If I didn’t have photographic proof, would you ever have believed that I found a lizard with blue spots? Well this Aruban Whiptail lizard with a ‘too cool for school’ facial expression is real and comes in differing degrees of blue. Many species of whiptails reproduce asexually by parthenogenesis, meaning the females eggs undergo chromosomal doubling without being fertilized and produce babies with the genetic make up (clones) of the mother. Because of this reproductive quirk, many species of whiptail lizards are all females. Goodbye males and genetic diversity and hello to a world where females rule all. See ladies, it can happen!
This little anole is a type of lizard native to the Bahamas and Cuba. However, it is easily spotted on many other Caribbean Islands. It is a highly invasive species and easily outcompetes other small lizards and frogs because it will eat anything that can fit into its mouth. Like other lizards, they will communicate through mostly visual displays. When angry or threatened they expand the flap of skin on their throat to display an orange and yellow warning and perform some push ups. If the threat continues, they will bite, urinate and defecate, but also have the ability to detach their tail as a moving decoy to facilitate their escape from a predator. These traits are what makes this little lizard a very skilled survivor.
I’m sure I’ve said in the past that all reptiles are beautiful, but I think this Iguana might just be the exception. I think he might have even been the inspiration for Gremlins (and not the cute furry one). He seemed like the king of this particular paddock, so it seems that looks don’t matter in the Iguana world and size definitely does!
For more Iguana’s that are easier on the eyes click here.
This relaxed goanna was photographed in Western Australia, warming up on the sand in the morning sun at the entrance to a gorgeous beach. In Australia we have 25 of the 30 known goanna species. This one would have been about a meter and a half long (about 5 feet). Considering that some goanna species such as Varanus giganteus can grow over 2.5 meters (8.2 feet) long, this one is only medium sized. Even still, goannas can be one of Australia’s more intimidating lizards. I remember once walking along a narrow bush track and in front of me was a large goanna, slowly lumbering in the same direction that I wanted to go. I was not bold enough to overtake him on such a narrow path, nor spook him into hurrying up, so I had to patiently follow until he decided to eventually get off the track and let me pass. These huge lizards can give a very nasty bite which often bleeds profusely. The bleeding was thought to be caused by bacterial infection transferred from their teeth upon biting, but recent research suggests that they may in fact have oral venom-producing glands. If true, this would add another venomous animal to Australia’s huge list of venomous creatures… as if we needed any more!
Whilst on vacation in Costa Rica, one of our destinations was the Tabacon Grand Spa located in La Fortuna De San Carlos which is right in the center of a rainforest at the base of the Arenal Volcano. This resort is famous for naturally heated, black volcanic pools of crystal clear water. A heaven on earth for anyone that loves relaxing baths, and luscious tropical gardens. However, as I am not a person who finds sweating in warm water relaxing, I instead was delighted to see that many reptiles obviously loved the humidity and warmth that these thermal hot springs had to offer. The stunning juvenile lizard in this photo was experiencing quite a relaxing day at the spa, until I arrived with my camera. So instead of relaxed, he looks incredibly annoyed at me for ruining his day by taking some photos. Those glaring yellow eyes and pursed lips make me smile every time I look at him, what a cutie!
For those of you who are also reptile lovers, please click here to visit my other scaly posts.
This beautifully intimate photograph was taken on a walk through El Yunque National Forest in Puerto Rico, the only tropical rainforest in the United States National Forest System. This moment was a particularly special one for me, as it was the first (and only) time I have seen lizards mating (and I have seen my fair share of lizards!). I was more careful not to disrupt their mating than I was about the photo, as the last thing I wanted was for these little beauties to miss the chance at making more gorgeous lizards. The actual walk that I was on was to see a waterfall. However, because I spent so much time photographing the lizards along the way, I never actually made it to the waterfall, as I would have missed my flight (but I saw so many lizards along the way, that I wasn’t even a little disappointed!).
This stunningly beautiful reptile finds its home in a resort in Aruba, a beautiful island in the Caribbean. Actually I was surprised and delighted to find that many iguanas use the resort pool, and surrounding display rocks for their own personal sunning spots. Even more relaxed than the tourists on vacation, these iguanas are so accustomed to having people around them, that they were most obliging to model for some close up portrait photos.
I believe that what I have photographed here is a green basilisk lizard, commonly found on the Atlantic side of Costa Rica. The adult males have three crests, one on the head, back and tail (which makes them look like a mini dinosaur). Adult females only have one on the head, and juveniles don’t have any. Despite growing quite large (up to 3 feet long head to tail), they are a skittish lizard, but this particular green beauty was quite comfortable hiding deep in the protection of these tree roots. Unfortunately for me, it made for some pretty uncomfortable and awkward photography half sitting/lying in some bushes and rocks on the edge of a steamy hot spring in my bikini. I think some of the other tourists thought I was a mad person photographing tree roots! Anyway, these lizards are also called Jesus Christ lizards for their ability to run across water, usually when spooked by a predator. Knowing that this is their best method of escape, they are often found in trees along the edges of a body of water. They are also great swimmers and can reportedly spend up to 30 minutes underwater. Click here for a very cool slow motion video by National Geographic of the Jesus Christ lizard running across water. Enjoy!
This iguana is a resident of Washington Slagbaai National Park in Bonaire. A small island in the Caribbean, it is one of the less travelled destinations in this area. The turquoise colored water of its beaches can provide stunning backdrops for any photograph. This particular iguana was incredibly unafraid, and wanted to climb into my lap to eat the avocado I was spreading on my sandwich. I have photographed many iguanas while on vacation, as they are remarkably individual with unique patterns and coloring of their scales. A truly beautiful creature, even if, regardless of how happy and relaxed they are, they always look grumpy.