Friday, June 15, 2007


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 The head and legs are much too big to be completely withdrawn into the shells as it does not need to serve as protection from predators because there are none on the islands where they evolved.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!

Mum Update

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.


craziequeen said...

I like reptiles - just don't try and hand me one......

But then my signs are, respectively, scorpio, dragon and snake....speaks for itself really.

Keeping your mum and dad in my thoughts, honey.


Mr. Althouse said...

I'm glad to hear there is some good news with your mother. Hopefully she will be able to conquer that infection and return home soon.

The photos of the reptiles are amazing. I especially like the first one - if looks could kill!

Michele sent me,


Paul said...

Speaking of you Mum: Where did you get that picture of my Mother-in-law?

Beckie said...

The reptiles are interesting to look at and read about, but I am with craziequeen - I don't want to touch them.

I am glad that your mom was a bit perkier. Hopefully they will get that infection taken care of.

Melody said...

Wonderful photos. At my local zoo, you would LOVE it - loads of crocodiles. Even though they don't seem to do a hell of a lot besides bask in the sunshine (when the sun is out!) I reckon I could watch them watching you for hours...

Still thinking of you and your parents over here in FNQ. Chins up.

srp said...

I like the turtles and the lizards are fine as well... but not the snakes.

It seems as if our mothers are having similar problems. They took mine back to the hospital today as her leg was so swollen. It was a little red, but hers tend to do that. No fever but they keep talking about a cellulitis. No drainage from the surgical incision. Her surgeon is seeing it in the morning to decide what to do. Diabetes really makes healing hard... I guess she was just very lucky with the other knee.

Ramona said...

I too, love reptiles, even snakes! Your photos are awesome, you must have a real fancy-schmancy camera!
Glad to hear that your mom is doing better. The central line will definately make it easier for her, the line can also stay in much longer than a regular IV.

David said...

head bob in the direction of your reptile pictures, they are great. prayers for your mom and dad, and a pat on your back for taking such good care of them.

R. Sherman said...

I'm glad things are better for your mother.

Iguanas are really laid back creatures, willing to share their sun-bathing rocks with the odd human or two, without so much as a second glance.


diyadear said...

gud to know ur momo is recoverng.. n eeks on reptiles.. tortoises r ok.. but snakes n the likes give me a chill down the spine..

the fat lady said...

Love your reptiles! I used to race chameleons as a child. We built little "lanes" for them. I also used to "liberate" snakes from nasty little boys who thought I'd be afraid of them because I was a girl. I'd grab the snake and turn it loose, giving them a lecture which began "How would YOU like it...."!(lol) Actually, they feel pleasant to the touch. Uh, the snakes, as well as the boys! (lol)

Our best wishes, good thoughts and all that is wonderful go out to your mum. I hope you can keep an eye on what is prescribed for her. Here in the States, "pill-piling" (adding medication to deal with the side effects of another prescription) has reached epidemic proportions, often with unsatisfactory result. Always check the listings in the PDR (an american list of drugs and their uses and side effects) or Brit equivalent, and discuss any questions with your doctor. We want mum to get well, and soon!

OldOldLady Of The Hills said...

How did I miss the Reptile post? I swear I was hear over the weekend....(Am I losing my mind...? OY! I hope
I LOVE these pictures....I find these prehistoric looking creatures utterly fascinating...I wish they could speak our language and tell us all about life in their world....! I think that Bristol Zoo is quite extrordinary Bob-Kat....I don't yhink I personally have ever been privaleged to see so many wonderful species in such natural looking habitats....That this Zoo cares so very much is trult wonderful!

I truly hope they can get that infection under control....It sounds quite ghastly all around and I feel for your Mom....I really do. And your dear has to be terribly hard on him. Prayers will continue from this side of the pond, my dear....Hugs To You!

mar said...

I have small lizards and geckos in my garden, I like to think of them as small dinosaurs. They are just the right size :)
Great pictures again!
Glad your mum is perkier. That might help your dad too...

Ps said...

Gald ur mom's so much more cheerful.The attitude counts so much in a speedy recovery.

So finally--a difference bewteen us--I usually avoid the reptile sections in the zoos..But starngely they emerge in my paintings!

These shots u have taken are really good.

utenzi said...

I really like that first picture, B-K. He shows a lot of character!

Shephard said...

Reptile houses and Nocturnal houses are always some of my favorite exhibits in zoos. :)

I love the first photo esp. Very dinosaur looking!

Crossing fingers for your mom.

Little Miss Muffet said...

the first pic really got my attention! glad to know that there is atleast some good news with your mother..hope she gets better :)