The reptile house has always been a place I love to visit at zoos and animal parks, so it was definitely on my list when I went to Bristol Zoo. Even as a child I have been fascinated by these prehistoric looking creatures and I loved that they looked like mini dinosaurs. As ever, half the fun of the reptile house is spotting what is actually in the enclosure as they are usually well hidden and camouflaged. This was certainly true of the snakes that day who were not at all co-operative as photographic subjects. Some, however, are right out in the open like this feisty little fellow below who was perched atop a rock giving everyone the bad-eye as if to challenge them.
The second photo is of an Iguana of which their are many species. Most can be found native in warmer countries in forested areas and some species are now vulnerable due to de-forestation. The marine Galapagos iguana is different being the only one of the species that chooses to swim in the sea to feed on seaweed, as all iguanas are vegetarian. The large male in the photo was sat on a high vantage point warming himself. Vigorous head-bobbing is an important signal in iguana society and high territorial vantage points mean that a head-bob signal can be seen by all iguanas in the area.
The Giant tortoises were out grazing in the morning sun. The male giant tortoise at Bristol Zoo Gardens is currently at the centre of a debate as previously it was thought to belong to a species called the Aldabran giant tortoise, but in the last few years, it has been suggested that it may be a survivor from a species that was thought extinct - the Seychelles giant tortoise. The Zoo's male is thought to be over 80 years old - a survivor from an almost extinct species. The head and legs are much too big to be completely withdrawn into the shells as it does not need to serve as protection from predators because there are none on the islands where they evolved. Little is known about Seychelles giant tortoises in the wild, because none are believed to be alive there.The Aldabran giant tortoises still survive in large numbers on their island home, largely free of predators and competitors.
I know reptiles might not be everyone's favourite creatures but I think they have they're own characters. My family had four tortoises as pets when I was a child and each one had different traits. The most memorable was called 'Rocket' and he would challenge everyone in the garden by head butting their feet!
Bristol Zoo is not a large zoo, but it certainly goes to great pains to recreate the habitats for the animals so that they have good quality of life and they do much work to conserve threatened species through captive breeding programmes and public awareness. If you are ever in the area I recommend a visit!
I went to see mum this weekend and she is perkier in herself which was nice to see. I think she has accepted that she will be there for a while yet and that she is likely to need more IV antibiotics. I think this is largely to do with her diabetes finally being managed properly, so hoorah for that! On the downside her leg infection is still getting worse so it looks likely that she will have to go on IV antibiotics again and keep a good close eye on her kidneys. To do this they will have to fit the cannula into her neck, which will require minor surgery, as they have exhausted areas to put needles and things into her arms (they are covered in bruises as a result!). Anyway, we will hopefully find out more tomorrow. It was my dad that I really felt for as I went to see him also as he seems to be getting a bit lonely. Fingers crossed this next intervention (whatever they decide) works. Thanks to everyone who has dropped by to offer well wishes and prayers. I really do appreciate it, you have no idea how much.