Wednesday, July 11, 2012

The Fauna of South Carolina: Reptiles and Amphibians

First off, don't forget to look below to see the answer to last weeks mystery animal, and to see a couple of pictures of this weeks!

Recently, my family visited some good friends of ours in South Carolina for a few weeks.  Not only did we have a lot of fun visiting them, we saw a lot of cool plants and animals there that we simply don't have up north!  For some of you, many of these animals and plants will be routine and boring, but hopefully there will be something in here that you will find interesting!  I think I am going to split this post up into at least a few different segments, with tomorrows post devoted entirely to the Black Skimmer, a very interesting bird that I had the good fortune to see hunt!  So today I am going to talk about some of the interesting reptiles and amphibians we saw down there, and over the next few weeks we can take a look at some of the birds, fossils and other things we saw down there!

Due to the increased heat and humidity, coupled with less of a swing between the seasons (i.e. it rarely snows and drops below freezing), the south is an excellent place to see all sorts of reptiles and amphibians.  We saw a number of turtles and a frog/toad or two when we were in the south, but what interested me more were the lizards.
A Carolina anole (Anolis carolinensis).  Despite its name, the Carolina anole is found in both South and North Carolina, as well as Florida, Georgia, Louisiana, Texas, Alabama and Mississippi.
A type of skink, but I have yet to ascertain its species, although I am almost certain its genus is that of Plestiodon
And then, of course, there's the gators.  The American Alligator lives in the same states as the Carolina anole, as well as Virginia, Arkansas and Oklahoma.  While we did see a few in the wild, all of these shots (except for that of the gator footprint) were taken at a place called Brookgreen Gardens, or at a restaurant called the Crab Shack.
This big gator we saw at Brookgreen Gardens
This is a picture of a gator footprint that I took.  You can see three of the toes very well, making it look a lot like a theropod dinosaur track, but you can see the other two toes as little holes in the ground.
This picture, and all the rest, were taken at an awesome (both food- and entertainment-wise) restaurant on Tybee Island in Georgia called The Crab Shack.
 This post is part of "The Fauna of South Carolina" series.  For the rest of the posts in this series, click HERE.

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