amphibians and reptiles
AFROTROPICAL Tropical & Subtropical Savanna

The lizards and snakes of the African bush...

Class Amphibia

Order Anura: Frogs

(Amuka Lodge, Uganda)

Ptychadena spp., 'Ridged Frogs', 'Rocket Frogs', 'Grass Frogs'. Medium sized frogs. As suggested by the  first common name, they have several lined ridges running along back from eyes to rear. Many species have a sharp snout. The typanum is obvious. The legs have barring. The second common name is due to their leaping abilities, as they have long strong legs. In dry times, they are known to shelter in mud cracks in the ground. They are common and widespread in open habitats and forest edge, across Africa. One species has reached Madagascar and surrounding islands, the only amphibian to naturally occur in both mainland Africa and Madagascar. 

Class Reptilia

Order Testudines, Turtles

Family Testudinidae: Tortoises

The Tortoises reach their highest diversity in southern Africa, where there are 14 species. 

Kinixys spp. 'Hinge-backs', 'Hinged Tortoises' 

Hinged Tortoises are only found on mainland Africa. They often have a flat look to the top of the shell.

(Hluhluwe-Imfolozi, South Africa)

Order Squamata, Lizards & Snakes

Infraorder Iguanomorpha

Includes the Agamid Dragons, Chameleons and Iguanas

Family Agamidae: 'Dragons'

(Note: This image has been flipped to show the reptile horizontal, as it is actually clinging vertically to a wall -Queen Elizabeth National Park, Uganda)

Acanthocercus ugandaensis, 'Uganda Blue-headed Tree Agama'. Split off from Acanthocercus atricollis. Colourful males very territorial. Found on tree trunks, as well as rocks and termite mounds, but most often seen on the walls around lodges, in open habitats in Uganda and Tanzania.

Infraorder Gekkota; Geckos

This infraorder contains the seven families of geckos.

Family Gekkonidae, 'Common Geckos'

This is the largest and most widespread family of Geckos. 

Whenever I hear the name Wahlberg I think: "What...? No...!" from the Happening.

Homopholis wahlbergii, 'Wahlberg's Velvet Gecko' (Hluhluwe-Imfolozi, South Africa). Large gecko, sometimes seen around human habitation; this one was photographed at the toilet block in a national park; yes, I often carry my camera when I am going to the the toilet.

Family Scincidae

Trachylepis spp. 'Mabuya'

A genus of about 90 species.Trachylepis (previously Mabuya), 'Typical Skinks' are often the most obvious skinks in the African bush. They are usually small with stripes along the body. They are found mostly across Africa, although one species has colonized islands all the way to South America.

(Kilwa Kisiwani, Tanzania)

Trachylepis varia, 'Common Variegated Skink, 'Savanna Variable Skink'. Found in southern and eastern Africa. may be split into different species.

Trachylepis maculilabris, 'Speckle-lipped Skink/Mabuya'. Found in open habitats, including round human areas. Found across tropical Africa. Those recorded on islands are now considered separate species.

Famly Elapidae

(Hluhluwe-Imfolozi, South Africa)

Dendroaspis polylepis, 'Black Mamba'. Very large and very venomous snake. It is not black, except on the inside of the mouth when open in threat display. It seems to have a 'smile' on it's lips. Probably because it knows you won't muck around with it! 

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