July 25, 2018

Interesting Facts Series….Reptiles!

Author: Lynn Gricus

Things About Reptiles

Whether it’s the impressive jaw strength of a crocodile (5000 pounds per square inch!) or the dazzling color-changing ability of the common chameleon, reptiles are some of the most fascinating creatures on this planet. Here are a few awe-inspiring facts:

  • Reptiles can be found on every continent except Antarctica (due to the frigid temperatures), and there are over 8,000 known reptile species.
  • The term “cold-blooded” means reptiles obtain body heat from external sources and are unable to internally regulate their body temperatures.
  • Reptiles can live a long time. Tortoises can live for over 150 years, while alligators can enjoy a 70-year lifespan. Common pets like ball pythons have been known to live up to 40 years!
  • While snakes get a bad reputation for being poisonous, nearly two thirds are non-venomous and harmless to humans. The exception is in Australia, where venomous snakes outnumber their non-poisonous relatives.
  • With their slow metabolisms and huge meals, some snakes can go months between meals.
  • Some chameleons can change into almost any color imaginable, and scientists believe shifting colors help them communicate.
  • Imagine being able to see in two directions at once! Since their eyes rotate and focus independently, it’s possible for them to observe a 360 degree arc of vision. If focused in the same direction, a chameleon has extremely sharp stereoscopic vision and incredible depth perception.
  • A chameleon’s tongue can reach three times the length of its body to capture prey with the sticky end of its tongue.
  • Since frogs absorb water through their skin, they don’t need to drink!
  • To survive during the colder months, the North American wood frog actually freezes during winter and thaws in the spring.
  • The most poisonous animal in the world is the gold poison arrow frog. Native tribesmen in Columbia used the poison to make poison darts that would cause paralysis and death, even in minute amounts.
  • Some Amazonian caimans use dance to establish dominance and to attract a mate. Using vocal bellows, males vibrate the water, release an oily musk, and even blow bubbles, while performing elaborate “water dancing” to interest females.
  • Crocodiles are not known for being the cuddliest pets but one wild American crocodile named Pocho developed an unusual relationship with the fisherman who rescued him. Not only did Pocho learn his name and come when called, he regularly swam with his rescuer, gave hugs, and allowed the fisherman to ride him around the lake! How’s that for an unusual pet?

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