Marmot Watch - Himalayan Marmot (Marmota himalayana)
Photograph by Sebastian Wahlhuetter, National Geo
"This photo was taken during a 100-kilometer [62-mile] trekking trip in Ladakh, India, at an altitude of 4,500 meters [14,763 feet],” writes Your Shot member Sebastian Wahlhuetter.
 “I was at Lake Tso Kar, one of the highest saltwater lakes on Earth. I [had been] watching the marmots for a couple of days, and I was wondering if I might be able to get a close-up shot from a very short distance, covering not only the animal but also the stunning environment these creatures were living in. It took me one desperate evening and a very successful morning for the final outcome. With literally hundreds of holes it was quite a task of observation to figure out where these animals would eventually appear next.”
(via: National Geographic)

Marmot Watch - Himalayan Marmot (Marmota himalayana)

Photograph by Sebastian Wahlhuetter, National Geo

"This photo was taken during a 100-kilometer [62-mile] trekking trip in Ladakh, India, at an altitude of 4,500 meters [14,763 feet],” writes Your Shot member Sebastian Wahlhuetter.

“I was at Lake Tso Kar, one of the highest saltwater lakes on Earth. I [had been] watching the marmots for a couple of days, and I was wondering if I might be able to get a close-up shot from a very short distance, covering not only the animal but also the stunning environment these creatures were living in. It took me one desperate evening and a very successful morning for the final outcome. With literally hundreds of holes it was quite a task of observation to figure out where these animals would eventually appear next.”

(via: National Geographic)

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Rhacophorus lateralis: a species with an inusual nesting behavior
 Rhacophorus lateralis (Rhacophoridae) is a very rare frog endemic to India. Two color morphs of the species have been observed, one morph with a dominantly green dorsum (was shown in the photo), and the other with  brown dorsum with a mixture of varying shades of green.
It is an arboreal frog with a specialized nest building behavior, unique among Rhacophorus species. A purse-like nest is made over water by folding a single leaf around the egg mass (embryos and translucent foam) by the female alone after oviposition. The function of this parental investment is to prevent desiccation of eggs in open sunlight. 
In 204, the IUCN assessed this species as Endangered and considered its range to be restricted to two small areas of Wyanad and Coorg in southern Western Ghats of India. However, in 2009 this species was reported also from Shanthi Estate, Coorg; and, in 2010 from the surroundings of Bhadra Tiger Reserve and Kudremukh National Park.
References: [1] - [2] - [3] - [4]
Photo credit: ©Vipin Baliga
Locality: Virajpet, Karnataka, Western Ghats, India.

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Rhacophorus lateralis: a species with an inusual nesting behavior

Rhacophorus lateralis (Rhacophoridae) is a very rare frog endemic to India. Two color morphs of the species have been observed, one morph with a dominantly green dorsum (was shown in the photo), and the other with  brown dorsum with a mixture of varying shades of green.

It is an arboreal frog with a specialized nest building behavior, unique among Rhacophorus species. A purse-like nest is made over water by folding a single leaf around the egg mass (embryos and translucent foam) by the female alone after oviposition. The function of this parental investment is to prevent desiccation of eggs in open sunlight. 

In 204, the IUCN assessed this species as Endangered and considered its range to be restricted to two small areas of Wyanad and Coorg in southern Western Ghats of India. However, in 2009 this species was reported also from Shanthi Estate, Coorg; and, in 2010 from the surroundings of Bhadra Tiger Reserve and Kudremukh National Park.

References: [1] - [2] - [3] - [4]

Photo credit: ©Vipin Baliga

Locality: Virajpet, Karnataka, Western Ghats, India.

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Kollegal Ground Gecko  (Forest Spotted Gecko)

Geckoella collegalensis (Gekkonidae) is a species of gecko reported from India and Sri Lanka.

The Kollegal ground gecko was described in 1870 by a British Colonel R.H. Beddome based on one gecko from the foothills of Biligiriranga Hills (BR Hills), near Yelandur, Karnataka. 

This gecko had been considered a rare species. These photos were taken in a survey conducted in 2013 by Ishan Agarwal, and could be the one of the first live Geckoella collegalensis observed by a scientist after over 143 years.

References: [1] - [2]

Photo credit: ©Ishan Agarwal | [Top][Bottom]

Locality: Male Mahadeshwara Hills, Kollegal, Chamarajanagar, Karnataka, India

The Olive Ridley Sea Turtle (Lepidochelys olivacea)
… is considered the most abundant sea turtle in the world, with an estimated 800,000 nesting females annually. On Rushikulya Beach in India, an estimated 200,000 turtles nested during a single “arribada ” (mass nesting period). Arribada’s are mass nesting events when females nest in the same place, at the same time. Only ridley species, olive and Kemp’s, nest in this way. (Learn more: NOAA Fisheries)

The Olive Ridley Sea Turtle (Lepidochelys olivacea)

… is considered the most abundant sea turtle in the world, with an estimated 800,000 nesting females annually. On Rushikulya Beach in India, an estimated 200,000 turtles nested during a single “arribada ” (mass nesting period). Arribada’s are mass nesting events when females nest in the same place, at the same time. Only ridley species, olive and Kemp’s, nest in this way.

(Learn more: NOAA Fisheries)

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Southern Flying Lizard
Draco dussumieri (Agamidae), commonly known as Southern Flying Lizard, is a master of camouflage. It is a diurnal and arboreal lizard which usually does not leave the tree tops except for egg-laying.
There are only two instances when this lizard gives itself away. The first is when it opens up its patagium (the large membrane of skin on each side of the body, that is supported by ribs), which is bright yellow in color. The other is when the male erects a long lemon yellow appendage from below his throat to get the attention of the female.
The Southern Flying Lizard does not actually fly, but certainly it is an accomplished glider being able to glide to a distance of 30m.
Draco dussumieri is endemic to the Western and Eastern Ghats of India. 
References: [1] - [2]
Photo credit: ©Rajesh Shah
Locality: Dandeli, Karnataka, India

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Southern Flying Lizard

Draco dussumieri (Agamidae), commonly known as Southern Flying Lizard, is a master of camouflage. It is a diurnal and arboreal lizard which usually does not leave the tree tops except for egg-laying.

There are only two instances when this lizard gives itself away. The first is when it opens up its patagium (the large membrane of skin on each side of the body, that is supported by ribs), which is bright yellow in color. The other is when the male erects a long lemon yellow appendage from below his throat to get the attention of the female.

The Southern Flying Lizard does not actually fly, but certainly it is an accomplished glider being able to glide to a distance of 30m.

Draco dussumieri is endemic to the Western and Eastern Ghats of India. 

References: [1] - [2]

Photo credit: ©Rajesh Shah

Locality: Dandeli, Karnataka, India

reptilefacts

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Boulenger’s Indian Gecko - Geckoella albofasciatus

Geckoella albofasciatus (Gekknoidae) is a species of gecko endemic to the Western Ghats of Maharashtra, Goa and Karnataka, in India. 

According to the IUCN assessment, this species has often been confused with G. deccanensis and has only recently been resurrected from its synonymy by Bauer and Giri (2004).  Species of Geckoella are sometimes allocated to the genus Cyrtodactylus.  Molecular phylogenetic data reveal that Geckoella is embedded within Cyrtodactylus, but formal taxonomic action is pending.

G. albofasciatus is characterized by having heterogeneous, conical dorsal scales and juveniles posses a series of white dorsal trunk bands and a single, yellow nape band.

Geckoella geckos are mostly nocturnal, forest dwelling, insectivoresthat  are uncommonly encountered due to their secretive habits. 

References: [1] - [2]

Photo credit: ©Thejasvi M. [Top] - [Bottom]

Locality; Karnataka, Western Ghats, India.

12 Playful Dhole Pups at Howletts Wild Animal Park, UK

Dholes, also known as Asiatic Wild Dogs, typically have litters of four to ten pups.  “To have a litter of 12 healthy and active pups is quite unusual,” said Ben Warren, head of the park’s Carnivore Section.  “The pups are getting really confident now and love playing around and annoying the adults, they’re really entertaining to watch.”

Dholes typically live in large packs.  Once weaned, the pups are cared for and fed by the entire pack. Packs work together to take down large deer, wild boar, and cattle.  Unlike other pack hunters, like wolves, who allow the dominant adults to feed first at a kill, Dholes give priority to pups.  Nursing females and their young are fed regurgitated food by other members of the pack. ..

(read more: ZooBorns)

Russell’s Viper (Daboia russelli)
The Russell’s viper is responsible for many of the deaths that occur from snake bite around the world. This is from a number of factors including it’s wide distribution, it’s ability to live in many habitats, it’s often close proximity to human habitation and agricultural fields, and the large amount of venom it often injects.  But did you know that the effects of the venom can send also send people back into puberty? The venom can effect the pituitary gland, causing it to cease making the hormones that we need as adults. According to a study published in The Lancet, about twenty-nine percent of patients who recovered from a Russell’s Viper envenomation had signs of hypopituitarism or Sheehan’s Syndrome.  Bite victims lose their sex drive, lose fertility and lose their body hair, particularly around the genitals. Hormones can be administered by doctor’s to counteract these symptoms, but treatment is expensive and must continue throughout the patients life.photograph by Subhojit Chakrabarty, West Bengal, India
(via: Project Noah)

Russell’s Viper (Daboia russelli)

The Russell’s viper is responsible for many of the deaths that occur from snake bite around the world. This is from a number of factors including it’s wide distribution, it’s ability to live in many habitats, it’s often close proximity to human habitation and agricultural fields, and the large amount of venom it often injects.

But did you know that the effects of the venom can send also send people back into puberty? The venom can effect the pituitary gland, causing it to cease making the hormones that we need as adults. According to a study published in The Lancet, about twenty-nine percent of patients who recovered from a Russell’s Viper envenomation had signs of hypopituitarism or Sheehan’s Syndrome.

Bite victims lose their sex drive, lose fertility and lose their body hair, particularly around the genitals. Hormones can be administered by doctor’s to counteract these symptoms, but treatment is expensive and must continue throughout the patients life.

photograph by Subhojit Chakrabarty, West Bengal, India

(via: Project Noah)

River Terrapins Making a Comeback in Asia

Rick Hudson, President of the Turtle Survival Alliance (TSA) updated SOS with a quick review of nesting successes from Bangladesh for several river terrapin species in the Batagur genus including Batagur baska. Multi-coloured and charming in their own right, the future is looking brighter for Batagur baska and relatives.  

Today is World Turtle Day, May 23rd when turtle lovers everywhere will gush over stunning pictures of marine turtles sharing them on social media platforms and supporting these most charismatic of reptiles. But spare a thought for lesser known, similarly threatened turtles such as those river terrapins of Asia of the genus Batagur which are making a comeback thanks to the efforts of  TSA; an SOS Grantee and IUCN Member. 

Throughout Asia nesting season has just finished for river terrapins of the genus Batagur, where five of the six known species struggle to survive. All species have been reduced to remnants of their former numbers, and intensive recovery programmes are now necessary to ensure their survival. And in Bangladesh, one of the world’s rarest turtles, the Sundarbans river terrapin (Batagur baska), is having another good year. At facilities in both India and Bangladesh, thanks to a successful bi-national conservation programme, rapidly growing captive populations are strong indications that this rare turtle may well be on the road to recovery…

(read more: SaveOurSpecies)

Newly Discovered Frog Mates Doing Handstands, Makes Pottery
by James Owen
A new species of frog with some bizarre mating rituals has been discovered in India, a new study says.
Found in swampy forests of the Western Ghats (map), the Kumbara night frog (Nyctibatrachus kumbara) mates while doing a handstand and then daubs its eggs with mud to protect them—the world’s only known frog species known to do so.
Hence the new frog’s name: Kumbara means “potter” in the language of the Uttara Kannada region of western India where the species lives, according to the research, published May 16 in the journal Zootaxa…
(read more/see video: National Geographic)
Photo by Kotambylu Vasudeva Gururaja

Newly Discovered Frog Mates Doing Handstands, Makes Pottery

by James Owen

A new species of frog with some bizarre mating rituals has been discovered in India, a new study says.

Found in swampy forests of the Western Ghats (map), the Kumbara night frog (Nyctibatrachus kumbara) mates while doing a handstand and then daubs its eggs with mud to protect them—the world’s only known frog species known to do so.

Hence the new frog’s name: Kumbara means “potter” in the language of the Uttara Kannada region of western India where the species lives, according to the research, published May 16 in the journal Zootaxa

(read more/see video: National Geographic)

Photo by Kotambylu Vasudeva Gururaja

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Thai/Eastern Cat Snake | ©Diganta Gogoi  (Assam, India)
Boiga siamensis (Colubridae), commonly named Gray Cat Snake or Eastern Cat Snake, is a rear-fanged, Asian snake, found in Malaysia, Thailand, Cambodia, Vietnam, Myanmar, Bangladesh, and India [1]. 
Boiga cyanea is mainly found in the flat lands. They live in bushes and trees in woods and plantations. These snakes are nocturnal. Young animals are orange/red in color, and changes into brown and then green after approx. ½ year [2]. 

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Thai/Eastern Cat Snake | ©Diganta Gogoi  (Assam, India)

Boiga siamensis (Colubridae), commonly named Gray Cat Snake or Eastern Cat Snake, is a rear-fanged, Asian snake, found in Malaysia, Thailand, Cambodia, Vietnam, Myanmar, Bangladesh, and India [1]. 

Boiga cyanea is mainly found in the flat lands. They live in bushes and trees in woods and plantations. These snakes are nocturnal. Young animals are orange/red in color, and changes into brown and then green after approx. ½ year [2]. 

Scientists Release Odd Looking Critically Endangered Crocodilans Back Into the Wild

by Shreya Dasgupta

Among the largest and most endangered crocodilians in the world, the gharial (Gavialis gangeticus) is on the verge of extinction today. This harmless fish-eating crocodile has fewer than 200 adult breeding individuals in the wild, their numbers having plummeted rapidly over the past few decades due to destruction of their riverine habitats, entanglement in fishing nets, and hunting.

But among this gloom and doom, conservationists have been working tirelessly to reinstate the wild populations.  In one such attempt in April this year, a team from the Wildlife Trust of India (WTI) and Bihar Forest Department released six satellite-tagged gharials into a stretch of Gandak River (a tributary of the Ganges) lying between Valmiki Tiger Reserve and Sohagi Barwa Wildlife Sanctuary. The six individuals included five adult females and one male, bred in captivity at the Sanjay Gandhi Biological Park in Patna (or Patna Zoo). ..

(read more: MongaBay)

photographs by Samir Kumar Sinha/WTI