Saturday, February 12, 2011

Large reptiles were conspicuous at most of the good birding sites. And whereas the American Crocodiles kept their distance in the rivers and swamps, the Ctenosaur spent a lot of time around our ankles whilst we were birding. At up to four foot long it would be a lie to say this isn't quite intimidating.

The totally harmless Ctenosaur (unless you're a flower or a piece of fruit) (c) Richard Brown

The Ctenosaur has a nifty trick to help manage their temperature. Pigment granules can move within individual skin cells to change their colour. So they can be dark on a morning to warm up and more reflective during the hot midday period. Smaller Ctenosaurs may also use changes in skin colour to help with camouflage as there are plenty of Snakes and Hawks which would make a meal of them. 

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