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Other Reptiles

Boa Constrictor (Boa constrictor imperator)

Boa constrictors wear some of the most distinctive markings of all reptiles. Depending on the habitat they are trying to blend into, their bodies can be tan, green, red, or yellow, and display cryptic patterns of jagged lines, ovals, diamonds, and circles. Boas are nonpoisonous constrictors found in tropical Central and South America. They are excellent swimmers, but prefer to stay on dry land, living in hollow logs and abandoned mammal burrows. Their jaws are lined with small, hooked teeth for grabbing and holding prey while they wrap their muscular bodies around their victim, squeezing until it suffocates. Boas will eat almost anything they can catch, including birds, monkeys, and wild pigs. Female boas incubate eggs inside their bodies and give birth up to 60 live babies.

Boa Constrictor Fun Facts

  • Boas are considered primitive snakes, differing from other species by having two vestigial hind limbs.
  • These vestigial limbs appear as spurs on either side of the cloaca.
  • Like all snakes, boas are excellent swimmers, but they usually avoid going into the water as much as possible.
  • Boas have special heat-sensing pits on their faces that allow them to detect the body heat of their prey.
  • Boas are nocturnal hunters - they rely on heat-sensing abilities to hunt in the dark.
  • The Boa Constrictor is often kept as an exotic pet.
  • Boa Constrictors have a life expectancy of approximately 20 - 30 years in captivity.
  • The longest recorded Boa Constrictor measured 18 feet long.

Iguanas (Iguana Iguana)

Green, or common, iguanas are among the largest lizards in the Americas, averaging around 6.5 feet long and weighing about 11 pounds. They are also among the most popular reptile pets in the United States, despite being quite difficult to care for properly. In fact, most captive iguanas die within the first year, and many are either turned loose by their owners or given to reptile rescue groups. The green iguana’s extensive range comprises the rain forests of northern Mexico, Central America, the Caribbean Islands, and southern Brazil. They spend most of their lives in the canopy, descending only infrequently to mate, lay eggs, or change trees. Primarily herbivores, iguanas are active during the day, feeding on leaves, flowers, and fruit. Their appearance, behavior, and endangered status vary from species to species.

Iguana Fun Facts

  • Iguanas can stay under water for 28 minutes.
  • Iguanas can drop 40 feet from a tree onto solid ground without getting hurt.
  • Airplanes in America collide with an average of one iguana every two years on runways.
  • Mother never meets baby: iguana mothers lay the eggs underground and leave them.
  • Babies hatch, dig themselves out, and are on their own to survive.
  • If an iguana’s tail is cut off, they can grow another one.
  • Because of their tail’s weak vertebrae, often iguanas break their tail to escape after getting caught.
  • The tail makes up at least half the body length of an iguana.
  • Average life span in the wild is 20 years; it is much shorter in captivity since many owners do not have the appropriate knowledge to take care of iguanas.

Tortoise (Geochelone elephantopus)

Tortoise is the name given to the land-dwelling reptiles most of whose body is shielded by a special shell. Turtles and terrapins are the marine species. Tortoises have both an endoskeleton and an exoskeleton. All Tortoises have a protective shell around their bodies. The top part of their case is called the carapace, the underside is the plastron, and the two are connected by the bridge. The size of tortoises can vary from a few centimetres to up to two meters. Tortoises generally live a long time, some individuals being known to have lived longer than 150 years.

Tortoise Fun Facts

  • The shell of a tortoises is prepared from 60 different bones that are all connected to each other.
  • The top part of the shell is called the carapace and the underside is called the plastron.
  • Tortoises retract their limbs into their shell to protect themselves from predators.
  • They have strong horny mouths and no teeth. Tortoises do not have flippers and live entirely above water.
  • They have good eyesight and excellent sense of smell.
  • Tortoises are cold-blooded and generally diurnal. They draw heat from the environment to get warm
  • They have the same lifespan as humans and some tortoises can live from 90 to 150 years.
  • Tortoises are herbivores and eat mainly grass, ferns, fruits, flowers and tree leaves.
  • The female is generally larger than the male in most of the species.
  • The tails of the male tortoises are longer than that of the female tortoises.
  • Tortoises hibernate during winter months and go through a period of starvation to empty their stomachs before hibernating.

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