Did you know that there are lizards living in New York City? No, I don’t mean captive ones. As their name suggests, these Italian Wall Lizards (Podarcis sicula) originated elsewhere but seem to have adopted to our climate and habitat (NYC and Naples are on the same latitude, you know). Last week, when the temp got up to 70, several were sunning themselves in the NYBG Native Garden.These were introduced on Long Island in the late 1960s. They’ve spread out. I’ve seen them in Queens’ cemetery belt, too. The Northern Fence Lizard was also introduced, on Staten Island, but I’ve never seen one. There are, however, native lizards living in the Hudson Highlands.There are at least four lizards visible here as this bold-as-brass feral cat wanders by.
Posts Tagged 'reptiles'
Tags: lizards, New York Botanical Garden, reptiles
Tags: Brooklyn, Green-Wood, reptiles, turtles
One of the many surplus Red-eared Sliders (Trachemys scripta elegans) dumped into local waterways. Idiots buy them and tire of them and let them loose. The red “ear” is actually just a mark; on this specimen it’s rather pale; sometimes it doesn’t show at all. I once counted 70 RESs, which are native to the southeast and the Mississippi Valley, along the Lullwater from bridge to bridge. Releasing pet turtles is illegal because of the risk of disease, but that stops nobody.
Why do people insist on taking animals from the wild for their own, all-too-often ephemeral, entertainment? I suppose if they see it in a store or bucket on the street — it’s actually illegal to sell turtles smaller than 4″ because of the risk of salmonella — they don’t think it’s a wild animal to begin with. Or one that will grow out of a toy aquarium before too long; these animals can live for decades. Or after Junior’s attention has moved on to other whims, and that cute lil’ turtle is no longer so.
There’s a subculture of fancy turtle and tortoise fans that make much of their fetish here in the city and elsewhere, pleased how their pet, for instance, spends the winter in the freezer to mimic the amazing down-cycling some of these animals use to get through the frozen months. Really? You’re proud of having de-natured a wild creature for your own vanity and ego? And spare me the argument of breeders, who are doing it for profit.
There’s a now-famous tortoise that is walked in Central Park to much social media hoopla. But the poor creature belongs in habitat on another continent, not Central Park. Such attention, like dumb kids’ movies, has probably amped-up the demand, unleashing the cruel and destructive pet-hunting industry — for where there are warped desires, the profiteers will leap in to provide and crush everything else beneath their feet.
Tags: Great Swamp, reptiles, turtles
Spotted (Clemmys guttata).Painted (Chrysemys picta).Snapping (Chelydra serpentina). All on the same day at Great Swamp. There were two Snappers, the pictured one being enormous; a dozen Painted; and half-a-dozen Spotted. I am most enamored of the Spotted. Here’s another:
Tags: Brooklyn, mammals, Prospect Park, reptiles
It’s getting so that “unseasonable” is no longer an appropriate word for never-ending autumn. This is the new seasonableness. On Friday, which set records around the region for high temperatures in a year shaping up to be the hottest on record, two Red-eared Sliders were sunning themselves in Prospect Park.A couple of Chipmunks were out and about. This one stuffed a hickory nut into it’s right cheek and lopsidedly zipped down into a hole to store it for later.And the next day, a Green Lacewing (Chrysopidae) flitted through the air before resting on this cherry in the Flatbush Gardener’s patch.
Tags: birds, Brooklyn, mammals, reptiles
A parent and young Woodchuck/Groundhog (Marmota monax). Here’s the youngster, perhaps 2/3rds the size of the adult, who is presumably the mother as males visit burrows to mate but don’t stay around. Both animals were mowing through the grasses, then this one found a nut or fruit. They are eating-machines this time of year, fattening up for winter hibernation in the ample hills — but not as ample as they used to be — of Brooklyn. A big old Snapping Turtle (Chelydra serpentina).Giving me the beady eye. The length of neck here is arm-like, hence the serpentina. I’ll be damned if I know how a) this big reptile survives in this little pond, and b) how it gets out, which I doubt it can do, since the wall surrounding it is about 3 feet high.
A Ruby-throated Hummingbird (Archilochus colubris), look closer, maneuvers for a drink.
All in Brooklyn, and on an afternoon’s walk.
Tags: New York Botanical Garden, reptiles
New York State has three native species of lizard: Northern Fence, Five-lined Skink, and Coal Skink. And one introduced species: the Italian Fence Lizard (Podarcis sicula). P. sicula evidently spread out from a release in Hempstead in 1967. The first time I ever became aware of them was when a photo of a Kestrel taking one to its Manhattan nest made the rounds of local birders some years ago. I’ve seen them in the cemeteries of Queens: they love stone walls. But they are quick and agile and hard to photograph. I finally got one in the digital camera at the New York Botanic Garden recently.
Tags: amphibians, Brooklyn, Green-Wood, reptiles
This downward-facing turtle was king of the hill.This frog wanted a piece of the action.And this was one determined frog.It made several attempts to…well, what, exactly? Dislodge the turtle? In theory, the right amount of force applied to the fulcrum here should have knocked off the much larger turtle. But the turtle’s steadying feet made for an impregnable bastion.Meanwhile, and this was somebody else’s storyline, a young House Sparrow landing on all the nearby rocks and the other basking turtles briefly landed here. The turtle seemed to pay no more heed to this than it did the kamikaze frog.A state of equilibrium? But wait. Another rock. Another turtle. Another frog.