Wednesday, July 16, 2008

The Nordic Ark, July 12th 2008. Part Eighteen

Some more critters from the outdoors area of the Wetlands.

Some of the enclosures had things in them that we couldn't spot. Like the two catfish that have a big pond with dark water ... we gave up on that one pretty quickly. :-) And there is a toad that seems to have the power to render itself invisible. ;-)

The sand lizard (Lacerta agilis) is not found in Norway, but is not dissimilar to the viviparous lizard (Zootoca vivipara), the world's northernmost reptile (as in: it is found further north than any other reptile :-) which is found here. (This is the species that we Norwegians call firfisle.) KAS took a great picture of it. C. and I mostly saw it partly concealed by a rock on the edge of its pond, from which it seemed to be taking some sips of water.

(There may have been more of them in the enclosure, but we only saw the one. They have fantastic camouflage, and each enclosure was species-specific so that the animals had plenty of opportunities to conceal themselves in their environment. :-)

One enclosure held some of the snakes that are native to Scandinavia. I spotted two, both different species. One may have been Vipera berus (hoggorm), although it was hard to be sure. We could only see part of the animal and the markings on it were ... inconclusive. :-) The other was clearly Natrix natrix (buorm), and it was quite active, moving around the enclosure and 'posing' pretty well for some pictures. :-) Based on the size I suspect it was a female (they are significantly larger than the males).

These froggies were fun. I'm pretty sure they are of the species Edible Frog (Pelophylax esculentus). The Ark hatches many hundreds of these every year and is heavily involved in a project to restock natural habitats with them in Scania and on Öland and Gotland. 12 862 of these animals have been hatched at the Ark and then released into the wild over the past 12 years. :-o C. and I spotted one in the enclosure and C. was eager to take a picture. But the little critter started jumping and wouldn't sit still to be photographed. How annoying. :-) But then when we looked more closely at the patch of moss it had been sitting on - look, there's one! And there's two more! And, wait, is that one? And there's one too! :-D Five of them were cooling themselves off in the moss, but at first, even though we were basically looking straight at them, we couldn't see them ... :-) There are four in this photo, can you spot them all? :-)

(Photo credit: KAS)

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