Next Gen Herpetologist

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Listed below are the skinks that you are most likely to see or find in and around Grahamstown.  Family: Scincidae The Scincidae family is considered the most species-rich lizard family in the world. In South Africa, Lesotho and Swaziland combined, there are 59 recognized species and several subspecies. Skinks are characterized by shiny overlapping scales and a cylindrical, robust  body. Most skinks also feed on invertebrates and irrespective of whether they have limbs or not,… Read More

  Yesterday, Luke and I conquered tick bite fever and to celebrate, we ventured to Alicedale in search of the elusive berg adder, a species of dwarf adder which has not been seen in the region for over 75 years. To give context to the story, we had been in Alicedale one week prior and whilst we did not find the fabled berg adder, we did manage to find pepper ticks, lots… Read More

Cape Girdled Lizard (Cordylus cordylus)  Family: Cordylidae Size: 13-19cm Life span: Up to 15 years in captivity Diet: Most insects, snails, millipedes and occasionally small amounts of vegetation Description: Mottled brown, often with pale dorsal stripe, they also have a spiny tail, are strongly keeled and have a yellow to dull red-brown belly Number of young: 1-3 per year Conservation status: Least concern Enemies: Many small carnivores, including: Snakes and  birds of prey (especially… Read More

So now that winter is coming to an end, snakes and other reptiles are starting to become far more abundant. One species that has become particularly abundant in the last few weeks, is the puff adder (Bitis arietans). To give context, in the last week, I have come across three puff adders. Two of them were average-sized adult males and the the third was a very large, very pregnant, female puff adder, which… Read More

Today I accompanied Gareth to Kwandwe Private Game Reserve. He was looking for friends, because as I am sure you know, zoologists have few in the way of friends. Zoologists tend to keep to themselves, and when they do interact, they end up talking incoherently about the misconceptions of elephant-ecosystem interactions. Gareth is a prime example. But enough about that! Let’s rather talk about his project. Today he was setting up camera traps at Kwandwe Private Game… Read More

Augrabies, Northern Cape Grahamstown, Eastern Cape Umhlanga, Kwazulu Natal

Short-legged Seps Family: Gerrhosauridae Scientific name: Tetradactylus seps (Linnaeus, 1758) Size: 13-18cm Diet: Mainly bees and grasshoppers Description: Possesses a dark bronze head, body and tail with slightly fainter flanks. The belly is olive to bluish grey with irregular bands on the neck. There are whitish spots on the lip and the lower eyelids are scaly. The tail is twice the length of the body and the limbs are vastly reduced but… Read More