This specimen of a revolving lizard (Draco volans) that is moving from one branch to another probably was not photographed between 11 am and 1 am. Because in these two hours flying lizards, which live in the Asian rainforest, usually rest from their activities. According to experts to avoid the sun's rays that are more intense at the end of the morning. The "wings" are formed by a membrane "resting" on very elongated ribs and in flight there are also two "flaps", which are found under the chin. The flight system, however, is used exclusively as a means of locomotion, while in order to escape from a predator, lizard-like lizards prefer to jump from tree to tree.

"The usual annoying neighbor" may have thought the Loretta family, when around 7:45 pm he heard violently knocking on the door, while in the back of their house on the coasts of South Carolina (USA) they were struggling with a rich barbecue.

The inappropriate neighbor was actually a meter and a 80 long alligator, attracted by the food scent he was trying to get into.

The owners of the house took great care not to welcome him, and the unfortunate guest only had to plunge back into the lagoon, not before being photographed by other neighbors … at a safe distance.

It is not uncommon to see these reptiles standing on two legs to get food. The alligators are still excellent swimmers: they know how to move with their nostrils flush with the water, their mouth wide open in search of prey and the rest of the body underwater. And they manage to stay in apnea even for 45 minutes.

Photo: © Richard Holinski

Wagler's viper (Tropidolaemus wagleri) lives between southern Thailand, Peninsular Malaysia, Singapore and the islands of Indonesia (Borneo, Sumatra and Sulawesi), up to the southernmost islands of the Philippines. In the Malaysian island of Penang these snakes are the uncontested masters of the famous Temple of the Snakes. These are poisonous snakes whose bright green coloring serves them to blend into the tropical forest. They are infallible nocturnal hunters thanks to the dimples placed right under each eye: with these they are able to see the infrared rays of all living beings that give off heat, such as small birds and mammals.

Are you already dreaming of a holiday full of sand, sun and sea? Someone preceded you and is already sprawled on a beach in Madagascar. It is a specimen of Furcifer oustaleti, which at around 65 centimeters long is one of the largest chameleons in the world.

Although we see him here by the sea, the funny reptile seems to prefer the arid forests of the south of the country, where to cheat time he gives a lot to do … have children. The females reach sexual maturity after about 6 months of life and from that moment they begin to lay eggs in large quantities: about sixty to brood. Nevertheless, unfortunately, the species is threatened with extinction.

Do you like chameleons? Look at one "cuckold" and one more agile than a panther . Discover how accurately it changes color .

If you are afraid of those in your garden, imagine meeting the world's largest lizard, the Komodo dragon (Varanus komodoensis) on your way, which can weigh up to 165 kilograms. And what a view! This animal can see up to 300 meters away, while its hearing allows it to hear only a narrow range of sounds.

The sense of smell remains however its primary method to judge the goodness of food while it is with the tip of the tongue that sniffs the air. With a special smell the female communicates her availability to the male, who responds to the "provocation" by licking her body and rubbing her chin on her.

This specimen of Indian python (Python molurus), which lives in the tropical forest of the southern Asian continent, perhaps wants to make a "goccetto" to send down its last prey. Most of the time, in fact, this animal - one of the largest snakes in the world, 7.6 meters long and 137 kg in weight - uses it to digest. It can take up to 20 days, depending on the size of the "meal". Rodents, reptiles and amphibians, they have no escape if they cannot "grab" them with their sharp teeth, they wrap their prey until they suffocate it.

And the water seems to please him, he is an excellent swimmer, able to stand in apnea even for 30 minutes, if necessary.

Seen from below this crocodile makes a certain impression: but how to distinguish it and understand what family it belongs to? The crocodiles are in fact divided into crocodylidae (crocodiles), alligatoridae (alligators and caimans) and gavialidae (gavials). In this case it is a caiman, recognizable by the shape of the "U" snout, different from the "V" of the crocodiles.

Another difference, not visible this time, is on the tongue: that of the crocodiles is equipped with glands that secrete the excess of salt from the body allowing the animal to spend many days in salt water. Even alligators and caimans have the same glands, even if they do not work: for this reason I prefer fresh water.

Where will these giant tortoises go that form a question mark in a row?

Probably not very far: these animals (Geochelone nigra) typical of the Galapagos Islands do not exceed 300 meters per hour. However, considering that they live more than a hundred years they have plenty of time to travel the length and breadth of the territory.

In the Ecuadorian archipelago there are 11 subspecies of giant tortoises that differ in their shell shape, called carapace. These ancient reptiles, which can reach 300 kilograms of weight, before the arrival of human beings (XIX century) were much more numerous: it is estimated they were over 250 thousand. After colonization, due to the hunters and the introduction of rats and goats that prey on the eggs, their number has been drastically reduced. Now, in the whole archipelago, there are no more than 20 thousand.

A small crested iguana (Brachylophus vitiensis) from Fiji is perched on the head of a Komodo monitor. We are at the Taronga Zoo in Sydney, Australia.

But why is the little one so quiet? There are two possible answers.

The first: between reptiles is understood. The second, the real one, is that in reality it is not a varano in bone flesh, but a statue.

Also because with the original it is better not to have to do. When a Komodo varanus (Varanus komodoensis) is in fact hungry it can even prey on the young of its own species.

With a horror film system: it bites the victim to immobilize her and in addition to hurting her infected. In its saliva there are over 50 different species of bacteria that rapidly kill the prey due to infection.

Pregnant virgins among the Komodo varans

It is not really a night owl, the chameleon (family Chamaeleonidae), here immortalized in a moment of rest. It is definitely daytime, and it is in full daylight that communicates with its peers: with blows of color changes, but not only. Indeed, some research has shown that these cute reptiles often court, defend and fight for the territory to the sound of low frequency acoustic signals, which cannot be perceived by the human ear. But even the chameleon, for his part, is practically deaf to the frequencies of the sounds that man can hear.

At first glance these eggs may seem the same as yesterday ( see photo ), but in reality what peeps out from this shell at Sriracha Tiger Zoo, in Thailand, is a small crocodile (ord. Crocodilia).
According to recent French research, crocodile puppies start communicating with the outside even before they get out of the egg. They emit a sound similar to an “umph! umph! umph! ”( listens ) to make the little brothers and mother understand that they are ready to break the shell.
In this way, according to experts, they succeed in coming into the world almost simultaneously and under the watchful eye of their parents. An evolutionary strategy to avoid ending up in the mouth of a predator just after birth.
Other "cocchi di mamma" (look)

Turtle babies must learn to manage on their own from the first day of life. Their mothers, in fact, are not particularly apprehensive; they only take care of digging a hole in a safe place where they can lay and leave the eggs. In the luckier cases they stop to watch that no ill-intentioned animals, such as snakes and other predators, approach the eggs. This done, most of the time they leave.

In the photo: a newborn turtle of the species - endangered - Golden coin box (Cuora trifasciata) opens its mouth wide. Maybe he's calling the lost mom?

Careful where you put your feet! Although covered with a layer of green slime, an American alligator (Alligator mississippiensis) is resting in the water of this Florida swamp.

Stagnant water mirrors are the favorite habitat of this lazy man, because here he can sit still in the water and breathe comfortably, keeping his nose just off the surface.

Between a nap and the other, however, the large reptile, which can exceed 4 meters in length, is done by digging holes with its tail and jaws in the ground. Of the real burrows that in winter use to shelter from the cold and in summer, when they fill up with the little water left in the swamp, use to "trap" turtles, fish and amphibians, of which it feeds.

Also look at an albino alligator .

The Australian moloch (Moloch horridus), a small scaled reptile (no more than twenty centimeters), has a nickname that fits perfectly: they call it "desert devil". Its appearance does not bode well at all: the body is littered with sharp thorns and above the eyes it has two even bigger ones that resemble diabolical horns. A lot of smoke and no roast, one might say: in reality this little animal is harmless. The thorns serve him to defend himself from possible predators - for which his mimetic abilities also help him - but he rarely goes to the attack if not against the ants of which he is gluttonous. In a single meal he can swallow up to 1800. To replenish water, instead, he uses the horns with which he conveys all traces of moisture to the mouth.

Photo: © Uli Stich (

Was it a good idea to have a small butterfly resting on the face of this spectacled caiman (Caiman crocodilus)? Probably it does not run any risks as this caiman, which loves to live along marshes and streams of Central America and subtropical South America, feeds mainly on fish. The name "occhialuto" derives from the hump between the eyes that gives it the air of an intellectual …

It is one of the largest sea turtles and lives in the warm tropical waters of almost all over the world: the green turtle (Chelonia mydas) with its tonnage (it can even reach 100 kilograms of weight) still fails to defend itself against marine predators and humans who are decimating it. If these turtles (often in the first years of life) are part of the diet of other aquatic animals, they often also become food or jewelry for men.

But there were times and places where the green turtle was protected and even revered. In the Hawaiian islands for example this animal was considered a sort of family divinity ("aumakua") to be protected and above all not to eat. A legend tells of a turtle that was able to take on human form to watch over the children playing on the shoreline.

The interest in the ability of geckos, small reptiles present in Africa, Asia and Europe, to adhere to any surface with any degree of inclination, has always been alive.

Recent research has also studied the ability of their paws to be, at the same time, highly adhesive and free from impurities (which would obviously compromise their adherence).

These animals do not directly take care of their paws or secrete cleaning liquids: the millions of microscopic bristles have a self-cleaning effect. The researchers have in fact calculated that the force of attraction between the dirt and the bristles is less than that which exists between the surface and the dirt itself. As if to say that the greasy particles remain where they are, as the gecko passes.

Difficult to confuse with other reptiles, the chameleon is recognized for some fundamental characteristics, such as independent eyes, capable of a 360 ° view, the extensible and sticky tongue for perfect grips and, finally, the skin that changes color blending into the environment surrounding.
The Parson chameleon (Calumma parsonii), in the photo, is one of the largest species with its 60 centimeters in length: the male is distinguished by the bright colors ranging from green to turquoise, with yellow and orange spots. Of the 100 species of this animal, 50 live in the forest of Madagascar.

With age we know, we all become a bit routine. But this Galapagos tortoise (Geochelone nigra), which can live over a hundred years, is almost manic!

So methodical that every day, to reach the clearings where it finds food, it always follows the same identical path, leaving with time, the marks of the legs in the ground, almost carved.

These animals are fussy even when they are in captivity. In some zoos it has been observed that they go to sleep one after the other, always in the same sequence and in a precise area. Then abandon yourself to a long nap that usually lasts 16 hours.

Discover many curiosities about turtles and another inhabitant of the Galapagos

This South American viper (Bothriopsis bilineata), thanks to the greenish color of its skin, camouflages itself well among the green of the boreal forest. These are rather small snakes, which do not exceed one meter and a half in length, whose prehensile tail is often found rolled up in branches and shrubs. Thanks to its bright colors it is also called "parrot snake".

The longest reptile primacy goes instead to the reticulated python (Python reticulates), widespread in Asia, Indonesia and the Philippines, which usually exceeds 6.25 meters. The record record is however 10 meters for a specimen spotted (and measured) in Celebes, Indonesia, in 1912.

The peak for a caiman? Have about eighty sharp teeth and hardly ever chew. In fact, this South American reptile (fam. Alligatoridae) uses fangs to hold and kill prey, but not to mince its flesh.

He prefers to swallow piranhas, turtles and birds all whole, as do his alligator "relatives". Fortunately its iron stomach, which contains powerful acids capable of assimilating even bones, shells and feathers, takes care of digesting such "boulders".

And when a too strong bite causes a few canines to jump, the predatory greed doesn't break down. Whenever a tooth falls off, another one grows short. Beautiful comfort!

Find out how to distinguish a caiman from a crocodile
In cold blood (look)

If you see a snake sticking your tongue out, don't worry, it's just trying to figure out if you're edible! In fact, its forked tongue, functioning as a kind of nose, manages to capture the tiny particles present in the air and thus identify any tasty preys.

A dowry useful even in love: the males with the tongue smell the females that are nearby.
Discover many other curiosities about snakes

Do you know which animal has the heaviest tongue?

"Let's get blessed!" When their owner called them that, these two iguanas couldn't believe it. Yet it was all true. The lady put them on her shoulder to take them to the annual blessing of the animals of Los Angeles in California.

In a row with dogs and cats, turtles, pigs, hamsters and snakes, the two patiently waited for their sprinkling of holy water, imparted as usual by a true priest. The Catholic custom was born in 1930 and aims to thank the non-human species of services that have always been offered to man. Even today the procession is opened by a cow, considered the most generous animal. Follow the other farm animals and the lazy, but affectionate, pets close the line.

Look at other beautiful photos of iguanas

Are you looking for strong emotions? Then let go of parachuting and bungee jumping and dive underwater. The latest trend for fearless hearts comes from an amusement park in Darwin, Australia, and consists of a face-to-face bath with a marine crocodile (Crocodylus porosus) of almost 6 meters long.

It takes around 60 euros and a good dose of liver to enter the "Cage of Death", a 14 cm thick plexiglass box that is lowered - not completely - into an area full of crocodiles. So tourists can dive with the mask to admire the reptiles, returning from time to time to the surface to catch their breath.

All for 20, endless - and adrenaline - minutes …

But there are also those who play with sharks (watch)
In the belly of the crocodile (look)
Early talkative crocodiles (listen)

Their sisters are already toasting under the May sun, but these turtles cannot indulge in the pleasure of sunbathing. They are albino and with their delicate skin, they could easily burn themselves.

The two turtles, born last February in the Biological Reserve of Abufari in Brazil, will have to remain sheltered for a few more months. They will then be released at the beginning of next year in the Amazon basin. In the meantime we hope to learn to hide properly. Their whiteness in fact, could immediately jump to the eyes of crocodiles and predators.

Look at other albino animals
And discover many other curiosities about turtles

Seeing it coming in front must not be the best. Also because it is green as it is, this snake of the genus Ahaetulla - which can reach 2 meters in length - is perfectly camouflaged with the foliage of the forests of Southeast Asia, where it lives. And exchanging it for a plant is pretty easy!

But fear aside, there is no need to fear. Its poison is not dangerous for humans, it is barely enough to paralyze the preys of which it is greedy (such as frogs, lizards and small birds).

As for toxins, nature has certainly been much more generous with another snake, the inland Taipan (Oxyuranus microlepidotus) that lives in Australia. A single bite can be lethal: a dose of its venom is in fact sufficient to kill a hundred men.

Anti-stress snake massage (watch)
The attack of the snake without a body (video)
The most fascinating reptiles (watch)

Starting the day with a good breakfast is a priceless luxury. Especially for those who, like cold-blooded animals, can only activate when the air warms up. The only lizard that can feed at any time, regardless of the temperature, is the chameleon (here a Chamaeleo gracilis). In fact, its retractable tongue works perfectly even in the cooler morning climate. A team from the University of South Florida in Tampa filmed specimens of a particular species, the Chamaeleo calyptratus, intent on hunting at different times. Discovering that their language unrolled with the same speed both at low and high temperatures. This is because the researchers explain, to activate it is an elastic tissue based on collagen, which unlike the body muscles is not affected by temperature fluctuations.

Hot or cold blood: which is more convenient?


A passage to a friend never refuses. But when a fearsome alligator offers it and a tortoise lashes it, the story is unbelievable. It happens in a pond of the Myrtle Beach Safari, an adventure park in South Carolina (USA). Myrtle, a 15-year-old turtle, is carried from one bank to the other on Georgia's wrinkled back, an American alligator (Alligator mississippiensis) of 9 years. Occasionally taking advantage of snacks, such as tasty diced chicken, which the attendants offer to the reptile. Georgia, for its part, shows itself as peaceful as a lamb. No one in the park knows how this friendship was born: maybe 4 years of forced cohabitation in the same pond, they "filed" the differences …


If it were not equipped with legs and carapace, this turtle of the Chelidae family could easily be mistaken for a snake. All the fault of the long neck, smooth and super jointed, which earned her the nickname of snakeneck turtle, "snake neck turtle". And it is precisely this curious feature that guarantees the survival of the reptile, widespread in the rivers of Australia, South America and New Guinea. Thanks to the disproportionate neck in fact, the turtle can breathe by placing its head out of the water, leaving the rest of the body submerged and protected from predators.
All the most beautiful photos of turtles (watch)


Do you think golf is an adventurous sport? Maybe it's because you've never seen a game of the Leopard Creek Country Club in Malelane, South Africa. Here there is no risk of getting bored, in fact, in the middle of the field runs the Crocodile River, a packed river - you can guess from the name - of crocodiles.

Nothing could be easier than finding yourself under your nose! As it happened last December to the Spanish golfer Pablo Martin, who approached the 13th hole to retrieve the ball, he found this menacing crocodile with its jaws wide open to welcome him.

See more fantastic crocodile photos

At rest two lizards would seem to be socializing. Instead these guests of the Museum of Natural History in Karlsruhe, Germany, are chlamydosaurs (Chlamydosaurus kingii), Australian insectivores famous for their collar. When they are frightened, the curious reptiles unfold their "chlamys", a patch of richly vascularized skin that they usually keep lying under the head. With this open collar they appear larger and more threatening and have all the credentials to terrorize birds, snakes, dingoes and wild cats. If the enemies show to be calm and not at all impressed, the lizards change strategy and if they give it to their legs running on two legs (the rear ones) until they reach a safe place.

Don't miss the gallery dedicated to cold-blooded animals

Victims of ignorance and superstition, used in traditional medicine as a "remedy" against asthma, tuberculosis, impotence, even cancer and AIDS. In recent days, the Philippine authorities have warned the population against the illegal export of geckos to other Asian countries - such as Malaysia, China and South Korea - where their pulverized bodies or their saliva are used for "curative" use ( in the photo, the mandible and the tongue of a specimen under a microscope). The practice puts first of all the health of patients, who thus deprive themselves of legal and effective drugs, and feeds the illegal trafficking of reptiles, taken from their habitat, killed and sold at exorbitant prices.

More photos of reptiles in this gallery

This cobra probably will not appreciate the milk-based shower to which they subjected it, but in Hindu religion this ritual is part of a feast organized in his honor. During the Nag Panchami, which falls every year between July and August, snakes are revered in ways ranging from offering prayers to their statues, to libations of food - usually honey and milk - made in camps frequented by reptiles or directly on their skin, as in this case. The ritual has a religious basis (it celebrates the victory of the divine Krishna against Kaliya, the serpent god) but it is also a way to exorcise the fear of these animals, which in the summer months, due to the frequent rains, come out of their dens and they take refuge, sometimes, in homes.

Photos of the most incredible religious rituals

A gallery for those with cold blood

After some hesitation these ladybugs decided to abandon their quiet sunny corner on the Uludaz mountains in Turkey, to get a "tear" from the chameleon that swayed nearby. Scattered on his skin they do not seem at all worried about the proverbial appetite of their "taxi driver".

The sticky and retractable tongue of the chameleons, which once stretched out can be as long as their entire body, extends in a sixteenth of a second, just enough to capture a cricket, a grasshopper or a fly in mid-air. After conquering the prey the reptile rolls up the tongue more slowly, almost anticipating the morsel.

Don't miss the gallery dedicated to reptiles

The chameleon that changes color with glasses (but will it be possible?)

It's 3, 000 times smaller than its mother, but it will be done. This tiny Galapagos tortoise (Geochelone nigra) hosted by the Taronga Western Plains Zoo in New South Wales, Australia, weighs just 87 grams and a "dot" appears next to the mother's paw, a 256-pound beast. To reach the maternal size, the small one will take about 30 years, and for a long time the ethologists will not find out if it is a male or a female (so much so that it has been given the unisex name of NJ). Galapagos tortoises are among the most long-lived vertebrates and can live for over a hundred years.

See also: the strange habits of the Galapagos tortoises

Other beautiful photos of turtles and a gallery dedicated to cold-blooded animals

That beast of my son: spectacular photos of parents and children of the animal world

You might also like: Small giants grow up. Propitiatory milk Down the hands of the geckos Defensive collar This specimen of a revolving lizard (Draco volans) that is moving from one branch to another, probably was not photographed between 11am and 1am. Because in these two hours flying lizards, which live in the Asian rainforest, usually rest from their activities. According to experts to avoid the sun's rays that are more intense at the end of the morning. The "wings" are formed by a membrane "resting" on very elongated ribs and in flight there are also two "flaps", which are found under the chin. The flight system, however, is used exclusively as a means of locomotion, while in order to escape from a predator, lizard-like lizards prefer to jump from tree to tree.