Inquiries, Requests, and a Place to Spill Your GutsSubmissions I am Ashley. This is my personal blog. If you want just marine biology, go here. I love the world; I really don't like people. I balance all this animosity towards the human race with being an almost always kind and gentle being to all creatures. I'm highly introverted and nature is my primary escape from humanity. Creepy-crawly-slimy things are my favorites. Dinosaurs are fantastic. Future marine biologist; presently an amateur entomologist, ichthyologist, artist, biologist, and writer. Literature, video game, and music connoisseur. I'm so full of passion for the world that it hurts. I think a lot, I laugh a lot, I love a lot. Almost none of the photos are mine and only some of the drawings are mine. Listen in.
I found this shy, magnificent specimen this afternoon when I went out to lay in the sun. I saw him moving from a distance and thought he was a woodchuck due to his size. After I came upon him, he wouldn’t extend his head back out, but seemed amicable enough to allow me to take his picture a few times. I’m pretty sure he was a common snapping turtle (Chelydra serpentina) and a rather large one at that. I assume he was a very slow-moving gentleman because virtually his entire body was covered in one sort of slime or another.
EDIT: I’ve been informed it was probably a lady turtle. Unfortunately, I tend to identify all animals as males unless I know for certain they’re a female, and in this case I was too lazy to keep writing “him/her.”
For some, it is common knowledge that Australia is just crawling with dangerous animals; as it turns out, it’s also slithering with them. The coastal taipan (Oxyuranus scutellatus) is Australia’s most venomous snake, capable of growing up to 3.6 m long. Though it is shy by nature, if disturbed, it can strike with alarming speed. It was historically the case that a taipan bite was a certain death sentence for a human, but with the development of an antivenom, fatalities are much rarer now. The coastal taipan typically feeds on mammals, but is also known to eat birds and lizards.
The blue coral snake (Calliophis bivirgata) is sometimes colloquially referred to as the “100-pace snake” because it is said that a human can make it 100 paces away after sustaining a bite from this animal before they die. However, there are not many recorded cases of human fatalities due to this snake, which hints that the snake gets a worse reputation than it deserves. Its typical prey is other snakes.
Native to eastern and southern Africa, the black mamba (Dendroaspis polylepis) is not only one of the most venomous snakes in the world, but also one of the fastest. Despite the great length of this snake, it is quite agile and can easily climb and slither along branches and within bushes. It makes its den in hollowed trees or in rock crevices and it is an extremely territorial animal. Its venom is fast-acting and a bite from a black mamba can be fatal if not treated immediately after the incident. However, humans are obviously not on the menu for this predator, whose main food sources are birds and small mammals.
The Komodo dragon (Varanus komodoensis) is the world’s heaviest lizard, on average weighing as much as an adult human. When kept in captivity, Komodo dragons can reach double that weight. They can smell a decaying animal from as far as 5 km away (using their tongues to “taste” the air in a fashion similar to snakes), but they more commonly hunt using ambush techniques to take down live prey. These reptiles have a wide array of prey foods, including their own young. For this reason, juveniles spend a lot of their time in trees to avoid being lunch. Though they tend to be solitary animals as adults, groups of Komodo dragons can be found at a single kill. Their saliva is rich in toxic bacteria, which scientists used to believe was used to poison their prey and intensify the bite wounds; however, it has been more recently discovered that Komodo dragons produce a toxin that stuns their prey and keeps its blood from clotting.
Champsosaurus is a genus of gharial-like reptiles that lived as recently as the mid Eocene. Many species of Champsosaurus only grew to about 1.5 m in length, but the largest species reached up to 3.5 m. It is believed to have swam similar to modern-day crocodiles and marine iguanas, hunting in swamps and rivers.
The green tree monitor (Varanus prasinus) is one of the few monitors known to be social by nature. They live in small groups consisting of a dominant male, several females, subordinate males, and their offspring. Its coloration helps to camouflage it against the trees it lives in, and it feeds on anything from small vertebrates to crabs.
The Chinese crocodile lizard (Shinisaurus crocodilurus) is only found in a small area of eastern Asia. These little reptiles can be very difficult to spot due to the fact that they can freeze midstride for hours at a time to escape detection. Because its coloring acts as good camouflage, becoming motionless for periods of time render it almost invisible. It also has an interesting way to survive lower temperatures: it is able to shut down its internal system to conserve energy during particularly cold nights.
Very possibly the cutest thing on four legs, the web-footed gecko (Pachydactylus rangei) is equipped with feet that allow it to swiftly move across desert sands without sinking into them. Due to harsh conditions in the deserts in which the species lives, the web-footed gecko must be creative when it comes to staying hydrated. To get enough water, this species drinks the water that condenses on its skin at night.