn to tolerate, or even enjoy, human interaction.

Leopard Gecko

REPTILES-HERO-GECKO

Diet: Insectivore
Lifespan: Up to 20 years
Weight: Less than 1 lb.
Size: Up to 11 inches
Status: Least Concern
Habitat: Found in the deserts of Asia and throughout Pakistan

Did you know?

  • Leopard Geckos have movable eyelids.
  • They are able to replace each of their 100th teeth every 3 – 4 months.
  • The gecko will eat its old skin after shedding, revealing a brighter colored one. The shedding of their skin also removes any scent markers left behind for potential predators to discover. When the Leopard Gecko feels threatened, startled, or scared, it will hiss to ward off predators.
  • When food is scarce in the desert, the Leopard Gecko relies on its ability to store excess fat in its tail. It has the ability to voluntarily detach its tail if it is attacked. The tail can regenerate when lost, however, the regenerated tail appears stumpy and will never have the same appearance as the original tail.

Snakes

Leucistic Texas Rat Snake

rat-snake

Diet: Carnivore
Lifespan: Up to 15 years
Weight: Up to 4 lbs.
Size: Up to 4 or 5 feet
Status: Least Concern
Habitat: Found in a wide range of habitats from swamps to forests to grasslands, even in urban areas, primarily within the state of Texas, but its range extends into Louisiana, Arkansas and Oklahoma

Did you know?

  • The Leucistic Rat Snake gets its coloring from a condition that results in a lack of all pigmentation, rather than just melanin which appears in albinism. This is why the snake’s eyes are of normal color.
  • They are often found around farmland, and will sometimes consume chickens and eggs, which leads them to be called the “chicken snake”.
  • They are known for their attitude, and will typically bite if handled, though their bite is harmless.

Red Tailed Boa

Corduroy

Diet: Carnivore
Lifespan: Up to 30 years
Weight: Up to 50 lbs.
Size: Up to 6-10 feet
Status: Least Concern
Habitat: Found in tropical rainforests to arid semidesert country throughout Central America

Did you know?

  • The Red-Tailed Boa can sense heat via cells in their lips, though they lack the labial pits surrounding these receptors seen in many members of the boidae family. It also has two lungs, a smaller (non-functional) left and enlarged (functional) right lung to better fit their elongated shape, unlike many colubrid snakes which have completely lost the left lung.
  • The Red-Tailed Boa is not a constant eater. In some cases a large meal can sustain it for up to a month. It kills its prey by squeezing it to death with its powerful coils.

Ball Python

REPTILES-HERO-BALL-PYTHON

Diet: Carnivore
Lifespan: Up to 15 years
Weight: Up to 4 or 5 lbs.
Size: Up to 5 or 6 feet
Status: Least Concern
Habitat: The grasslands, savannas and sparsely wooded areas of west Africa

Did you know?

  • The Ball Python is the smallest of the African pythons and is popular in the pet trade, largely due to its typically docile temperament.
  • The name “ball python” refers to the animal’s tendency to curl into a ball when stressed or frightened. They are curious and gentle snakes.
  • The Ball Python is known to go for extended periods of time without food. They are very picky eaters.
  • The color pattern of the Ball Python is typically black or dark brown with light brown or gold sides and dorsal blotches. The belly is a white or cream color that may include scattered black markings.
Author: admin