Animals

Reptiles in Danger of Extinction

Reptiles are animals with a very wide distribution. Unfortunately 658 species are in danger of extinction and 368 in critical danger of disappearing 1] , according to the most important inventory of biodiversity, the Red List of the International Union for Conservation of Nature. In this GreenEcology article we will present several species of reptiles that are in danger of extinction and what degree of responsibility we have as humans in the face of this terrible fact.

Iguana azul 

The blue iguana, also called Cyclura lewisi , is endemic to the Cayman Islands. It is in danger of extinction , but fortunately its communities are increasing. To date there are already 443 adult specimens thanks to the Blue Iguana Recovery Program started in 2002, made up of national and international efforts collaborating together. The population is expected to have stabilized in three generations.

With the scientific name of Glyptemys muhlenbergii , the marsh turtle is endemic to the United States and is critically endangered . In a period of 20 years, the populations of marsh turtles decreased by 50% and, currently, they occur in 85% in private sites, which means that their loss is due to illegal trade.

Tarzan Chameleon 

The Tarzan chameleon, Calumma tarzan , is named after the Disney character and is a species of lizard endemic to Madagascar, specifically from the eastern region of the island called Alaotra-Mangoro. There are only two populations that are being fragmented by deforestation, leaving little hope for genetic reproduction or recombination, which is why they are currently in critical danger of extinction .

Marbled gecko

The Oedodera marmorata , it is a gecko that is severely threatened by nickel mining in New Caledonia, a group of islands in Oceania. They are also often caught for sale, especially in foreign markets, despite the fact that it is legally prohibited. It is characterized by having legs, especially when we speak specifically of its fingers, and very large eyes compared to the rest of the body. The head has neither spines nor ridges and is usually flattened.

Nickel is a metal found in minerals such as nickelin that serves as a conductor of electricity and heat. In fact, New Caledonia is one of the world powers that has deposits for the extraction of nickel. If you want to know more about how mineral extraction affects the environment , take a look at this other post.

Lagarto cocodrilo 

Endemic to China and Vietnam, the crocodile lizard or, scientifically speaking, Shinisaurus crocodilurus , has been completely extinct from the Hunan province, although globally it is in danger of extinction . It is a semi-aquatic species, which if not humidified can go into a state of total inactivity even in the face of any stimulus, which makes it an easy prey.

Mindo horned anole 

The Anolis proboscis is endemic to the cloud forests of Ecuador and is difficult to find due to its habits associated with the arboreal canopy. For this reason, it was believed extinct in 1950 , until later some specimens were found. However, there is still not enough information to know the trend of its population, although today it is classified as an endangered species . As a curiosity, the tail of this lizard measures more than the whole of its body, in addition to having a pointed nasal appendage that differentiates them from the others.

Gray snake 

The gray snake, Hemiaspis damelii , lives in Australia and, although it is a relatively common species, its populations are declining and highly fragmented, which is why it is currently in danger of extinction . This snake is capable of producing venom and has a relatively small size of between 50 and 70 centimeters.

Green sea turtle

The green turtle inhabits the tropical and subtropical belt around the entire planet. It has already become extinct in the Cayman Islands and Mauritius, and it is also estimated that in Israel it has already disappeared. Still, globally, it is in danger of extinction . Its main threat begins when it lays the eggs, since, like its meat, it is ingested illegally.

Gavial del Ganges 

Gharials, or Ganges crocodiles, are relatives of crocodiles, but they belong to the Gavialidae family , where they have very long snouts, adapted to their fish diet. Currently it is another reptile that is critically endangered , especially in Bangladesh, India and Nepal, but it is extinct in Bhutan, Mynamar and Pakistan. Their populations are increasing thanks to the efforts of multiple sanctuaries and national parks.

Hand turtle 

This land tortoise is endemic to Mexico and lives in the Chihuahuan desert. Since the Pleistocene, their populations have declined due to climate change, seismic activity that has collapsed their burrows over them, and overexploitation by primitive men. This overhunting has spread to such an extent to this day that the pocket turtle is critically endangered.

Other reptiles in danger of extinction

There are many more reptiles in danger of extinction. Therefore, here is a list of 48 other reptiles that are in a state of risk or danger of extinction:

  • Tiger chameleon 
  • Tortuga lora
  • Ancient snake 
  • Strange-nosed chameleon 
  • Southern river freshwater turtle 
  • Cuban crocodile 
  • Shevaroy Mountain Snake 
  • Southern even-toed gecko 
  • Giant Spanish tortoise 
  • Gecko rayado Taom 
  • Anolis culebra gigante 
  • Giant Softshell Yangtze Tortoise 
  • Mitchell’s water monitor
  • Galapagos pink iguana 
  • La Gomera giant lizard 
  • Mona Iguana 
  • Spider tortoise 
  • Fiji crested iguana 
  • Iguana of the Flooded Island 
  • Lesser Antillean Iguana 
  • Sierra Negra giant tortoise
  • Yellow pond turtle 
  • Chinese alligator 
  • Jamaican Iguana 
  • Tenerife spotted lizard 
  • Giant tortoise of Santiago
  • Orinoco crocodile 
  • Painted freshwater turtle 
  • Siamese crocodile
  • Slender-nosed crocodile
  • Giant Asian Tortuga 
  • Borriguero redondo
  • Geometric turtle
  • Borriguero sombrero
  • Valhalla lizard 
  • Viquez tropical snake 
  • Gecko Temiah Rock 
  • Anolis mermelada 
  • A nolis of Corn Island 
  • Barbados thread snake
  • Hindu kangaroo lizard 
  • Bornean earless monitor 
  • Venomous March Palm Adder 

Causes of endangered reptiles

Next, we are going to mention some of the main causes why reptiles are in danger of extinction:

  • Anthropogenic activity : within these, agriculture leads the destructive techniques that modify, or eliminate, the native ecosystems where they live, be they terrestrial or aquatic. Deforestation for wood and pulp, livestock, mining and aquaculture are other economic sectors that fragment their communities.
  • The Trade : Many reptiles have brightly colored beauty and distant origins, creating great demand for them as pets. They are often caught to be traded in foreign markets, which is completely illegal, as many of these endangered reptiles are protected.
  • Displacement by invasive species : they can range from feral cats to ants.
  • Residential, tourist and commercial developments : seeking to meet the demands of a growing world population. This fact has created strong pressures on the quality and quantity of the natural resources on which the reptilia group depends .

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