Reptiles

Bog Turtle

The bog turtle (Glyptemys muhlenbergii) is the smallest turtle found in the United States. The largest bog turtle ever found measured only 4.5 inches. Bog turtles are easily identified by the patches of orange found along the side of their heads. Bog turtles are one of the most rare turtles found in the United States. Laws banning the collection of the turtles for sale have done little to stop the practice with bog turtles being a prized species in many… Continue reading

Kemp’s Ridley Sea Turtle

Kemp’s ridleys are the smallest species of sea turtle and remain a mystery to scientists. They participate in an amazing natural phenomenon—a synchronized nesting. The turtles gather off a particular nesting beach and then wave upon wave of females come ashore and nest in what is called an “arribada,” which means “arrival” in Spanish (with the vast majority of the females participating in an arribada near Rancho Nuevo, Mexico). The answer to what triggers an arribada remains elusive to scientists.… Continue reading

Dunes Sagebrush Lizard

Skittering amidst spare stands of shinnery oaks and over the scorched sand hills of the Permian Basin, the dunes sagebrush lizard makes its home. The silence and stillness of this land, which befits the incredibly sensitive nerves of this perpetually alert dunes crawler has become noisier than ever with the grinding hum of oil and gas wells and compressors. An insatiable insectivore—eating ants, small beetles, crickets, grasshoppers, and spiders—and prey of local vipers, the dunes lizard relies on its skittish… Continue reading

Leatherback Sea Turtle

Leatherbacks nest in the tropics but range widely in the world’s oceans, moving into colder, higher latitude waters during summer months. Climate change is expected to significantly disrupt the marine and terrestrial environments on which they depend. Threats related to Global Warming Climate change is altering the oceans physically and chemically as warmer waters expand, ice covers recede, circulation patterns change, and the pH of the oceans declines. Leatherbacks (and all six other species of marine turtles) will be affected… Continue reading

American Alligator

Alligators live in the wetlands of the southern United States. The reptiles were hunted close to extinction. After they were listed under the Endangered Species Act, hunting was prohibited and their habitat was protected. The species has made a dramatic recovery and was removed from the endangered species list in 1987. Because American alligator populations have recovered so well, hunting and egg collecting are allowed and a multi-million dollar industry has thrived in the South.