Bell’s Hinge-Back Tortoise

The Bell’s Hinge-Back Tortoise (Kinixys belliana)is a reptile – it is medium-sized African chelonian.

The Bell’s Tortoise is a light brown colour. It has a hinge on the back of its top shell (carapace). It has a 90-degree hinge, which protects its back legs and tail. The hinge is a broad band of flexible connective tissue. The shell is slightly domed and elongated. It has five claws on each front foot.

Continue reading “Bell’s Hinge-Back Tortoise”

African Helmeted Terrapin

The African Helmeted Terrapin (Pelomedusa subrufa) is also known as the Marsh Terrapin, the Crocodile Terrapin, or the African Side-Necked Terrapin. It is a semi-aquatic reptile from Africa, like tortoises and turtles – a chelonian.

The African Helmeted Terrapin looks like a helmet. Instead of its neck sticking in and out, it has a side-necked position where it places its head sideways in its shell. It black or brown shell (carapace) is slightly domed. Its tail and legs are grey-brown, and its underbelly is yellowish. The male has a long thick tail. The female has a shorter tail.

Continue reading “African Helmeted Terrapin”

Rufous Beaked Snake

The Rufous Beaked Snake (Rhamphiophis oxyrhynchus) is a large, mildly venomous colubrid snake from East Africa. It is a reptile. A colubrid snake has fangs in the rear of their upper jaw.

The Rufous Beaked Snake has a hooked snout (nose), which can dig holes. It has brown-black scales. Its underbelly is cream or yellowish-white. Its head is distinct from its body. It has a dark brown-black eye stripe on the side of its head. Its eyes are large and round.

Continue reading “Rufous Beaked Snake”


The Green Iguana (Iguana iguana) is also known as the American Iguana, or just Iguana. It is a large arboreal lizard, native to Central America, South America, and the Caribbean. It is a reptile.

The Green Iguana is not always green. It can be various colours, such as blue, purplish, and pinkish. It is a strong, stout-bodied lizard, with a row of spines on its back and tail to protect itself from predators. Its tail can be ‘dropped’ to allow it to escape danger. The tail can be regenerated (re-grown).

Continue reading “CREATURE FEATURE: Green Iguana”

Why do some snakes have a blue spot or a blue eye?

Why do some snakes have a blue spot or a blue eye?

When snakes shed their skin, it is called ‘Blue’ because there is often a blue spot or blue eye.

Snakes shed their skin as they grow larger. This is called ecdysis.

Snakes produce a mucous (sticky liquid) when they shed their skin, which helps separate the old skin from the new skin. The mucous often enters their eye scale, turning it blue.

Continue reading “Why do some snakes have a blue spot or a blue eye?”

Gippsland Water Dragon

The Gippsland Water Dragon (Intellagama lesueurii howittii) is an arboreal eastern Australian agamid lizard. It is a reptile.

The Gippsland Water Dragon is a brown-green-grey lizard with a row of spikes at the base of its head (called a nuchal crest). Its throat has yellow, orange, or blue blotches. It has black bands across its back, tail, and legs.  It has long legs and claws, which are good for climbing trees, and a long, muscular tail, which is good for swimming. It can change colour to camouflage itself in its environment. It has brown eyes.

Continue reading “Gippsland Water Dragon”

Mexican Green Rattler

The Mexican Green Rattler (Crotalus basiliscus) is a venomous (poisonous) pit viper, native to western Mexico. It is a snake, and a reptile.

The Mexican Green Rattler has a plump body with brown or grey scales. Its scales are diamond (rhombus) shaped with light edges. Its underbelly is creamy-white. It has a large, distinct grey-brown head. Its tail is dark grey with few markings. On the tip of the tail is its cream-coloured rattle.

Continue reading “Mexican Green Rattler”