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Cuban Crocodile
Cuban Crocodiles. Photo by Surz

Back in the 1970’s, Cuba’s Dictator, Fidel Castro, sent a unique gift to the Russian astronaut, Vladimir Shatalov, as a token of friendship and appreciation. What was that special gift? Simply two Cuban Crocodiles named Hillary and Castro, born in 1974.

However, Shatalov’s wife didn’t really like the idea of sharing a small apartment with two frightening Cuban crocodiles, which can grow up to 11 feet (3.5 m). Shatalov logically couldn’t keep the “pets”, so he gave them to the zoo in Moscow. Surprisingly, even the Moscow zoo didn’t possess the necessary infrastructure to keep and maintain the Cuban Crocodile pair, so in 1981 Hillary and Castro were transferred to Stockholm’s Skansen zoo. They’ve been living there ever since. But who are these Cuban Crocodiles? Take a look…

Cuban Crocodile Facts

The Cuban crocodile (known as Crocodylus rhombifer) is a rather small but extremely aggressive crocodile that is found only in Cuba, and specifically – in Cuba’s Zapata Swamp and the Isle of youth. The Cuban Crocodile has some unique characteristics, like his bright colors, the rougher scales and his strong long legs. It prefers freshwater habitat like rivers, marshes and of course swamps, and will rarely be seen in saltwater. The Cuban Crocodile mates its entire life and lives deep into its 80’s.

Another unique characteristic of the Cuban Crocodile, is it’s suspected tendency for pack-hunting behavior. No other crocodilians display pack-hunting behavior, making the Cuban crocodile a very interesting species for reptile researchers from all over the world. The Cuban species is also regarded as one of the most intelligent crocodiles on the planet. Sadly, it is also a very endangered species, mainly due to loss of habitat, deterioration of its ecosystem, hunting and also due to breeding with other species. Experts believe there are only around 100 cuban crocodiles left in the world, but recently something great has happened, which might change the entire situation.

Approximately 20 months ago, Hillary and Castro, the two Cuban Crocodiles gifted by Castro to Vladimir Shatalov, have given birth to 10 healthy hatchlings, which are still too young to even determine their sexes. In sort of a homecoming, these beautiful crocodile hatchlings have been returned back to their old homeland – the marshy swamps of Castro’s communist Cuba. They will actually be kept in quarantine in Havana for several months, then transferred to a semi-captive habitat, until they are over three years old and ready to be released into the wild swamps.

Watch this News Clip about the return of the Cuban Crocodiles:

This extraordinary return back to Cuba is an extremely important step towards saving the Cuban Crocodile from extinction. Let’s hope this unique mission succeeds.

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Blue tongue lizard
Blue Tongued Lizard. Photo by Peter Waters

You may have come across some rare birds or exotic animals which blew your mind for a moment and the images have stayed with you ever since. Have you ever come across a lizard that blue your mind?

Blue lizards or a blue tongue lizard is a very common species, especially if you live in Australia. The blue tongue lizard is also very popular as a pet. A blue tongue lizard doesn’t belong to any specific species but there are many species and sub species that can be regarded as blue tongue lizards.

One of the most commonly found blue tongue lizard is the eastern blue-tongued lizard. Scientifically known as the Tiliqua scincoides scincoides, this blue tongue lizard is known so because of its blue tongue. Not all species have a blue tongue, but in that sense, this one actually a blue tongue lizard. The lizard is found in bush-lands and across many suburban areas in eastern Australia; more specifically, in the state of Queensland. The blue tongue of this lizard can be light blue, dark blue or can be extremely bright or glowing blue.

This blue tongue lizard is extremely popular as pets because it moves very slowly. The size of this lizard is usually up to 60 cm and it can be easily spotted in the gardens or in roadside landscapes. The lizard can be observed for a long time due to its slow movements and it can also be caught easily. This blue tongue lizard is also very friendly to humans and thus can be easily petted.

There are some other blue lizards as well which are similar to the eastern blue lizard. For instance, there is the common blue tongue lizard which is the eastern species, there is a northern blue tongue lizard, a western and central species as well as blotched blue tongue lizard, shingle-back and pygmy blue tongue lizard. There is even a special place for the blue tongue lizard at the Australian Museum in Sydney.

The northern blue tongue lizard is found in the tropical regions of Australia, the northernmost region of Queensland and Northern Territory. The western and the central blue tongue lizards are relatively rare and are listed as endangered or vulnerable. The blotched blue lizards are found in the south west and they prefer the highlands and not the plains or coastal regions. The shingle-back blue lizard is also known as sleepy lizard, bob tailed lizard and stumpy tailed lizard. They are mostly found in the Great Dividing Range. The pygmy blue tongue lizard is found in South Australia, more specifically in and around Burra.

 

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Cobra Attack
King Cobra. Photo by Poto Wizard

Malaysia: A very unlucky construction worker is currently in critical condition after a King Cobra Attack. The 28-year old Foreign worker from Indonesia was bitten by a 5-meter long cobra in the toilet of his own home in the district of Tuaran. Situated in the West Coast of Sabah, Malaysia, on the island of Borneo.

It is believed that the young Indonesian entered the toilet of his home in the late afternoon, without noticing that a snake has slithered in. After a few minutes, the King Cobra attack occurred: The notorious snake lodged its fangs onto the left arm of the young man, who instantly screamed for help. As family members reached him, they somehow managed to get the deadly cobra off of his arm. They then killed the Cobra.

The construction worker was immediately rushed to Tuaran Hospital, together with the dead King Cobra, for venom identification.

As in almost any news event these days, social media posts were among the first to report the incident. However, this time they were to blame for incorrect rumors and posts saying the King Cobra was caught inside the hospital. That was not the case.

The hospital doctors said it was the first case they encountered involving such a big snake.

More about a King Cobra Attack

How does a King Cobra bite? The King has two fixed fangs in the front of his mouth. These deadly fangs are used like needles to inject the venom into its prey. But how strong is the King’s Venom?

You better not mess with this snake. The King Cobra’s Venom is mostly comprised of neurotoxins. These will brutally attack anyone’s central nervous system. One fatal bite by the King can channel a large amount of venom into its prey. The doses range from 200 to 500 mg and even higher. What happens if you are bitten? The symptoms may include severe pain, vertigo, and up to paralysis or coma. The next stage is respiratory failure, and death. Though uncommon, a King Cobra bite may also cause kidney failure.

How fast can it kill? A bite by a King Cobra can lead to death within thirty minutes. One bite can actually kill approximately 20 men. There are even records of King Cobras that have killed elephants in a few hours.

Looking for Anti-Venom? There are only two types of anti-venom produced for treating bites by King Cobras. One is manufactured in Thailand by the Red Cross, while the other is made in India by the Central Research Institute.

For more riveting facts about the King Cobra, click the following Image:

cobras

 

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Lizard Names
What's Your Name? Photo by Jasminko Ibrakovic

Naming your Reptile pet and selecting that one unique name that you like, out of an endless array of Lizard Names, is not an easy task. However, it’s just one tiny part of having a per lizard. Petting a lizard can be quite captivating and also challenging. Petting a dog is easier than training a dog. Owning a cat is also relatively easier. When you deal with reptiles or exotic pets, then you have to be more dedicated. Not only is training a lizard more than hundred times as difficult as training a dog, petting a lizard is also exponentially more challenging.

When you decide to have a lizard for a pet, you should invest enough time and effort to learn how to choose a lizard, how to create its ideal habitat, what you should feed it, what kind of terrain and lights you would have in its home and you must also learn about the dangers or safety measures of having a lizard. Once you get accustomed with all the information and develop the best and safe practices, having a lizard around can be quite fun.

Another challenge you would face as you opt for a lizard as your pet is assessing various lizard names. There are dozens of popular names for lizards. The pet lizard names may be according to convention or you may take a completely unconventional approach. An easy way to pick lizard names is to go for any name that caters to your imagination or preference. Another easy way to pick names for lizards is to consider its species or scientific name and then altering it to suit your preference. The objective is to make a proper noun using the words or the entire scientific name as the origin. If you want uniqueness, then you should have your own way of choosing pet lizard names.

If you want random lizard names which are popular then you may consider Ajax, Amos, Arlian or Arnie, Arther, Astrid and Azul. You may go with Barnabas, Bender, Blubeard, Bubba, Burt or Carlos, Chewie, Cilla, Cleo or Cornolio, Darvarus or Delores, Demonicus or Demon, Dino, Draco, Drake or Durangeo. There are hundreds of such lizard names that you can choose from. Each alphabet has at least a dozen odd popular names for lizards.

Want to check a conservative Pet Names database? You can try PetNames.net.

You should consider the physical attributes and natural tendencies of the lizard you have bought before you start choosing pet lizard names. The best names are those that are specific to a particular lizard, based on the color of the body, texture of its skin, size and shape of its head, the kind of tail it has and what kind of activities it indulges in.

People using Lizard Names

There are those innocent pet owners who are just looking for cute names for their lizards, but there are thousands of people and groups exploiting the lizard name for their means. There are of course the positive ones, like various sports teams that call themselves Lizards (New York Lizards). However, there’s currently a vicious group of Hackers called LIZARD SQUAD, known for their cyber attacks on numerous websites, especially those relating to gaming. The LIZARD SQUAD got famous after hacking the social media accounts of Taylor Swift, obtaining nude photos of the pop star.

I just hope all this doesn’t hurt the good name of lizards…

Python snake
Indian Python. Photo by Berangere Duforets

When imaging the python snake, thoughts will come to mind of a massive creature that sneaks up on prey before striking. As a result, Python snakes are often seen as bullies. People think of them as stone cold killers (possibly because they are cold blooded) and imagine them as lords of their realm.

The question is, are Python snakes really bullies? Lets take a look at some Python facts to get a better understanding of how pythons operate. When you review these facts about python, you may be surprised by some of the things you learn.

1. If nothing else, know this of the Python Snake:

If you are going to know any facts about pythons, know this. Pythons are known as constrictors. This is because pythons will kill their prey by squeezing them. When squeezed, the prey eventually stops breathing and passes out, making an easy meal for the python. Once their pray is ready, a python will swallow their pray whole, digesting almost every part of the pray.

2. Time between meals

Python facts that people want to know often include questions about how long a python can go between meals. This depends on the size of the python, and the size of their meal. On average, a python will eat between 4 to 5 times every year. Every meals will last for weeks or months. Meals include antelopes, caimans, monkeys, and many other medium sized mammals.

3. What causes a python’s skin coloring?

Pythons are notoriously difficult to find because they are excellent at camouflage. This is because their skin blends in with the ground around them. What causes this? Well, the skin color will be based on the habitat the snake lives in, which is a result of natural selection. This camouflage helps snakes spring traps on their pray. In addition, the beautiful patterning has unfortunately made snake skin a popular commodity in the fashion industry.

4. Less a Bully, More a Nerd

The python snake can find prey primary through fluctuations in the surrounding heat. The python uses this to target its prey before attack. In addition, a female python can lay between 12-36 eggs. She will protect these eggs by coiling herself around them. This also keeps the eggs warm until they are ready to hatch. Though some people may consider python snakes a bully, it is important to note that pythons know a great deal about fluctuations in heat, making them excellent hunters.

Despite being sort of a Nerd, there’s currently a new front in the war on invasive snakes in Florida, and “Python Patrols” are a major part of it. According to the state’s officials, there are approximately 150,000 Burmese pythons occupying southern Florida. They’ve become top predators that devour native animals like alligators and other species.

Wildlife officials are now recruiting citizens and teaching them about the Python snake and other invasive species, training the people how to identify them and even how to capture these huge reptiles. Volunteers are spending hours in classrooms learning all the important facts about pythons and their relatives. These classes are planned to be held regularly on a monthly basis, with the goal of training hundreds of Python catchers. The volunteers then go outdoors into areas where python snakes have been released. They track them down and contain them.

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crocodile attack
Crocodile Attack: Can we be warned? Photo by Shatalkin

How many crocodile attack stories have you heard this year? Well, if you are into reptiles as most our readers are, you surely read quite a few stories about crocodile attacks on humans. Unfortunately, as long as we mess with their ecosystem – we will always be legitimate targets. But what would you say if you could use a special warning system against crocodiles?

A recent study by a team of researchers from the University of New England, was able to predict, even down to the hour in some incidents, as to when a crocodile was likely to appear. The research uncovered useful crocodile facts, which if combined and put into a model – could someday be used to warn people from a possible crocodile attack. The study results could make swimming and fishing in the far north of Queensland and many other areas – much safer.

The team of scientists, led by Project leader Dr Hamish Campbelltried to find out when crocodiles are most likely to be lurking around. They monitored the crocodiles by using tracking devices over three years in two river systems in the far north of Queensland, Australia.

Among the facts found, the team revealed that crocodiles and large reptiles are more likely to visit areas that are frequented by humans between the months of September and January, and at high tide. The scientists recorded 270 incidents over the period of three years, in which reptiles passed through areas that were frequented by fishers, swimmers and other people.

During the mating time of September and January, the activity increased, due to the fact that males were searching for females, while females were searching for nesting sites. The observations also revealed that crocodiles were more likely to move during the night, and that some crocs even travelled up to 50 km. Another interesting crocodile fact that came up in the research, is that while crocodiles did frequent areas where people were hanging around, the crocodiles tended to move quickly through these areas and did not stick around.

Project leader, Dr Hamish claims there are locations where they can predict down to the exact hour – when crocodiles will turn up. Based on all the facts gathered in the research, the scientists claim that they can basically say “At this time of year, when the tide is like this or at this time of the day this is the sort of patters where crocodiles are going to be”. These results could be put together into some kind of model of Crocodile Attack Warning System. This could save dozens of lives every year. However, the scientists say that more research is required in other areas, before a Crocodile Attack Warning System is developed…

Let’s hope and see…