Friday, August 29, 2014

Hawaii 3

WOW! Look at that lizard!

I could spend all day watching and photographing these geckos. So I did. These geckos are so pretty! I would totally buy car insurance from one if it asked me. Originally from Madagascar and released by a University of Hawaii student years back with the purpose of filling my heart with joy and saving me a trip all the way to Madagascar, this is the gold dust day gecko.

Really cute!
Phelsuma laticauda which is Latin for "I should get a new hobby."

I could easily post one hundred more pictures and rant about how gorgeous these geckos are, but I'll spare you from boredom and post this equally self-indulging video instead. 

But there is still some boring science to be learned! Geckos, and lizards in general, tend to be visually oriented animals. Our star knocks down a piece of debris at the :12 second mark with its tail and immediately changes its gaze towards the falling object. Unfooled, the insurance spokesperson goes onto to examine the camera, spending most of the video staring directly at it. There is also a tongue flick at :43 seconds probably picking up my greasy fingerprints on the casing of my GoPro. So unfortunately, I didn't capture a lizard behaving completely "naturally" in its "natural environment," but it does show you that lizards aren't (completely) dimwitted cold-blooded lugs. They're creatures that are keenly aware of their environment and smart enough to realize when someone is trying to record them with a camera.

Wow! Look at that lizard!

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Hawaii 2

Little frog big bromeliad

You might think Hawaii is a horrible place to live if sea turtles are the only reptile readily available, but thanks to the meddling of the human race, the islands are overrun by a handful of species of lizards and frogs. Perhaps the most exciting amphibian to see is the aptly named green and black poison dart frog.

Still not hunting mosquitoes
It really is green and black!

It's so exciting that you should forget about the other less exciting slimy jumpy things. But it's true, the only other frogs on Oahu include the cane toad, which is the quintessential boring toad and the American bullfrog, arguably the standard frog. There is also the Japanese wrinkled frog, but it's not terribly exciting (unless you're a weirdo who likes to find reptiles and amphibians...) and I failed at getting a nice picture of one. If only there were some fast and easy way to search for images on the internet. Oh well. Here's another fun and exciting poison dart frog.

Hunting for not mosquitoes
Green and black poison dart frog? More like "fun and exciting poison dart frog."

These were intentionally released in an attempt to control the mosquito population in the wetter areas of the island, but they shirked this responsibility and are now one of the most popular attractions for visitors to this great state, further solidifying its status as a vacation hotspot. Even though we're taught the evils of moving animals around the globe, what a cool species to introduce. Someone should give that guy a Nobel Peace Prize. 


Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Hawaii 1

Turtle with meddling beachgoers
See turtles here. 

Hawaii. What negative things are there to say about Hawaii? Nothing. Hawaii was paradise. Between the beach, Spam, and streets overrun by Japanese tourists, what more could you want? Oh yeah. Reptiles. So without further ado, here is Hawaii's own green sea turtle: the Hawaiian green sea turtle.

Turtle sleeping on beach

And what's better than just one measly sea turtle? Two measly sea turtles.

"What do you want to do today?" "I dunno, what do you want to do today?"
"What did one sea turtle say to the other?
We're BOTH sea turtles."

And what could be better than two sea turtles? Three sea turtles, of course. But I don't have a picture with three sea turtles even though there were five of them lying on the beach together. Instead, here's this exciting shot of a sea turtle getting hit by the sea.

Turtle getting hit by the surf

And that's all for Hawaii's native reptiles. Every other slimy or scaly creature is an evil introduced hitch hiker, besides the rarely seen yellow-bellied sea snake which floats throughout the entire Pacific Ocean.

Turtles with more awestruck viewers