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So, I have a new profound love for komodo dragons. It reaffirmed my decision to minor in herpetology- I’d love to get a chance to do some conservation work with them. I saw this beauty at Palm Beach Zoo. Man, I’m in love.
Philippine cobra shed (Naja philippinensis)

Native to the northern Philippine islands, this species of spitting cobra goes by the local names of ulupong, carasael, and agawason. The venom is a kind of neurotoxin which they can spit up to 10 feet, or 3 meters, away!
moreanimalia:

alltailnolegs: Snakes and Sound

“In order to test the hypothesis that snakes can not only perceive airborne sounds, but also respond to them, an acoustic isolation chamber was designed and constructed to perform best within the 150–450Hz range in which snakes perceive sound. Suspended within this acoustic chamber was a steel mesh basket designed to minimize the potential for groundborne vibrations. A synthesized tone was created out of 20 different 150ms sounds, each separated by a 50ms period of silence; the acoustic energy of each of the 20 sounds was concentrated between 200–400Hz, and each sound included frequency modulation.The trial stimuli were presented to western diamondback rattlensakes Crotalus atrox at a level 5–10 dB above their perception threshold. 
Four significant behavioral responses were observed upon stimulus presentation: cessation of body movements, reduction or cessation of tongue flicking, rapid jerks of the head and rattling. At least one significant behavioral response was observed in 92% of the behavioral trials. This study provides the first experimental evidence that snakes can respond behaviorally to airborne sounds.”
 
Full pdf document read here:
http://www.mediafire.com/view/?v3b8xe93l032v3c
rhamphotheca:

Striped Whiptail Lizards:  Adaptation and Species Studies in White Sands, NM, USA

These lizards, as well as the lesser earless lizard and the Eastern fence lizard, have evolved blanched coloration at White Springs. Scientists from the lab of Erica Bree Rosenblum, an assistant professor in the Department of Biological Sciences at the University of Idaho, have identified the specific mutations that turn White Sands’ lizards white.
They also have conducted experiments to see whether White Sands’ lizards are becoming new species. For example, earless lizards will preferentially choose other White Sands’ lizards as mates. Therefore, researchers can study both adaptation and speciation at White Sands. The stark, white dunes of White Sands are an ideal environment to observe evolution in action.
These dunes are geologically very young — only a few thousand years old — and in that time, a number of animals have adapted to this new environment. Natural selection has favored lighter colored animals on the dunes for camouflage against the white sand and avoidance of predators. Species of mammal, reptile and insect have rapidly developed adaptations to this unusual environment…
(read more: National Science Foundation)
(photo: Erica Bree Rosenblum, Univ. of Idaho)
Snakes shed their skin. Well known fact, but most people don’t know more than that.. Called ecdysis, it’s actually just a layer of skin that comes off, and it’s not strictly snakes that do this! Insects, arthropods and lizards also ‘slough’ their skin, or molt it.. Like birds molt feathers!
The biggest give away when a snake is ready to shed is it’s cloudy, milky eyes.
The coolest thing is that snakes never stop shedding their skin, as long as they’re growing.. Which is all their lives! So if they don’t like the skin they’re in, they’ll leave it behind.. Literally. Younger snakes do this much more frequently than adults, but both can have trouble shedding! One of the worst scenarios is the skin can’t come off the eye, leading to multiple ‘eye caps’ which, in turn, blinds the snake..  Which can lead to a dead snake.. There can be a multitude of reasons for these problems, including lack of moisture and dehydration.. But snakes are smart, and use rocks and other things to rub against and assist in removing the skin. 
You know what’s cool about desert grassland whiptails (Aspidoscelis uniparens)? There are only females in this species of lizard! That’s right, they’re basically an ideal Rosie the Riveter for reptiles. Eggs will undergo meiosis, and then chromosomes will double. No ‘baby daddy’ is required; the lizards develop anyways! 
So, you’re probably wondering why these two lizards above are ‘mating’ eh? Well, to put it simply, sex enhances ovulation in this species. So they’ll undergo mating rituals just to stimulate breeding.. Like any other sexually reproducing species! Pretty awesome, if you ask me.
Unfortunately for the Madagascan collared iguana, the sly hog-nosed snake (Leioheterodon madagascariensis) is too smart for this iguana. Easily identified by its upturned nose, it proves a useful digging tool when sweeping it’s head side to side on the hunt for food.
They often lurk in undergrowth, or to the mother’s despair.. Boldly lay out in the open while momma iguana buries her eggs.
Their excellent sense of smell allows them to almost immediately dig up the freshly buried eggs.. But watching helps too. The snake proceeds to swallow them whole as the mother watches helplessly, bulges moving down inside the snake’s body.
Maybe this is a failure of breeding.. Or maybe it’s a numbers game. Collared iguanas the most abundant lizards in Madagascar.. And not every mother’s nest gets raided! 
You can even see it from the snake’s POV - they’re flexible enough to work around the iguana’s strategy of hiding it’s eggs underground.. That alone is brilliant adaptation and instinct. 
As all animals, reptiles must find a way for their young to survive. Madagascar’s collared iguana (Oplurus cuvieri) has a fail-safe method of protecting their precious eggs.
Spending most of their time in trees, normally they only dart down to grab some yummy invertebrates. Predators aren’t a problem, since they can retreat into a nearby crevice and block the entrance with their spiny tail.
During wet season, females have no choice but to remain on the ground.. Lucky males, eh? Since laying her eggs is the most important part of her life, she does so carefully. A bare, sandy spot is a perfect area for her to bury eggs like a dog burying bones. She must push them in with her nose, making sure they reach the bottom.. Then she’ll neatly cover it over with dirt, hiding it so well it appears that nothing is there. It can deceive some, but not all animals…
This bloody mess of a horned lizard (genus Phyrnosoma) isn’t in pain from an attack. Chances are he was feeling extremely threatened, and unleashed a defense mechanism nobody would see coming. The first thing this reptile does when threatened, besides camouflaging anyway, is to stay completely still. If the predator proceeds approach, they’ll alternate between short bursts of running and abruptly stopping to confuse the attacker. If this isn’t successful, they’ll resort to swelling up a bit in size to appear larger and more ‘horned.’ If anything, it just makes them more intimidating and harder to swallow. When all else fails, they shock the threat by spurting blood out of their eyes. It’s a grotesque tactic caused by thin-walled, blood-filled spaces called sinuses found within their eye sockets. In case of emergency, they’ll cause blood pressure in their eyes to rise which, in turn, leads to the sinus walls breaking suddenly. Blood erupts from the eyes in a nicely aimed stream of crimson red, reaching up to 4 feet (1.2 meters). A distasteful chemical combined with multiple bursts of these streams is enough to deter any predator..Or unsuspecting human. A video of this reptile in action can be seen here. 
Photo credit: randomtruth
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