These cold-blooded creatures are often portrayed as devastating predators, thanks to Hollywood of course. Think of the monstrous Anaconda or Godzilla series. And in the midst of these predatory instincts, it is easy to cast a blind eye on the true beauty of these reptilians. So here’s a stunning wildlife image series, to truly appreciate the beauty of these creatures.
1. Yemen Chameleon
Known as the veiled chameleon, these colorful reptiles hail from the Middle East, with Saudi Arabia being the most well known location. The male species can be easily distinguished from the female counterpart. They are bigger and come in varying shades of green and vertical bands on their back. Additionally, the large crest on the head sets the males apart. Females are usually not as vibrantly colored as the opposite sex. These charismatic lizards often change colors to adapt to their surroundings. For instance, they may opt to project a darker shade during colder months to absorb heat. A unique set of characteristic which warrants them a place in this wildlife image series. Alternatively, these color changes is also used to tempt members of the opposite sex to swipe right.
2. Fijian Crested Iguana
This large, stocky lizard was initially discovered Dr John Gibbons while he was on the hunt for the more common Banded iguana. This exotic lizard has three white bands on its back, which are narrower than the features of their close relatives. A further distinction between the two is made when the iguana’s are aroused. The wildlife image series is intrigued at the ability of the crested iguana to change its color from green to black. Commonly found in dry, tropical forests, these reptiles are believed to be endangered. Forests burning was a major contributor to the decline of this beautiful creatures. Thankfully, the island of Yadua Taba has now been recognized as a legally protected area for these intriguing species.
3. Pond Slider Turtle
If you have ever seen a turtle basking under the sun in North America, then you are probably looking at the Red-eared Pond Slider. They can be found in the warm waters of Oklahoma to Texas, and all the way down to the Gulf of Mexico. The top shell of this turtle is either olive or black, with bright yellow stripes. However, the most distinct remains the red band found on the heads of these reptiles. The vivid colors reflect the age of these creatures. As the age increases, the prints fade away. Also, the Red-eared slider does not hide its love for the water. It is almost entirely aquatic, only coming to land for migration purposes or to lay its eggs.
4. Emerald Tree Boa
This gorgeous reptile is commonly found in the depths of South America, especially Peru, Venezuela, Colombia and northwestern Brazil. The Emerald Tree Boa thrives in tropical rain forests and wetlands. Capable of growing up to two meters, these non-venomous snakes resort to constricting their prey. This usually includes lizards, birds and amphibians. Additionally, their slick movements in treetops explains why they are rarely on the ground. Interestingly, the female species is known to grow larger than the males, putting an end to the curiosity on who wears the pants in this slippery relationship.
5. Green Bush Viper
These venomous snakes can be found in western and central Africa. Cameroon’s Takamanda Forest Reserve is in abundance with these species, due to its dense vegetation. Meanwhile, the green-yellow hue of its body enables it to camouflage with its surroundings, but not from the collection of this wildlife image serie. This comes in handy when this nocturnal hunter feeds on rodents and shrews. Furthermore, the keeled scales are the most distinct feature of this viper. The angled scales also gives it a dragon-like feature, especially from the dorsal surface on its head. Hence, do not be surprised if the design of Game Of Thrones’ Drogon was inspired from this fiercely photogenic reptile.
6. Brown Basilisk
For most millennial’s the term basilisk takes you back to the deep chambers of Harry Potter. However, in the real world, these lizards are not exactly a vengeful serpent. And neither do you need to be an heir of Slytherin to summon these beautiful reptiles. Native to South America, this species has also been introduced in Florida, USA. The male basilisks are identified with a crest, which extends from above its shoulders, up to its hind legs. These reptiles are also known for their swift feet, and can sometimes be seen running on water. Therefore, earning it the title of Jesus Christ lizard.
7. Bearded Dragon
From one dragon to another, these lizards are named after the spiked scales on the underside of their throats. When puffed up, these scales resemble a fine but intimidating beard. Thriving in the Australian savanna and deserts, these easy going reptiles make great pets as they are easier to care for. Leatherback and slickback dragons are highly sought after as their mutated gene stunts the growth of the scales. Therefore, giving them a smoother appearance. Contrastingly, the german bearded dragon is substantially larger than its cousin. Although it is nowhere close to being a guardian for your home.
8. Komodo Dragon
Earth’s largest lizards are one of the most fascinating creatures to walk among us. These dominant predators are known for their razor-like claws and teeth, venomous saliva, scaly skin and muscular body. Indonesia’s Komodo National Park remains the best place to live among these magnificent beasts. These endangered species are commonly stereotyped for being monstrous reptiles. Likewise, one of the earliest records of these lizards reads ‘here be dragons’, written on ancient maps. However, an encounter with the extraordinary Komodo lizard might just leave you in awe, as you get up close and personal with what it feels like to live among a real-life dragon.
9. Yacare Caiman
Once widely hunted for their valuable skin, the wildlife image series discovered these bad boys in abundance in Brazil’s Pantanal. Thirty years ago, armed gangs used to invade the habitat during the dry season and ruthlessly shoot large populations of yacare caiman. They were then skinned on the spot and their carcass left to rot. However, the clampdown on illegal poaching and the ideal breeding rainy season has seen the numbers of these beautiful beasts healthy rebounding. Interestingly, the caiman’s smaller size often sees the tables turned as it becomes prey for jaguars and anacondas.
10. Cuban Crocodile
These gorgeous reptiles are one of the most endangered species of crocodiles. Native to Cuba, this medium sized croc has a short head and medium bony ridges behind each eye. Meanwhile, the short toes which lack in webbing, signals that these reptiles spend most of the time on land, compared to other species. The unique black and yellow pattern on their back occasionally sees them being labeled as pearly crocodiles. The interbreeding with their American cousins has resulted in a decline in the numbers of the Cuba’s beloved animal. However, active conservation efforts are already in place to save this exotic reptile.
In a bid to rid the common misconception of reptiles as invasive and predatory creatures, check out our curated likebox, dedicated to appreciate the beauty of these magnificent reptiles. If this week’s wildlife image series has got you hooked, then join us on our next wildlife image series as we dive into the depths of the underwater world and uncover its hidden gems. Additionally, do check out our collection of nature photography for exotic animals.