reptiles in lockdown
Lockdown here in the UK and elsewhere due to Covid-19 means that we are not going anywhere soon on a plane. We desperately miss wonderful friends in Cuba and its diverse wildlife but everyone's safety needs to be paramount. We do however see that our Cuban friends are continuing to take some great photos so I'm going to share some of those from Karlos Ross, the bird guide at Holguin (you can see others on the Reptiles page). The first is one that we have only seen once, if I had the id of that one correct - a Cuban Curlytail Leiocephalus cubensis. There is no doubting the identification of this male though. It is one of the 132 species of endemic reptiles found in Cuba and one of six species in the genus. It is said to be widespread in the island but I am doubtful that that is correct. It must be far from common or we would have come across it more than we have on our travels. It's not something that we would have overlooked.
Next are two of the Anolis. The first of which is Cuban Brown Anole Anolis sagrei the commonest reptile on Cuba with its distinctive red dewlap with a cream border. And the other is Cuban Coast Anole Anolis jubar which I believe is found just in the eastern half of the island. The males have a distinctive crest on the tail but I'm not sure whether they have this all year round. Their dewlap is similar but shows more yellow-orange at the base of the dewlap.
And Cuban Twig Anole Anolis angusticeps is another that is said to be widespread that we have only seen once though is perhaps easier to overlook.
And finally one of the many beautiful snakes of Cuba. We see only two species quite commonly and they are the Cuban Racer Cubophis cantherigerus and the Giant Trope Tropidophis melanurus which seem to be largely diurnal. I suspect the reason that we don't see any others is because they are nocturnal though it has to be said too that most are also extremely range restricted. This one is the Gracile Banded Trope Tropidophis wrighti found in the eastern half of the island. Most people in Cuba are fearful of all snakes and kill them without hesitation despite them not being a danger.
Thank you Karlos for sharing these great pictures.
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Here we will post interesting news about what we and others have seen in Cuba.