cool-critters

cool-critters:

Fire skink (Lepidothyris fernandi)

The fire skink is a fairly large skink, a type of lizard. They are a beautiful species known for their bright and vivid coloration. Native to tropical forests in Western Africa, they live fifteen to twenty years. This species is a diurnal lizard that love to burrow and hide. This animal is a carnivore, feeding on crickets, ants, moths and other small arthropods.

photo credits: wiki, sareptiles

Rescued Gator Kittens at Brazos Bend State Park, TX

On September 3rd park staff hatched 29 alligators from a nest of 33. The rest of the eggs had no embryos. The eggs were collected from a nest near Hale Lake that was in jeopardy of being abandoned. The water level is receding rapidly making it difficult for the mother to stay nearby and guard the nest.

Staff will give them a few meals of earthworms and then most of them will be released back into the park. They are capable of finding food and feeding themselves just as they would normally. They already have the instinct and teeth to get the job done. All the mother provides is protection. A small amount will be kept in the Nature Center aquarium, replacing the ones we’ve already had for one year.

The one-year-olds will be released with the new hatchlings. If possible, we will offer them to any mother gator who has no problem adopting them into her brood. These alligators are kept as teaching tools and not pets. It is illegal to posses an alligator of any size without proper permits.

(via: Brazos Bend State Park - TPWD)

TSA Tuesday: Loggerhead Musk Turtle 
 This week the spotlight is on the Loggerhead Musk Turtle (Sternotherus minor minor) which can be found in Central Florida, Georgia and Eastern Alabama. This shy species is highly aquatic, rarely leaving the water except to nest or occasionally bask on the knee of a cypress tree. They commonly inhabit clear limestone springs, rivers and streams. Their varied diet consists of aquatic insects, crayfish, plants, carrion, snails and mussels. 
* A juvenile is pictured.
(via: Turtle Survival Alliance)

TSA Tuesday: Loggerhead Musk Turtle

This week the spotlight is on the Loggerhead Musk Turtle (Sternotherus minor minor) which can be found in Central Florida, Georgia and Eastern Alabama. This shy species is highly aquatic, rarely leaving the water except to nest or occasionally bask on the knee of a cypress tree. They commonly inhabit clear limestone springs, rivers and streams. Their varied diet consists of aquatic insects, crayfish, plants, carrion, snails and mussels.

* A juvenile is pictured.

(via: Turtle Survival Alliance)

palaeopedia
palaeopedia:

The terrible crocodile, Deinosuchus (1909)
Phylum : ChordataClass : ReptiliaSuperorder : CrocodylomorphaOrder : CrocodiliaSuperfamily : AlligatoroideaGenus : DeinosuchusSpecies : D. rugosus
Late Cretaceous (80 - 73 Ma)
10 m long and 10 000 kg (size)
Bladen county, USA (map)
The “deino” in Deinosuchus derives from the same root as the “dino” in dinosaur, connoting “fearsome” or “terrible.” In this case, the description is apt: Deinosuchus was one of the largest prehistoric crocodiles that ever lived, attaining lengths of about 33 feet and weights in the neighborhood of 5 to 10 tons. In fact, this late Cretaceous reptile was once thought to be the largest crocodile that ever lived, until the discovery of the truly monstrous Sarcosuchus put it firmly in second place.
(Ancient crocodiles were constantly growing—in the case of Deinosuchus, at the rate of about one foot per year—so it’s hard to know exactly how long the longest-lived specimens were.)
Amazingly, the preserved fossils of two North American tyrannosaurs—Appalachiosaurus and Albertosaurus—bear evidence of Deinosuchus bite marks. It’s not clear if these individuals succumbed to the attacks, or went on to scavenge for another day, but you have to admit that a 30-foot long crocodile lunging at a 30-foot long tyrannosaur makes for a compelling picture!
Other than its enormous proportions, Deinosuchus was remarkably similar to modern crocodiles—an indication of how little the crocodilian line of evolution has changed over the past 100 million years. Of course, this raises the question of why crocodiles managed to make it past the KI/T Extinction Event 65 million years ago, while their dinosaur, pterosaur, and marine reptiles cousins all went kaput—a question that’s explored in-depth in this article…
Why Did Crocodiles Survive the K/T Extinction?

palaeopedia:

The terrible crocodile, Deinosuchus (1909)

Phylum : ChordataClass : Reptilia
Superorder : Crocodylomorpha
Order : Crocodilia
Superfamily : Alligatoroidea
Genus : Deinosuchus
Species : D. rugosus

  • Late Cretaceous (80 - 73 Ma)
  • 10 m long and 10 000 kg (size)
  • Bladen county, USA (map)

The “deino” in Deinosuchus derives from the same root as the “dino” in dinosaur, connoting “fearsome” or “terrible.” In this case, the description is apt: Deinosuchus was one of the largest prehistoric crocodiles that ever lived, attaining lengths of about 33 feet and weights in the neighborhood of 5 to 10 tons. In fact, this late Cretaceous reptile was once thought to be the largest crocodile that ever lived, until the discovery of the truly monstrous Sarcosuchus put it firmly in second place.

(Ancient crocodiles were constantly growing—in the case of Deinosuchus, at the rate of about one foot per year—so it’s hard to know exactly how long the longest-lived specimens were.)

Amazingly, the preserved fossils of two North American tyrannosaurs—Appalachiosaurus and Albertosaurus—bear evidence of Deinosuchus bite marks. It’s not clear if these individuals succumbed to the attacks, or went on to scavenge for another day, but you have to admit that a 30-foot long crocodile lunging at a 30-foot long tyrannosaur makes for a compelling picture!

Other than its enormous proportions, Deinosuchus was remarkably similar to modern crocodiles—an indication of how little the crocodilian line of evolution has changed over the past 100 million years. Of course, this raises the question of why crocodiles managed to make it past the KI/T Extinction Event 65 million years ago, while their dinosaur, pterosaur, and marine reptiles cousins all went kaput—a question that’s explored in-depth in this article…

Why Did Crocodiles Survive the K/T Extinction?

Forest Hinge-back Tortoise (Kinixys erosa) will have none of your nonsense. The Turtle Conservancy has studied and bred this rare species in captivity, but the most important conservation work happens in the wild. It is not well understood how well this rarely seen turtle is surviving in changing wetland habitats in central and Western Africa.
(via: Turtle Conservancy & Behler Chelonian Center)

Forest Hinge-back Tortoise (Kinixys erosa) will have none of your nonsense. The Turtle Conservancy has studied and bred this rare species in captivity, but the most important conservation work happens in the wild. It is not well understood how well this rarely seen turtle is surviving in changing wetland habitats in central and Western Africa.

(via: Turtle Conservancy & Behler Chelonian Center)

Head Start For Troubled Turtles:

Baby Blanding’s Turtles raised at Detroit Zoo released in Saginaw County national wildlife refuge

by Lindsay Knake

In an effort to increase the number of rare Blanding’s turtles in Michigan, the Shiawassee National Wildlife Refuge partnered with the Detroit Zoo five years ago. In that time, they have raised and released 147 Blanding’s turtles into the refuge’s waters.

"If it weren’t for the Detroit Zoo, this wouldn’t be happening," refuge manager, Steve Kahl said. "Who knows how long it’s been since we’ve had 147 new Blanding’s turtles in the refuge?"

Blanding’s turtles are threatened in Michigan and endangered in some states because of the loss of wetland habitat, increase in roads and the rise of the raccoon population that eats the turtles’ eggs, Kahl said…

(read more: Michigan Live)

photos: Tina Shaw/USFWS and Jeff Schrier

Marineland’s Whitney Lab holds sea turtle hospital ‘groundbreaking’ Saturday

by Dinah Voyles Pulver

The University of Florida’s Whitney Laboratory for Marine Bioscience hopes to open a new hospital for rehabilitating sea turtles early next year and is inviting the public to a groundbreaking Saturday morning.

The laboratory has worked for more than a year to get the hospital started at Marineland, said Jessica Long, director of development for the lab. Scientists at the center also plan to conduct research on sea turtle diseases, such as the fibropapillomatosis tumors that plague many sea turtles. The laboratory will renovate existing facilities to make way for the sea turtle center…

(read more: Daytona beach News-Journal)

SCIENCE FRIDAY:  
Supermassive Dinosaur Would Have ‘Feared Nothing’
Researchers uncovered the fossilized bones of a dinosaur called Dreadnoughtus schrani, which had a 30-foot-long tail and weighed an estimated 65 tons. Paleontologist Kenneth Lacovara discusses the diverse group of Titanosaurs—which might have been the largest land creatures to roam the earth—and examines how this particular dino could have moved around the landscape.
(LISTEN HERE)

SCIENCE FRIDAY: 

Supermassive Dinosaur Would Have ‘Feared Nothing’

Researchers uncovered the fossilized bones of a dinosaur called Dreadnoughtus schrani, which had a 30-foot-long tail and weighed an estimated 65 tons. Paleontologist Kenneth Lacovara discusses the diverse group of Titanosaurs—which might have been the largest land creatures to roam the earth—and examines how this particular dino could have moved around the landscape.

(LISTEN HERE)

Newly Discovered “Dreadnought” Dinosaur Most Complete Specimen of a Giant

The 60-metric-ton herbivore may tell future researchers more about how gargantuan sauropods lived and evolved

by Francie Diep

Sometime after he calculated the size of a specimen from a new supermassive dinosaur species he discovered in 2005, paleontologist Ken Lacovara nabbed one of his son’s plastic dino toys and stood on the sidewalk outside of his house in New Jersey.

He held the plastic sauropod up to his eye, trying to make a mental calculation of how an actual Dreadnoughtus schrani would have looked, standing next to the house. He decided that with its head stretched out across the driveway, the tail of the 25-meter-long Dreadnoughtus would have reached well into the backyard.

The genus name comes from the discovery team’s feeling that something this big would have, well, dread naught. “Sometimes herbivores don’t get their due as being really tough, badass animals,” Lacovara says. “At 65 tons in life, Dreadnoughtus wouldn’t be afraid of anything.” It is more than seven times as massive as a Tyrannosaurus rex. Its name is also a nod to the world’s first steel battleships, called dreadnoughts.

The fossil, found in Argentina, announced in Scientific Reports, will represent one of the largest animals ever to walk on Earth. It is also the most complete fossil of a supermassive dinosaur ever found…

(read more: Scientific American)

illustration: Jennifer Hall, graphics: Lacovara Lab/Drexel Univ.

libutron
libutron:

Oman Ghost Gecko - Hemidactylus lemurinus
Commonly known as Oman Ghost Gecko, Hemidactylus lemurinus (Gekkonidae) is a species of gecko only found in southern Yemen and Oman. This species seems to be strictly nocturnal and is only found on very large water-smoothed white marble bounders in the bottom of wadis. They are very adept at climbing in this slippery habitat.
The specific name lemurinus comes from the Latin “lemures”, the ghosts or spectres.
References: [1] - [2]
Photo credit: ©Drew Gardner | Locality: Dhofar, Oman (2009)

libutron:

Oman Ghost Gecko - Hemidactylus lemurinus

Commonly known as Oman Ghost Gecko, Hemidactylus lemurinus (Gekkonidae) is a species of gecko only found in southern Yemen and Oman. This species seems to be strictly nocturnal and is only found on very large water-smoothed white marble bounders in the bottom of wadis. They are very adept at climbing in this slippery habitat.

The specific name lemurinus comes from the Latin “lemures”, the ghosts or spectres.

References: [1] - [2]

Photo credit: ©Drew Gardner | Locality: Dhofar, Oman (2009)