black-breasted leaf turtle

Growing no longer than four inches, the black-breasted leaf turtle is one of the world’s smallest turtles. This primarily terrestrial turtle blends in with leaf litter on the forest floor. Like a chameleon, it can move its eyes independently, which presumably provides an advantage when pursuing prey.

Spiny-tailed Monitor

As its name implies, the spiny-tailed monitor has a long tail that is ringed with spines or ridges. Wedging its tail into a rock crevice, the spines help to hold the monitor in place and make it difficult for a predator to pull the lizard out.

Chuckwalla

The chuckwalla is a diurnal lizard that emerges from its rocky shelter to bask in the sun and forage for leaves and fruit during the day. When faced with a coyote, hawk or other predator, the chuckwalla scurries into a rock crevice and inflates its body to wedge in tight for protection.

Green Basilisk

 

A member of the iguana family, the green basilisk lizard spends most of its time in the trees and is never far from water. When faced with danger, the basilisk will drop from a tree into the water and sprint across the water’s surface on specially designed feet to escape.

 

Yellow Pond Turtle

An omnivore, the yellow pond turtle uses its beak-like jaws to eat both small animals and aquatic plants. A semi-aquatic species, the yellow pond turtle has webbed toes and never strays far from water. Most active at night, it spends a good deal of time basking during the day.

Lace Monitor

During the breeding season, a female lace monitor digs a hole in a termite mound and lays up to 12 eggs inside. The termites patch up the hole, keeping the monitor eggs warm inside. The female returns about nine months later when the eggs hatch to help the hatchlings dig their way out.

The lace monitor uses its long sharp claws to climb trees and seeks shelter in tree hollows.

 

Loggerhead Musk Turtle

When threatened, the loggerhead musk turtle secretes a foul-smelling liquid from glands at the base of its tail that has earned it the nickname ‘stinkpot’. Growing up to five inches long, this omnivorous turtle is found in muddy-bottomed lakes, ponds, and streams in the southeastern United States.

Eastern Indigo Snake

This marvelous blue-black snake is the longest non-venomous snake found in the United States, reaching lengths of up to nine feet. There may be a slight red or cream-colored area on the chin or cheeks.  It hunts for small mammals, birds, frogs, fish, and even other snakes during the day.

Helmeted Turtle

Making its home in temporary marshes, mud pits and watering holes of the savannah, the helmeted turtle is an aggressive predator of small aquatic creatures.  Groups of helmeted turtles have been known to work together to take down larger prey such as a bird.  At the end of the rainy season, the turtle burrows into a mud hole bottom until the rains return.

Florida Pine Snake

The Florida pine snake burrows in sandy soils of pine woodlands and scrubland in the Southeastern United States. It primarily preys on pocket gophers, but also eats other small mammals, lizards, and eggs. Though non-venomous, it will inflate its body, rattle its tail and hiss loudly when threatened.