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03 March 2006 @ 11:29 am
Reptiles from Thattekad  
I wanted to put these pictures in the last post but I'm sure not everyone is comfortable looking at reptile photographs. In fact, I used to feel weird when looking at pictures of lizards or snakes some years ago. Unfortunately, there aren't any books around to help in identification of reptiles in India and I really couldn't get a positive ID from some of India's best natural history mailing lists as well. Maybe it's high time for someone to write such a book... Well, there is a good book - "Book of Indian reptiles and Amphibians" by J.C.Daniels

A skink watching out for danger

Skink up-close. I'm astonished by the iridescence!

Home in the shola floor

Skink feeding on a caterpillar

Lizards like these rely heavily on their camouflage to avoid becoming bird feed

Bhavanabhavanar on March 3rd, 2006 06:36 am (UTC)
Hey I always wonder how far you are from the subjects while taking such great snaps. And if you are far how do you spot them?
Yathinyathin on March 3rd, 2006 07:39 am (UTC)
For these it was something like 3-4 feet or lesser! :)
Preethifiveonehalf on March 3rd, 2006 10:56 am (UTC)
:)) I would try to get as far away as possible from slimy creatures :P
Yathinyathin on March 3rd, 2006 11:00 am (UTC)
They are not actually slimy!! They just feel like a little rough human skin! :)
Preethifiveonehalf on March 3rd, 2006 11:40 am (UTC)
Thanks for sharing that.. it would have taken a lot for me to find that out by myself :)) Don't know why, I marvel at them on tv, photos etc but when it comes to close proximities I am scared even by a house lizard
Premnath Kudvapremkudva on March 4th, 2006 10:18 am (UTC)
Popular misconception on reptiles isn't it.
Prathap Nandakumarprathapbn on March 4th, 2006 05:49 pm (UTC)
very nice photos Yathin!!.. One thing iam a sort of guy who is very scared of seeing lizards live in front of you, i run away seeing house lizards!!!. I dont know why so much fear.. do i think they are like little dangerous dinos or they look nasty..

But the contrast is i fancy seeing lizard photos or videos on TV or the net. We all crave for watching dino movies, right!?.. why? they look so spectacular and sensational.. While watching on TV too I see that little bit of 'dino'ism in them and feel amazed about these remarkable reptiles..

Its Love and Hate together, i dont understand why?
Premnath Kudvapremkudva on March 4th, 2006 05:21 am (UTC)
Heh! At home their camouflage is useless ie of the household lizard thankfully skinks don't enter. So far more than a dozen lizards have been martyred in our house in just 4 years;-)
Philipbluesmoon on March 4th, 2006 09:22 am (UTC)
they don't need camouflage at home. no one's trying to eat them there.
Premnath Kudvapremkudva on March 4th, 2006 10:20 am (UTC)
Houseold lizards change their colour just a little bit. Those that are inside the house are very light in colour, those that outside the house ie on the roof or outside walls are generally very black in colour. I wouldn't know if this is a natural colour change or if they from different spieces.
teemus on March 3rd, 2006 09:42 am (UTC)
We want snake photographs!
Hell's Angelvaishaksuresh on March 3rd, 2006 05:35 pm (UTC)
and of wolves too!
Yathinyathin on March 4th, 2006 03:11 pm (UTC)
I hope to see them one day. Indian wolves are now in isolated populations and are extremely local. :(
ZuZusuzan_s on March 3rd, 2006 01:27 pm (UTC)
He is a pretty fella isn't he? I was fortunate to have a pair of green lizards at my old house. I was able to watch the whole cycle of mating and teeny tiny baby lizard...they were so cute.
kejnkejn on March 3rd, 2006 02:12 pm (UTC)
awww, they're absolutely beautiful!
Praveen Garlapatipraveenkumarg on March 3rd, 2006 02:41 pm (UTC)
The pics have come out well.
shadowquill on March 3rd, 2006 03:34 pm (UTC)
Beautiful. :) Especially the second and third.
drkishoremurthy on March 4th, 2006 10:05 am (UTC)
One of em looks like a Brooks Gecko... The pics of the skinks are too good.. They are usually very fidgety and shy... It is extremely difficult to get close to them.. Nicely done!
Premnath Kudvapremkudva on March 4th, 2006 10:23 am (UTC)
BTW Yathin I wanted to know the name of a bird from you. Sorry no photos with me, you know me and birds and camera don't get along. When I get outside my house at around 6am I hear it singing and generally it will be the only bird singing. When I say singing I mean singing and not some sissy chirping. The fellow will probably have some music sheets in front and will be singing merrily along non stop till it is time for me to get in the house, and will be continuing thereafter.

One day I saw it, it was black coloured bird which very much resembles a robin, with white streaks in its tail and in its wing. It is very common around here.
Yathinyathin on March 4th, 2006 02:59 pm (UTC)
By Robin I assume you mean an Indian robin. So based on size and some id features you've given me, here are my list of suspects:
1. Oriental Magpie Robin
2. White-browed Fantail

And unlikely:
3.Pied Bushchat

Indiabirds is by far India's best bird website and has bird calls as well, so the above hyperlinks should help I guess.
Premnath Kudvapremkudva on March 6th, 2006 03:41 am (UTC)
My bird looks like a fuller ie rounder version of the Oriental Magpie Robin. But the song was exactly the same, initially I thought it was a completely different bird, but when the bird song piped through the speakers (yes it surprised me) it was as if the very same bird near by house was singing. Except that my bird sang a lot more;-)

PS: Yes that website was AWESOME!
(Anonymous) on March 7th, 2006 04:37 am (UTC)
There are some books !!!
Hi Yathin,

There certainly are books exclusively on Indian Herpetology. The foremost among them is " Book of Indian reptiles and Amphibians " by the grand old herpet of India J.C.Daniels.

The foremost institution of wildlife research in India is the "Bombay Natural History Society".... You can contact them for any help on the Indian Herpetological Fauna (http://bnhs.org/ )

And lastly, Not everybody feels gross while viewing Pics of Skinks and snakes .... I for instance would be glad to see such pics especially from Indian photographers.

May you rest easy in the Green mountains, my friend ....
Yathinyathin on March 7th, 2006 05:56 am (UTC)
Re: There are some books !!!
Yep, I have that book! :)

(Anonymous) on March 7th, 2006 04:41 am (UTC)

By the way, the skink you have photographed is the "Mabuya Mabuya carinata " or the common Indian skink or the Keeled Indian skink.

May you rest easy in the green mountains,my friend .....
depontideponti on March 14th, 2006 01:09 pm (UTC)
Would like to know the size...
How large would this skink be? Do skinks also leave behind their tails when fleeing as lizards do?

Trying to get info without buying the book, as you can see! ;-))
Yathinyathin on March 14th, 2006 01:22 pm (UTC)
Re: Would like to know the size...
> How large would this skink be?

They are about twice/thrice the size of the geckos we get in our city homes

> Do skinks also leave behind their tails when fleeing as lizards do?

Most lizards use this as a good defense against predators, but I'm not sure if skinks do the same.
chainhead on March 18th, 2006 10:15 am (UTC)
Yes .... Skinks shed tails when in danger.
(Anonymous) on June 19th, 2006 10:18 pm (UTC)
very.....interesting...helped me with my school project..
(Anonymous) on September 23rd, 2007 12:30 pm (UTC)
gecko id...
that is not brook's gecko(Hemidactylus brookii).It belongs to the genus Cnemaspis (Day-geckos) (look at the rounded pupil of this one...Hemidactylus brooki has vertical slits for pupils)...

the skink with orange throat is probably a Beddome's skink (Mabuya beddomei) in breeding time.

(Anonymous) on September 23rd, 2007 12:37 pm (UTC)
gecko id...
First of all, congratulations for the beautiful photos.

That is not Brook's gecko(Hemidactylus brookii).It belongs to the genus Cnemaspis (Day-geckos). Look at the rounded pupil of this one, whereas Hemidactylus brooki has vertical slits for pupils. Also the toes of Cnemaspis sp. do not have lammellae like Hemidactylus. Their toes seem to be long and bony, compared with the Brook's gecko (H.brookii is not an uncommon house-gecko). The species, unfortunately, I am not able to identify.

the skink with orange throat is probably a Beddome's skink (Mabuya beddomei) in breeding time.

Yathinyathin on September 24th, 2007 05:40 am (UTC)
Re: gecko id...
Thank you. :)