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My Wild Backyard and Vivariums

Reptiles
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These are pretty much all the reptiles I'll find around my home but different types of common snakes can also easily occur, especially after a good rain or having compost piles either for organic materials from the kitchen or a clean up of sticks and leaves after a prolonged period or finding a baby stowing away in a bail of hay. It wouldn't be difficult to find someone poisonous but more often than not I might be looking at a chicken snake or king snake.

Green Anole
Anolis Carolinensis

anoliscarolinensis.jpg

They hibernate in the winter but after that you see them everywhere. They love to sun and the male has a red throat fan or dewlap we call a 'money bag' that he flashes to stake his territory from other males and attract females. It's a common misconception this anole is a chameleon because it changes color from green to brown in various shades but chameleon is just a common name for it. They belong in the Polychrotidae family (anoles) in the suborder of Iguania. It prefers to be green but browns to match a darker background like bark, in hibernation stage, or when it has become ill. They do well as pets but prefer a tall vivarium with 80-90, well ventilated humidity with tall pieces of bark as a hide. A screen lid would be better for them with UV or full spectrum fluorescent lighting and an under the tank heater on the side of the tank though they also do fine in room temperatures and don't need much at all to warm up or be comfortable. They can live in a ten gallon tank but I wouldn't put more than two. Males do not mix.

Ground Skink
Scincella Lateralis

scincellalateralis.jpg

Very common in my backyard. They mostly like to be under things like wood, stone and dead leaves. It's rare to see them without disturbing something and could be mistaken for a snake at first because they're shiny and slick.

Mediterranean Gecko
Hemidactylus Turcicus

hemidactylus.jpg

Very common introduced gecko are the Med. House Gecko's from India to Turkey. They have nearly transparent skin with grainy speckles and can't blink their eyes so they lick them and they make a small barking noise. They come out only at night like under my porch light. They prefer soft/smooth, wood like smooth sided bark, uncrumbled cork, planks in a garage, between panels or in the walls of a house or even wood and compost piles. For the most part they like to live somewhere slightly damp but not too dry.

Red Eared Mud Slider
Chrysemys Scripta Elegans

mudslider.jpg

Very unlikely I'll find one wandering into my back yard but you can find them in almost every park, cow pond, lake or creek you ever go to. They start out as cute, tiny little babies, but they grow up to be as much as a foot and sometimes even a little bit bigger.

Ribbon Snake or Garter Snake
Thamnophis Sauritus

thamnophissauritus1.jpg

Ribbon snakes get pretty big but they're not poisonous. They'll bite if they feel threatened while you're handling them so be nice. They'll eat the mice for you. Most of the one's I see around my yard like the raised beds and compost pile.

Earth Snake or Ground Snake
Virginia Valeriae

virginiavaleriae.jpg

Identifying the ground snakes around here is proving difficult online. I'm very sure I have a positive I.D. there or they could be Sonora Semiannulata, but so far no pics look as simular. The ground snakes are pretty small and always up under something like stones and around raised beds. They're a bright brown, usually with a slightly light strip just like the picture shown. Harmless and passive.

AboutSnakes.com