I’ll make no secret of it, I’m quite excited about the world cup! BUT, this is a reptile blog, not a football one.
Just so I could indulge in a little football, I thought I’d wright a bit about an animal that is native to each of the competing nations.
Some of these reptiles and amphibians could support more than one team, but it’s just a bit of fun!
|Two Fingered Skink – Algeria|
Chalcides mauritanicus, or the Two-Fingered Skink, is an African species of skink found in Algeria and Morocco. It occurs in sandy areas and plantations, but cannot exist in severely modified habitats. It also requires good ground cover, but as this is becoming increasingly scarce, the species is declining. The distribution of the species is severely fragmented. Females of the species give birth to live young.
Horned Frog – Argentina
The Argentine Horned Frog (Ceratophrys ornata), also known as the Argentine wide-mouthed Frog or Pacman frog, is the most common species of Horned Frog, from the rain forests of Argentina, Uruguay and Brazil. A voracious eater, it will attempt to swallow anything that moves close to its wide mouth, such as insects, and rodents, lizards and other frogs, even if it wouldÂ suffocate in the process.
Bearded Dragon – Australia
Bearded dragons are very successful in captivity and are one of the favourites among hobbyists and experts alike. They have a very friendly nature towards people, and are very calm when they grow into adults. Juveniles are generally very active but still very friendly, and even make good pets for children. Beardies have an average life span of 10-20 years, although some have been known to live longer.
Rainbow Boa – Brazil
A favourite amongst snake owners in the UK. Difficult to beat for colour due to a fantastic iridescent shine.
Although having specific heat and humidity requirements, Brazilian Rainbow Boas can be very easy to look after.
Clown Tree Frog – Cameroon
Clown Tree Frogs are recognized by their very colorful skin patterns. The patterns can be quite variable. They breed and live out their entire lives in the rainforest canopy.
Chile Rose Tarantula – Chile
Grammostola rosea originates from the northern Atacama Desert region of Chile and live in the driest deserts on earth. G. rosea is a common pet of tarantula rearers. Females have been known to live as long as 15-20 years but due to the limited time they have been available on the market and hence for extensive study, there is a possibility that they may live considerably longer.
Dwarf Crocodile – Ivory Coast
The dwarf crocodile (Osteolaemus tetraspis) is an African species of crocodile. It is also the smallest extant crocodile species in the world.
Dwarf crocodiles attain a medium adult length of 1.5 meters (5 feet), though the maximum recorded length for this species is 1.9 meters (6.2 feet). Adults are a uniform black on their backs and sides with a yellowish underside with black patches.
Grass Snake – Denmark
Grass Snakes are strong swimmers and may be found close to fresh water.
They prey almost entirely on amphibians, especially the common toad and the common frog, although they may also occasionally eat mammals and fish.
Adder – England
Vipera berus is a venomous viper species that is the only venomous snake native to England. Known by a host of common names including Common adder and Common viper, adders have been the subject of much folklore in Britain and other European countries. They are not regarded as highly dangerous. The snake is not aggressive and usually only bites when alarmed or disturbed. Bites can be very painful, but are seldom fatal
Edible Frog – France
The Edible Frog (Pelophylax kl.esculentus) is a name for a common European frog, also known as the common water frog or green frog. It is used for food, particularly in France for the delicacy frogs’ legs. Females are between 5 to 9 cm long, males between 6 to 11 cm.
European Gree Tree Frog – Germany
The European tree frog (Hyla arborea) is a small frog that can grow to a maximum length of 4.5 cm.
They are the only members of the widespread tree frog family (Hylidae) indigenous to Mainland Europe. Characteristic are the discs on the frog’s toes which it uses to climb trees and hedges.
Rock Python – Ghana
Python sebae is a non-venomous python species found in subsaharan Africa.
With adults reaching lengths of over 6 m (20 ft), this is one of the world’s largest species of snakes. The typical adult length is 4.8 m (16 ft) and rumors of specimens over 6 m (20 ft) are generally considered reliable, but larger specimens have never been confirmed
Herman’s Tortoise – Greece
Hermann’s tortoises are small to medium sized tortoises that come from southern Europe.
Early in the morning, the animals leave their nightly shelters, which are usually hollows protected by thick bushes or hedges, to bask in the sun and warm their bodies. They then roam about the Mediterranean meadows of their habitat in search of food.
Green Iguana – Honduras
The Green Iguana (Iguana iguana) is a large, arboreal, herbivorous species ofÂ lizard of the genus Iguana native to Central and South America.
It has adapted significantly with regard to locomotion and osmoregulation as a result of its diet. It grows to 1.5 metres (4.9 ft) in length from head to tail, although a few specimens have grown more than 2 metres (6.6 ft) with bodyweights upward of 20 pounds (9.1 kg).
Western Whip Snake – Italy
TheÂ Western Whip Snake (Hierophis viridiflavus) is a species of snake in the Colubridae family.
Its natural habitats are temperate forests, temperate shrubland, Mediterranean-type shrubby vegetation,arable land, pastureland, plantations, rural gardens, and urban areas. It can also be found in the area around Mt. Vesuvius.
Aodaisho – Japan
The Japanese Rat Snake (Elaphe climacophora) is a medium sized snake found throughout the Japanese archipelago. In Japanese it is known as the AodaishÅÂ or Green General. It is a non-venomous snake, and a member of the Colubrid family.
Adults reach a length of between one and two meters and a girth of about five centimeters.
Korean Rat Snake – North Korea
The Korean rat snake (Elaphe schrenckii) exists in two varieties, black and yellow. It is found in Korea and adjacent portions of China and Russia. It is the largest indigenous snake on the Korean Peninsula and is typically 140-180 cm long.
Elaphe schrenckii feeds primarily on small mammals. It is often found in stone fences and is killed for pharmaceutical use.
Soft Shelled Turtle – South Korea
The Chinese soft-shelled (Pelodiscus sinensis) turtle can reach a carapace length of 30 cm. With its long snout and tubelike nostrils, the Chinese soft-shelled turtle can “snorkel” in shallow water. When resting, it lies at the bottom, buried in sand or mud, lifting its head to breathe or snatch at prey.
It is found in China, Taiwan, Korea, Manchuria, North Vietnam and Japan.
Black King Snake – Mexico
The Mexican Black Kingsnake (Lampropeltis getula nigrita) is part of the larger colubrid family of snakes, and a subspecies of the common kingsnake.
This species occupy rocky areas and places lush with vegetation in various regions of the Sonora Desert, Northwestern Sinaloa, Mexico, and small parts of Arizona.
Smooth Snake – The Netherlands
Coronella austriaca is a harmless colubrid speciesÂ found in northern and central Europe. Both sexes grow to an average length of about 50 cm. Two specimens measuring 83 cm have been recorded though.
The color pattern consists of a brown, gray of reddish ground color with two rows of small, rather indistinct dark spots running down the back towards the tail.
Tuatara – New Zealand
The tuatara is a endemic to New Zealand which, though it resembles most lizards, is actually part of a distinct lineage, order Sphenodontia.
Their most recent common ancestor with any other extant group is with the squamates (lizards and snakes). For this reason, tuatara are of great interest in the study of the evolution of lizards and snakes.
Red Headed Agama – Nigeria
Agama agama is a species of lizard from the Agamidae family, found in most of subsaharan Africa.
It can often be seen in the heat of the day. in the breeding season the males develop their most dramatic markings, the head and neck and also tail turning bright orange, and the body dark blue.
Also known as ‘the Spiderman Lizard’!
Waxy Monkey Tree Frog – Paraguay
The WMTF (Phyllomedusa sauvagii) inhabits the Chaco of Argentina, Brazil, Bolivia and Paraguay.
It has adapted to meet the demands of life in the trees. It does not need to return to the ground during the mating season, rather it lays its eggs down the middle of a leaf before folding the leaf, sandwiching the eggs inside. Its nest is attached to a branch suspended over a stream so that hatching tadpoles drop into the water.
Mediterranean Chameleon – Portugal
The Mediterranean Chameleon (Chameleo chameleon) is the only species of Chamaleonidae in Europe.
It’s a medium sized chameleon reaching around 30cm.
Like all chameleons, it catches it’s insect prey by firing is long, sticky tongue at them
Dice Snake – Serbia
The Dice snake(Natrix tessellata) is a European non-venomous snake belonging to the family ofColubridae, subfamily Natricinae. It feeds mainly on fish but sometimes it feeds on amphibians like frogs and toads.
This snake is not venomous. As a defense it spreads a very bad smelling secretion from its cloaca. Another defence mechanism is thanatosis, that meaning the snake is playing dead.
Aesculapian Snake – Slovakia
Aesculapian Snake (Elaphe longissima) is a snake native to Europe.
It is a large slender non-venomous snake, which is an excellent tree-climber. When young, it feeds on lizards, as an adult its diet consists of rodents, moles, and shrews, young birds and eggs which it kills by constriction, or suffocation by eating its victim head first.
European Green Lizard – Slovenia
The European Green Lizard (Lacerta viridis) is a large lizard distributed across Europe.
The lizard reaches up to 40 cm in length from the tip of the muzzle to theÂ cloaca. This lizard sheds its tail (autotomy), to evade the grasp of a predator.
It feeds on insects, small lizards and even mice!
Leopard Tortoise – South Africa
The Leopard tortoise (Geochelone pardalis) is a large and attractively marked tortoise found throughout the savannas of Africa, from Sudan to the southern Cape. This chelonian is a grazing species of tortoise that favours semi-arid, thorny to grassland habitats, although some leopard tortoises have been found in rainier areas. In both very hot and very cold weather they may dwell in abandoned fox, jackal, or anteater holes.
Ibiza Wall Lizard – Spain
The Ibiza Wall Lizard (Podarcis pityusensis) is a species of lizard in the Lacertidae family. It is most closely associated with the island of Eivissa, or Ibiza, in the Balearic Islands, but has become endemic to Spain.
The natural habitats of P. pityusensis are temperate shrubland, Mediterranean-type shrubby vegetation, rocky areas, rocky shores, arable land, pastureland, plantations, rural gardens, and urban areas.
Alpine Salamander – Switzerland
The Alpine Salamander (Salamandra atra) is a shiny black salamander. It is found in the Central and Eastern Alps, at altitudes above 700 meters. Their life expectancy is at least ten years.
It is an ovoviviparous amphibian, giving birth to two live young. Generally, at altitudes of 650-1,000 metres, a pregnancy lasts 2 years, and at altitudes of 1,400 to 1,700 metres, the pregnancy lasts 3 years!
Red Tegu – Uruguay
Red Tegus (Tupinambis rufescens) are unusual compared to other Tegus are the are primarily herbivorous.
.They can grow to over 120cm and have a pleasant nature, making them popular pets.
Corn Snake – United States
The corn snake (Elaphe guttata), or red rat snake, is a North American species of rat snake. The name ‘corn snake’ comes from the fact that they have a maize-like pattern on their bellies and because they were found in corn fields.
Their docile nature, reluctance to bite, moderate adult size 1.2-1.8 metres, attractive pattern, and simple care make them popular pet snakes.
Who Will Win?
Which of these guys do you think will be ‘basking’ in glory after the tournament? I think it’s between the Adder (fingers crossed) and the Ibiza Wall Lizard. Let me know in the comments box below.