Saturday, August 23, 2008

Tortoises, Lizards, and Snakes: Oh, My!

The Greater Cincinnati Herpetological Society was at Harmony Hill Winery today, and I spent some time observing the scaly visitors they brought along. By far, my favorite was this guy, Dopey.

Dopey is an African Spur-thigh Tortoise, and very engaging. My first view of him was as he was trying to escape, trucking across the gravel driveway in a most determined fashion. Bad idea, Dopey. As a creature of the most arid parts of Africa, you wouldn't survive long in the humid Ohio River valley, especially once cooler temperatures arrive. Better to stay with your friends, who will feed you zucchini and other yummy vegetables.

"mumble, mrrph, munch, munch.
Yum, yum! Fresh zucchini!"

As I lay on my belly to get a tortoise-eye view of Dopey, he trundled on over to check me out. Don't believe that "tortoise and hare" myth - this guy could move! Soon, he was too close to photograph, even without the zoom lens, and I had to stand up to avoid being mistaken for lunch. I did get this great shot - my fave pic of the day.

"Gotz veggies?"

Another cool critter was this Blue-tongued Skink. He really did have a blue tongue, which he stuck out at me after the shutter clicked on my camera. Every time. I didn't get a blue-tongue picture, but I did get to touch him. He didn't even feel alive, more like some kind of plastic, neither warm nor cool, just "there." For the record, he didn't appear to be that impressed by me, either.

"Dude! What big ear-holes you have!"

Of course, any reptile demonstration has to have the obligatory snake-around-the-shoulders person, and this group had not one, but two. I'm not afraid of snakes, but I am cautious around the big ones, and really cautious around the really big ones.

This is a Dwarf Burmese Python. It felt like linoleum, smooth and pliant.

This is a Boa Constrictor. It felt like... Actually, it felt like I should stand far away from a snake this big. Good grief! You can't even see all of it. Where is its head, for goodness sake?

I don't want any comments about this photo.

Shame on you! I know what you are thinking, and I disapprove.


Lynne said...

This is a family friendly blog right? (scratch that comment...and that comment...)
LOL!! It would be cool to touch those critters but I don't think I'd be at all comfortable holding either of those snakes.

Could you touch Dopey? He's gorgeous. The texture on his domey shell thingies is very neat.

Lynne said...

And Dopey should really get some lotion on his legs.

KatDoc said...

Yeah, Lynne, I know. I took one look at that last picture and thought, "Uh, oh. DON'T go there!"

I did get to pet Dopey, too. The handler just suggested I stay away from his head, because "Dopey looks at everything as potential food." He was pretty neat. I didn't get a shot of the backside of his thighs, where the really big spurs were, but I think he needs a loofah.

Susan Gets Native said...

Aiiiiii!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I can't help it!
I will explode if I don't say it!!!!

"So, is that a big snake in your pocket or are you just happy to see me?"

Ahhh. I feel better.

KatDoc said...

I knew I could count on you, Susan!


Mary said...

Oh My Lord. You are too funny!

KatDoc said...


In truth, I was just looking for a picture that showed off the snake's head. The others I had were back-lit and you couldn't see any details, so I uploaded this one. Then, I really looked at it.