Amphibians & Reptiles

American Alligators

American Alligators

The American alligator is the largest reptile native to North America with most individuals ranging from 8 feet to 12 feet in length and weighing up to 1000 pounds. The largest gator on record was reported to be 19.8 ft long but there are many doubts about the accuracy of the measurements.

American alligators are native to the southeastern United States from Texas to Florida and north to Georgia. Found only in bodies of freshwater, American alligators can be found in rivers, lakes, swamps, and marshes.

Listed on Convention on Trade of Endangered Species – Appendix II which monitors the trade of this species In 1967 the American alligator was classified as endangered and by 1973, all hunting came to an end. By the end of the 1980’s populations had recovered greatly and they were reclassified and removed from the endangered species list. Trade and hunting is now controlled through permits and quotas with attempted relocation of nuisance animals.

Poison Dart Frogs

Poison Dart Frogs

There are over 200 species of frogs in the family Dendrobatidae, or poison frogs; they range in size from .5 inches to just over 2 inches. The bright colorations of these small frogs, from reds and yellows to blues and greens, make them easy to recognize. This color pattern will warn predators of the frog’s toxicity; however, not all members of the poison frog family are toxic. Poison frogs are found in the tropical forests of Central and South America, ranging from Costa Rica to Brazil. Excellent climbers and jumpers, poison frogs spend most of their days walking on the forest floor and climbing on tree trunk vegetation. However, some members of this family will be found among the tree tops while others, such as the skunk frog, live in cold water streams of cloud forests.

Although scientists are not sure exactly which food item helps to create the frog’s toxic property, they eat a variety of ants, beetles, and other insects. Poison frogs in aquaria and zoos are not toxic as their diet is different than in the wild. Leimadophis epinephelus, a frog eating snake is the only known predator of the poison frog. Although little is known about the life span of these amphibians in the wild, in a captive environment, poison frogs can live up to 15 years.

Bearded Dragon

Bearded Dragon

Bearded dragons can be 13 to 24 inches from head to tail. Their blunt arrow shaped head with scales along the sides of the head and body modified into spiny points. Colors range from tan to orange, red, gold, and even a greygreen depending upon region’s soil coloration. Males have a darker beard than females as well as larger heads.  They can be found in a wide range throughout eastern and southeastern Australia (New South Wales, Queensland, South Australia, and Victoria)

Occupies a large range of habitats from the desert to dry forests and scrublands. Bearded dragons are omnivores.  They eat plant matter, insects, spiders, and occasionally small rodents or lizards They are known to live for about 10 years. They reach reproductive age at one to two years of age. Females can lay over 20 eggs in shallow nests dug into the soil. When the eggs hatch, juveniles may weigh just 2.1 grams and be three to four inches in length.