Monday, March 17, 2014

Trip to Staten Island Zoo, Fall 2013

For the fall 2013 Herp Club field trip, we found ourselves in Staten Island on October 27th. Our visit to the Staten Island Zoo was a very memorable experience (I, personally, found their viperid collection to be very impressive).

During the visit, we were given the grand tour of their herp collection- including the behind-the-scenes tour. As is shown below, the Staten Island Zoo is well known for their immense snake collection, specifically pit vipers (this was skewed a bit more by my personal bias towards them). The exhibits were beautifully realistic and well made, resembling the animals' natural settings. We had further learned about the unseen workings of a zoo through the behind-the-scenes tour. And, as an extra bonus, we were brought to the nursery to see some baby mammals (see below).

Even though we had a long drive to get there and back, it was definitely worth it. Here are just some of the amazing animals we saw:

One of our local venomous species, the timber rattlesnake (Crotalus horridus).
This one is demonstrating its' wonderful camouflage (also called cryptic coloration), which is useful for being hidden from both predators and prey.
The cottonmouth (Agkistrodon piscivorus), another venomous viper found in the U.S., commonly called the water moccasin.
These snakes can look slightly similar to certain nonvenomous watersnakes (Nerodia), which can have big implications if you misidentify them.
Sidewinders (Crotalus cerastes), like the one below, are found in southwestern U.S. deserts.
Their common name is a reference to the unique and efficient way they move across sand (aptly called: sidewinding)
Found in the Great Basin region in the United States, we have the (appropriately named) Great Basin rattlesnake (Crotalus oreganus lutosus).
Hopefully a common theme that you can see is the appropriate names that many snakes have.
The speckled patterns help to ID this speckled rattlesnake (Crotalus mitchellii)
 A nicely decorated pit viper
 The eyelash viper (Bothriechis schlegelii), found from Mexico to Columbia.
The 'eyelashes' (bristle-shaped scales above the eye) that give it the name are difficult to see in the picture. 
A personal favorite, the West African gaboon viper (Bitis gabonica rhinoceros)- found in... West Africa. 
And, note how the subspecies is 'rhinoceros', this indicates the presence of horn-like nasal scales (as shown here).
We move away from vipers with this elapid. Without a raised hood, this Egyptian cobra (Naja haje) gives us a
more non-aggressive appearance than the popular 'hooded' image of them... either way, they are quite venomous.
 Moving onto a less venomous colubrid, is the Asian vine snake (Ahaetulla prasina).
 Their fangs (unlike all of the snakes shown above) are located in the back of their upper jaw (called: rear-fanged or opisthoglyphous).
A desert exhibit, complete with several rattlesnakes and a beaded lizard (Heloderma horridum).
A horned lizard (Phrynosoma), giving the camera a stink-eye.
A very nicely colored blue tree monitor (Varanus macraei).
Here is a moving display which nicely demonstrated snake jaw movement and how they are able to have such a large gape.
From the nursery: a young binturong (Arctictis binturong), adorable and shy.
From the nursery: A young porcupine (Family: Erethizontidae), very shy.
From the nursery: two-toed sloth (Choloepus), very charismatic and not shy at all.
For More Information 
Staten Island Zoo:
Photos and Post by Joey Chase
P.S. This blog was long, past due, so I apologize

No comments:

Post a Comment