Saturday, 18 April 2015

Lizards 8: Standings Day Gecko

In Madagascar and nearby islands of the Indian Ocean some of the most visible reptiles are the various species of Phelsuma geckos. Usually referred to as day geckos (although at least one species on Mauritius is nocturnal) they are mostly small lizards, living in trees and bushes. There are numerous species, many with ranges limited to a single island or patch of forest, and consequently many are classed as threatened or worse by the IUCN. At least 2 species are extinct, one of which was the largest known species, the Rodrigues Giant Day gecko, which reached at least 40cm. .
At Bristol, 2 species are on display, the tiny Yellow-Headed Day Gecko P.klemmeri and Standing’s Day Gecko P.standingi.

Saturday, 11 April 2015

Lizards 7: Utila Iguana

Currently the second largest species of lizard in the Bristol Zoo collection, the Utila iguana Ctenosaura bakeri is also one of the most threatened, as it is currently classed by the IUCN as Critically Endangered. Part of the reason for this is its microscopically small range – it is confined to around 8 of mangrove swamp on Utila island, off the north coast of Honduras. There are currently 15 recognised species of Ctenosaura, with a natural distribution ranging from Baja California and Mexico south to Colombia, although 2 species have been introduced to Texas and Florida.

Tuesday, 7 April 2015

Cotswold Wildlife Park

White Rhinoceros
Over the Easter weekend I visited Cotswold Wildlife Park, which for readers unfamiliar with it is located not far from Oxford. CWP is famous for its bird collection, but there are some seriously significant mammal species as well. The reptile and amphibian collection has some good species, notably Morelets Crocodile (which they have bred), and Black Mamba. I will probably write about some of the species I saw later this year, but in the meantime here are some of my photos:

Saturday, 4 April 2015

Lizards 6: Round-Nosed Plated Lizard

Gerrhosaurus major
Of the larger lizards in the Bristol Zoo collection, one of the more distinctive is the Round-Nosed Plated Lizard, Gerrhosaurus major. Also called the Sudan Plated Lizard, Western Plated Lizard, Rough-scaled Plated Lizard, and other names as well, it has a large range across most of eastern and southern Africa. 

Saturday, 28 March 2015

Lizards 5: Solomon Islands Skink

Adult Corucia with juvenile
One of the more unusual, as well as larger, lizards on show at Bristol is a family group of the Solomon Islands Skink Corucia zebrata. Unfortunately, members of the public all too often walk by their enclosure as they tend to be secretive and immobile during visiting hours, often inside hollow cork tubes or resting on an overhead beam in their enclosure. This is a loss for the visitors, as they have one of the more complicated social structures and lifestyles of all lizards.