Gila Monsters - Lake Superior Zoo

Gila Monsters - Lake Superior Zoo

Gila Monsters Heloderma suspectum Range: Mojave, Sonoran & Chihuahuan deserts of the southwestern U.S. Habitat: Desert and semiarid regions of gravel...

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Gila Monsters Heloderma suspectum

Range: Mojave, Sonoran & Chihuahuan deserts of the southwestern U.S. Habitat: Desert and semiarid regions of gravelly and sandy soils with some shrubs. Gila monsters can be found under rocks or in burrows. They are a solitary animal. Diet: The gila monster is a carnivore feeing at night on small mammals, birds or eggs. Lifespan: Up to 20 years in the wild and 30 in captivity. Description: They are a stout-nosed lizard that grows between 18-24 inches long. They are black with orange, pink, red or yellow blotches, bars and spots with bands that extend down the tail. It has small, bead like scales covering their whole body. Breeding: Gila monsters mate throughout the summer months. The female will lay between 3-5 eggs in sandy soils, burrows or under rocks during fall or winter. Behavior/Adaptations: Gila monsters are one of only two venomous lizards. Their teeth have two grooves that release the venom. The toxin is not injected like that of a snake, but ground into their prey when bitten and eaten. Fat is stored in the tail and abdomen that helps the gila monster survive the winter months. They do not have very good eyesight, so they track their prey by flicking their forked tongue out to pick up scent particles in the air. Predators: One defense mechanism to scare off predators is to open its mouth wide and hiss. Humans are known to hunt them for their meat. Conservation: They are listed as vulnerable. The Zoo’s Gila Monsters: Skip and Thud both hatched in 1995. They are on exhibit on the lower level of the Main Building across from Nester the snapping turtle. Interesting Facts:  The gila monster is named for the Gila River Basin of the southwest.  It is often feared in local folklore as being the lizard that spits venom, leaps several feet while swiping at the air to attack, and killing people with gusts of poisonous breath.  It is the largest lizard native to the U.S.  In 2005, the FDA approved a drug for the management of type 2 diabetes based on a protein from the gila monster’s saliva. The drug is sometimes referred to as “lizard spit.” Information taken from the following sources: http://desertusa.net/sep97/du_gilamonster.html http://www.sandiegozoo.org/animalbytes/t-gila_monster.html

LAKE SUPERIOR ZOO • 7210 Fremont Street • Duluth, MN 55807 • www.LSZooDuluth.org

Golden Gecko Gekko ulikovskii

Range: Golden geckos are native to Vietnam. Habitat: Humid, tropical rainforests Diet: Insects such as crickets, mealworms, wax worms; fruits such as bananas and mangos that are rich in calcium. Golden geckos hydrate themselves by drinking from rain that has collected on leaves. Lifespan: 7-10 years Description: Males grow to around 7 inches while females stay around 5-6 inches and their color ranges between light brown and gray (occasionally with light or dark spotting) with a “dusting” of yellow on the back getting more intense towards the tail. The gecko’s underside is often orange, yellow, or pink (this may vary with the lizard’s diet and geographical origin). Like most geckos, the golden gecko has no eyelids and instead has clear, hard lenses over its eyes. It has small granular scales on most of its body that have a “soft” feel to them. Males have a longer tail base, with fleshy knobs at the base of the tail. Pores appear on the insides of the legs. Females have none of these. Golden geckos also have specialized toe pads that allow them to move along vertical surfaces and upside down. Breeding: Approximately thirty days after courtship, the female will lay one or two large white eggs on a chosen surface. Golden geckos are “egg-gluers” meaning that after the eggs are laid, the eggs are permanently attached to whatever surface they were laid on. Incubation times can range from anywhere from 65-200 days if the eggs are fertile. Behavior/Adaptations: They are not very aggressive and are quite calm. Like most geckos, they are nocturnal. Predators: Mammals, birds, other reptiles Conservation: Their population is stable. The Zoo’s Golden Gecko: Chris is male and hatched in 1993. Interesting Facts:  Related to the Tokay Gecko, but less aggressive.  As a defense mechanism, the tail can detach to confuse the predator, giving the gecko time to escape.  Geckos are thought to be the only lizards that call. Depending on the type of gecko and the situation, the noise could be a squeak, click, croak, or hiss. Information taken from the following sources: http://www.reptilesmagazine.com/Care-Sheets/Golden-Gecko-Care-Sheet/ http://kids.sandiegozoo.org/animals/reptiles/gecko

LAKE SUPERIOR ZOO • 7210 Fremont Street • Duluth, MN 55807 • www.LSZooDuluth.org

Crested Gecko Rhacodactylus ciliatus

Range: Crested geckos are found in New Caledonia which is an archipelago located in the Pacific Ocean 750 miles east of Australia. Habitat: Humid, tropical rainforests Diet: Crested geckos are omnivores, feeding primarily on insects, nectar, and fruits and typically feed at night. Calcium and vitamin D3 are vital for the proper growth and development of crested geckos. Deficiencies can result in metabolic bone diseases, which can be fatal, so they have endolymphatic sacs on the roof of their mouth for calcium storage. Lifespan: 10-20 years in captivity. Description: They have a relatively large, triangular head, with two large eyes and two relatively large ear openings on either side of the head. There are a very light tan, peach, or reddish brown-colored granular scales covering their long bodies. They have moderately thick prehensile tails. The back typically has a pattern of lateral, darker stripes. A thin crest projects along either side of the back and also above portions of the limbs. Above the eyes, these crests seem to serve primarily to keep dust and other particles out, but is unknown what purpose is served by the dorsal and limb crests; they may be used in discriminating between potential mates. There are three color morphs that appear in wild crested geckos: pattern-less, tiger, and white-fringed. They have a network of hairs (setae) which allow them to walk on very smooth vertical surfaces, which come in handy when climbing trees. Breeding: Males become sexually mature between 9-12 months of age and females typically become mature at 12 months old. Females are capable of laying 2 eggs every 4-6 weeks and do so 30-40 days after copulation; they retain sperm and may lay up to 4 eggs before copulating again. Breeding and egg laying takes place 8-10 months out of the year. Lower temperatures halt egg production. If a resting period during the colder months does not occur, females may lay eggs year round and are at risk of suffering severe calcium deficiencies. Behavior/Adaptations: Crested geckos are typically solitary, nocturnal animals, which tend to hide in thick vegetation during the day and emerge into the lower canopy at night (usually no higher than 10 feet) to search for food. They are semi-arboreal, very agile, and stealthy. They can jump short distances, from branch to branch, and they are able to hold on to tree branches easily using the adhesive pads on their feet and their prehensile tails. Predators: Dogs, cats, rats, snakes, Henkel’s giant gecko, little fire ant Conservation: They are listed as Vulnerable. The Zoo’s Crested Gecko: Our crested gecko hatched in 2015. Interesting Facts:  As a defense mechanism, the tail can detach to confuse the predator, giving the gecko time to escape, but unlike other geckos, they cannot re-grow their tails.  After hatching, young crested geckos will not eat for the 3-5 days (until they shed their skins for the first time), using stored yolk remains for sustenance. Information taken from the following sources: http://animaldiversity.org/accounts/Rhacodactylus_ciliatus/ LAKE SUPERIOR ZOO • 7210 Fremont Street • Duluth, MN 55807 • www.LSZooDuluth.org

Flying Gecko Ptychozoon kuhli

Range: Widespread in Southeast Asia from the Malayan Peninsula, through Sumatra and Java to Borneo and adjacent islands. Habitat: Humid, tropical rainforests Diet: Flying geckos are insectivores. Lifespan: 7-10 years Description: Kuhl’s Flying Gecko grows to about 8 inches in length. The color varies from browns to greys. The patterns are often very intricate and bark like. A flap of skin extends down both flanks with frills at the sides of the head. There is extensive webbing between the digits and a deeply serrated tail. Breeding: Eggs are laid under a layer of bark and 60-120 days later, the eggs will hatch. Hatchlings are replicas of the adults and will take about a year to mature. Behavior/Adaptations: Also known as “parachute geckos” they have webbed feet, serrated tail, and frills near the head allow this gecko to glide from tree branch to tree branch, but not truly fly. The coloration of their scales and the shapes of their body allow them to camouflage with tree bark really well. Predators: Mammals, birds, other reptiles Conservation: Their conservation status has not been evaluated. The Zoo’s Flying Gecko: The zoo’s flying gecko hatched in 2004 and because males and females look so similar, it’s difficult to tell if it is a boy or girl. Interesting Facts:  Flying geckos can glide for 200 feet.  There are six species of flying geckos. Information taken from the following sources: http://www.gekkota.com/html/ptychozoon_kuhli.html http://www.factzoo.com/reptiles/flying-gecko-useful-skin-flaps.html

LAKE SUPERIOR ZOO • 7210 Fremont Street • Duluth, MN 55807 • www.LSZooDuluth.org

Bearded Dragon Pogona vitticeps

Range: Found only in Australia, widely distributed in the interior, eastern, and southeastern side of continent. Habitat: Prefer semi-arid to arid habitats including woodlands, savannahs, deserts, scrub land, and shore areas. Diet: Omnivorous, consuming a variety of plants, insects, and other small animals in the wild. Lifespan: Average 10 years in captivity Description: Bearded dragons are reptiles that range in length from 13” to 24”, with males generally growing larger than females. They received their name because of the spiny “beard” under their chin that can be inflated for both mating and territorial displays. Wild beardies vary in color based upon the soil from the area in which they live. They can be a dull brown to tan with red or yellow highlights. They have a triangular head, strong tales, short legs, and relatively round bodies. Breeding: Beardies reach sexual maturity between 1 and 2 years of age. Mating involves elaborate courtship rituals with color changes and leg waving. Breeding season is during the warm, summer months. Females dig burrows and can lay up to 24 eggs per clutch. They breed continuously throughout the summer and can lay up to 9 clutches a year. Females have been known to store sperm and lay several fertile clutches from one mating. Once hatched, baby bearded dragons are entirely independent. Behavior/Adaptations: Beardies are very territorial and put on incredible aggressive displays. The beard is inflated and changes color to a dark black. This is often accompanied with open and closing the mouth, and head bobbing. Bearded dragons wave their arms in slow circles as a sign of recognition and submission when faced with aggression from larger members of the species. They are diurnal and perform most activities during the daytime. During the winter months, they enter a state of torpor or hibernation. Predators: Larger carnivores including birds and other reptiles. Conservation: They are neither threatened nor endangered. However, they are commonly used in the pet trade but have been banned from export by the Australian government. The Zoo’s Bearded Dragons: Stormfly, Cloud Jumper and Toothless hatched in 2016. Stormfly is male and the other two are female. Interesting Facts:  Bearded dragons are strong climbers. Young bearded dragons are mostly arboreal until they are full grown (after about one year).  Sticky saliva on their tongue aids in catching prey. Their hard gums are used to crush food.  Bearded dragons may also darken their beard due to emotional agitation.  A “third eye” on the crown of their head helps the bearded dragon with light detection. Information taken from the following sources: http://nationalzoo.si.edu/Animals/ReptilesAmphibians/Facts/FactSheets/Inlandbeardeddragon.cfm http://www.oaklandzoo.org/animals/reptiles/bearded-dragon*/ http://www.torontozoo.com/Animals/details.asp?AnimalId=52112/08

LAKE SUPERIOR ZOO • 7210 Fremont Street • Duluth, MN 55807 • www.LSZooDuluth.org

Chilean Rose-haired Tarantula Grammostola rosea

Range: Northern Chile, Bolivia, and Argentina. Habitat: Found on the ground in burrows in desert and scrub areas. Diet: Insects such as grasshoppers, crickets, moths, beetles, cockroaches, and mealworms. Lifespan: In the wild, males can live to be between 3-10 years and females can live to be 15-20 years old. In captivity, males usually live less than 2 years while females can live to be 20 or more years (the average is 12 years). Description: Rose-haired tarantulas grow to be 4.5-5.5 inches in diameter. Depending on what part of Chile they are from, some are brownish while others are more reddish or pink in color. Like all spiders, they have 2 body parts, the cephalothorax (head and thorax) and the abdomen. Their 8 legs, 8 eyes, and 2 venomous fangs are attached to the cephalothorax while the spinnerets are attached to the abdomen. The individual hairs found on their body may be sensitive to motion, heat, cold, and other environmental triggers. Hairs near the mouth are capable of sensing chemicals that give the spider a basic type of sense of smell and taste. Breeding: These tarantulas reach sexual maturity at 2-3 years of age. Mating season is in September and October. The male develops mating hooks called tibial spurs and swollen tips on both pedipalps which contain a chamber where sperm is stored as well as a syringe-like instrument used to insert semen into the female. The female leaves chemical signals called pheromones in the silk that lines her burrow where the male can find her. The male begins a courtship display and the female responds with a display of her own, usually by tapping her feet on the ground. The male must then leave quickly, avoid becoming prey for the female. Behavior/Adaptations: Chilean rose-haired tarantulas are nocturnal hunters and finds a shelter to web itself into at dawn. Their digestive system is designed to process liquid food only. Their venom interferes with the prey’s nervous system (neurotoxin) or by breaking down the body’s tissues (cytotoxin). To digest its prey, it vomits a mixture of digestive enzymes onto its food, breaking the tissue down into a liquid that can then be sucked up through the spider’s mouthparts. Predators: Large mammals, reptiles, other tarantulas, hunting wasps, and they are sometimes parasitized by nematodes or roundworms. Conservation: Not listed The Zoo’s Chilean Rose-haired Tarantula: Rosie, our female rose-haired tarantula, hatched in 2007. Interesting Facts:  Hairs on the abdomen have been modified to serve as defense weapons. They possess sharp tips with microscopic barbs. When threatened, the tarantula will use its back legs to kick off a cloud of hairs at its attacker. LAKE SUPERIOR ZOO • 7210 Fremont Street • Duluth, MN 55807 • www.LSZooDuluth.org

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In most tarantula species, the female will live for twenty years or more, but the male may survive only the few years required to reach maturity. Once the male has mated with a female, it usually will die of natural causes or the female may eat him. All tarantulas have a certain amount of venom. Although most people are not affected by this species, some people may be allergic to its venom, or just more sensitive, making it a dangerous situation. No human has been known to die from a tarantula bite! Tarantulas have two pairs of booklungs, where most spiders only have one pair.

Information taken from the following sources: http://rosamondgiffordzoo.org/assets/uploads/animals/pdf/ChileanRosehairedTarantula.pdf http://www.zoo.org/page.aspx?pid=1914#.Unk0mXCsiCc

LAKE SUPERIOR ZOO • 7210 Fremont Street • Duluth, MN 55807 • www.LSZooDuluth.org

Mexican Red Knee Tarantula Brachypelma smithi

Range: They are primarily found along the central Pacific coast of Mexico. Habitat: Burrows in rock areas at base of cacti in scrubland, deserts, dry thorn forests, or tropical deciduous forests. Diet: Large insects, frogs, and mice. Lifespan: Males can live to be 10 years old while females can live to be 30 years old. Description: Mexican Red Knee Tarantulas are large, dark spiders that range from 5 to 5.5 inches in length. They have a black abdomen that is covered in brown hairs. Their legs have orange to dark redorange joints, giving them their name. Breeding: Males weave a special web on which he deposits sperm. Mating occurs near the female’s burrow. The male and female face each other, and the female opens her jaws wide. The male uses a special pair of spurs on his front legs to lock her jaws open. They then push each other into a rearedback position. With a second set of legs, the male hold the female down and bends her backwards. The male then collects his sperm with this pedipalps and transfers it to the female’s opisthosoma (a small opening on the underside of the abdomen). The male releases one of the female’s fangs, positioning his legs for retreat. After mating, males will flee as females can be aggressive after mating, with some trying to kill and eat the male. Behavior/Adaptations: Mexican red knee tarantulas are generally docile. When threatened, they rear up to display their fangs. They can also flip barbed hairs off of their abdomen as a defense. When hunting, they will hold down their prey with their front legs and inject their venom to paralyze and liquefy their victims. They consume the juices of their prey, leaving behind undigested body parts. They are typically wrapped up in a web and transported to another area of the burrow. Predators: Birds, lizards, and other insectivores. Conservation Status: Near Threatened. The Zoo’s Mexican Red Knee Tarantula: Esmeralda hatched in 2016. Interesting Facts:  All tarantulas have a certain amount of venom. Although most people are not affected by this species, some people may be allergic to its venom, or just more sensitive, making it a dangerous situation.  They will drop of flick hairs off of their abdomen. These “urticating” hairs are barbed and dig into the skin, causing irritation or a painful rash. If the hairs get into the eyes, they can cause blindness. Information taken from the following sources: http://animaldiversity.org/accounts/Brachypelma_smithi/ http://www.arkive.org/mexican-redknee-tarantula/brachypelma-smithi/ http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mexican_redknee_tarantula

LAKE SUPERIOR ZOO • 7210 Fremont Street • Duluth, MN 55807 • www.LSZooDuluth.org

Madagascar Hissing Cockroach Gromphadorhina portentosa

Range: Only on the island of Madagascar Habitat: Floor of tropical forests, often found near rotting logs, river banks, or under forest debris Diet: In the wild: plants and animal matter. At the zoo: fruits, vegetables, and dog food. MHC prefer plant matter, but will eat carrion if there is no other food available. Lifespan: Up to 2 years in captivity Description: Flightless species of cockroach that can reach almost 3 inches in length. Like all insects, their bodies are divided into three segments. However, when viewed from above, the body appears to be one solid piece. Hissing cockroaches are a dark shade of brown. Males and females are sexually dimorphic. Males have protrusions or “horns” on the front of their head, while females are smooth. The horns are used during breeding, territory defense, and to establish hierarchies. Breeding: Mating can occur throughout the entire year. After eggs are fertilized by the male, they are stored inside a yellowish-colored egg case called the ootheca. This case is stored inside or outside of the female’s body. The female can produce anywhere from 30-60 nymphs. The nymphs molt 6 times over the course of 7-10 months before reaching maturity. Behavior/Adaptations: Cockroaches are extremely durable, primitive insects. Some species are capable of surviving exposure to radioactivity that would be lethal to humans, while others can survive for up to a week without a head. The hissing cockroach has special holes in the side of its body called spiracles. These spiracles are used for respiration and mating/territory displays. When threatened, the cockroach flattens its abdomen, forcing air out through the holes, which creates the hissing sound. The noise may startle a predator long enough to give the cockroach time to escape. Predators: Mammals, birds, reptiles, amphibians, other insects including a parasite called the cockroach mite Conservation: While not threatened, cockroaches are still stereotyped as a pest animal. Out of roughly 3500 species, less than 30 are ever bothersome to humans! These insects are integral to the survival of their environments. Hissing cockroaches are often referred to as the “garbage men” or “recyclers” of the forest floor. They devour plant life that would otherwise suffocate the forest floor. The Zoo’s Hissing Cockroaches: The zoo has a large colony of Madagascar hissing cockroaches. Multiple generations live in the colony, which can be found in the lower Main Building exhibit called Grigg’s Learning Center. Interesting Facts:  When they shed their exoskeletons, Madagascar hissing cockroaches will eat it for the nutrients.  Hissing cockroaches use two appendages at the end of their abdomen, called cerci, to help sense objects around them.  Hissing cockroaches use hissing to communicate dominance, alarms, and for mating rituals.

LAKE SUPERIOR ZOO • 7210 Fremont Street • Duluth, MN 55807 • www.LSZooDuluth.org



Male hissing cockroaches establish a dominance hierarchy within a colony. Males reach the top of the hierarchy by winning horn-ramming battles and hissing more loudly than their competitors.

Information taken from the following sources: http://www.zoo.org/factsheets/hiss_cockroach/cockroach.html http://agweb.okstate.edu/fourh/aitc/lessons/extras/cockroach.pdf http://www.ca.uky.edu/entomology/entfacts/ef014.asp http://www.oregonzoo.org/discover/animals/madagascar-hissing-cockroach

LAKE SUPERIOR ZOO • 7210 Fremont Street • Duluth, MN 55807 • www.LSZooDuluth.org

Giant Stick Insect Baculum extradentatum

Range: Vietnam and surrounding areas of Southeast Asia Habitat: Tropical forest Diet: Herbivores, walking sticks eat leaves from trees and shrubs Lifespan: 8 months to 1 year Description: This species of walking stick is 4-5 inches long. Brownish in color, with six legs, these insects are almost completely camouflaged when they sit still on trees and foliage. They have small antennae that project from their oval shaped heads, and very long, spindly legs to give them more of a stick-like appearance. Walking sticks also have small hooks on the end of each leg to aide in climbing up vertical surfaces. Breeding: Walking sticks reproduce through parthenogenesis which means the females reproduce asexually. As a result males are rare and can be identified by their wings and small size. Females can lay hundreds of small eggs that hatch in 3-4 months. It takes another 4 months for the nymphs to mature. While still young, nymphs have the ability to re-grow legs that may be lost due to attacks from predators. Once they reach adulthood, the walking sticks will survive roughly another 4 months before the end of their life cycle. Behavior/Adaptations: In addition to limb regeneration and camouflage, the walking stick may sit completely motionless for hours to blend in as much as possible. They can also be seen rocking back and forth to imitate a stick in the wind. Predators: Birds and small mammals Conservation: Non-threatened. This species of walking stick is plentiful in its natural range and also prevalent in captivity. The Zoo’s Giant Stick Insects: Our colony of stick insects can be found in Grigg’s Learning Center in the lower level of the Main building. See how many you can spot! Interesting Facts:  There are over 2000 known species of stick insects!  Another name for the giant stick insect is a walking stick.  The world’s largest insect is a type of stick insect—the megastick from Malaysia can get 22 inches long!  Stick insects belong to the order name Phasmatodea, which originates from the Latin word "phasma," meaning phantom. This is only fitting as stick insects seem to mysteriously disappear into their surroundings! Information taken from the following sources: http://www.lazoo.org/animals/invertebrates/vietwalkingstick/ http://www.oaklandzoo.org/animals/arthropods/vietnamese-walking-stick/ http://www.lincolnzoo.org/animals/Vietnamesewalkingstick.php http://www.zoo.org/page.aspx?pid=1926#.WJIQlNIrIdU http://kids.sandiegozoo.org/animals/arthropods/stick-insect LAKE SUPERIOR ZOO • 7210 Fremont Street • Duluth, MN 55807 • www.LSZooDuluth.org

Snapping Turtle Chelydra serpentina

Range: Southern Canada to Florida and throughout west Texas. Habitat: Freshwater, soft, mud-bottomed ponds and lakes with dense vegetation. Diet: The snapping turtle eats anything that crosses its path: insects, amphibians, snakes, plants, snails, small mammals, birds. They do not have teeth but a bony ridge that runs the length of their mouth. Lifespan: 30 years in the wild and up to 50 in captivity. Description: Snapping turtles are the largest of the freshwater turtles in the U.S. They have a dull, rough carapace (which is the upper portion of the shell). They have webbed feet for swimming and long claws for digging. Adults can weigh up to 45 pounds. The largest known snapping turtle in Minnesota weighed 65 pounds and had a carapace length of 19.5 inches. Breeding: Breeding season lasts from April to November. Females can deposit as many as 83 eggs in their nest. The nest sites are some distance from water and usually in high human traffic areas such as roads or backyards. Behavior/Adaptations: Snapping turtles are bold and aggressive fighters. They defend themselves by striking at enemies or predators. They are fast when striking, comparable to the speed of a rattlesnake. They tend to stalk their prey and attack from beneath the water’s surface. They tend to bury themselves in the lake or pond bottom and can stay there for hours, poking the extreme tip of their nose out to breathe. Predators: Humans have been known to hunt and kill these animals for their meat and shells. Eggs and young snapping turtles are the most vulnerable to raccoons, skunks, foxes, and mink. Conservation: The snapping turtle was a species of special concern in Minnesota from 1984-2013 due to over trapping. After regulation revisions, the snapping turtle is no longer listed and it is still legal to trap snapping turtles in Minnesota with a permit. The Zoo’s Snapping Turtle: Nester is male and hatched in 1999. He is on exhibit on the lower level of the Main Building. Interesting Facts:  Snapping turtles get their name because they will snap when approached or feeling threatened.  Water plants make up about one third of their diet.  The snapping turtle pulls its head into its shell by curving its neck vertically, in an S-shape. Information taken from the following sources: http://www.beardsleyzoo.org/teachers-parents/animal.asp?mc_id=597 - defunct http://www.dnr.state.mn.us/rsg/profile.html?action=elementDetail&selectedElement=ARAAB01010 http://www.pca.state.mn.us/common-snapping-turtle LAKE SUPERIOR ZOO • 7210 Fremont Street • Duluth, MN 55807 • www.LSZooDuluth.org

Painted Turtle Chrysemys picta

Range: Most of the United States excluding the southwest; also found throughout southern Canada Habitat: Painted turtles prefer slow moving, permanent waters but they will not hesitate to move over land or spend time in ditches, creeks, streams, and ponds. They prefer areas with large amounts of aquatic vegetation and places to bask in the sun. Diet: Omnivorous, diet includes aquatic plants, insects, crustaceans, snails, small fish, leeches, tadpoles, and carrion. Lifespan: Between 35-40 years, however most individuals will not live that long Description: Small turtle, usually averaging 6 inches in length, with the female being slightly larger than the male. The carapace is most often a dark green color with red, orange, and yellow visible around the edges. The plastron is not hinged, and can be a variety of colors including yellow, orange, and cream. The skin of both males and females is green and covered with yellow markings. Breeding: Courtship occurs at any time during the active season of the year. Males will swim backwards in front of a potential mate and vibrate his front claws on the females chin and head. Receptive females will respond by touching the male’s forelegs with her claws. Females dig a nest cavity and lay between 3 and 20 eggs. Like many reptiles, incubation length and sex of the babies is dependent upon humidity and temperature. Colder temperatures produce mostly males. Behavior/Adaptations: Painted turtles are highly resistant to cold temperatures. They have been seen swimming under the ice on warm winter days or basking when there is still snow on the ground. The dark green color of the shell hides the turtle in murky water and protects it from predators. Other than egg laying and basking, almost all other daily activities take place underwater. Predators: Skunks and raccoons have been known to predate on adult painted turtles. Smaller, juvenile turtles are killed by water birds, bullfrogs, fish, and snakes. Painted turtles frequently get run over by cars while they are attempting to get to a nesting site or while building nests on the side of the road. Conservation: Painted turtles are a common species in North America and are currently not listed as threatened. However, many turtles die annually due to encounters with vehicles. They are also susceptible to pollutants, which make them an important indicator species for local watersheds. The Zoo’s Painted Turtles: Our painted turtle hatched in 2008 and is female. Interesting Facts:  The painted turtle is one of the most common turtle species found in North America. There are four subspecies of painted turtle, two of which are found in the Great Lakes region.  Hatchlings are usually only 1 inch in length!  Turtles don’t have vocal chords, but they can make a hissing sound. Information taken from the following sources: Harding, James. Amphibians and Reptiles of the Great Lakes Region. Ann Arbor: The University of Michigan Press, 1997 Walls, Jerry. Cooters, Sliders & Painted Turtles. New Jersey: T.H.F. Publications, 1996 http://www.torontozoo.com/animals/details.asp?AnimalId=483 http://www.warnernaturecenter.org/animals/paintedturtle

LAKE SUPERIOR ZOO • 7210 Fremont Street • Duluth, MN 55807 • www.LSZooDuluth.org

Red-eared Slider Trachemys scripta elegans

Range: Native range is through Eastern United States down to Mexico. Isolated populations outside of the natural range are usually attributed to human introduction. Habitat: Sliders will live in almost any permanent body of water with enough aquatic vegetation and basking areas. This includes ponds, swamps, lakes, reservoirs, ditches, and slow sections of streams or rivers. Diet: Omnivorous, snails, insects, crustaceans, aquatic plants, seeds, fish Lifespan: Have been known to live over 40 years in captivity Description: Red-eared sliders are a medium-sized aquatic turtle with a predominately olive colored carapace with yellow stripes. The skin is also a dark olive or brown with a varying degree of yellow striping, which is usually more visible on the head. Sliders of a shorter snout and received their name from the bright red stripe of color located behind the eyes. Males have very long front claws that are used while courting females. The plastron of the slider is usually a yellowish color with a dark spot in each scute. This species is sometimes confused with the painted turtle. Breeding: Females produce a clutch of between 2 to 30 oval shaped eggs. Temperature during incubation will determine the sex of the offspring. Mortality rates are high among turtle nests and hatchlings, with 70-100% mortality occurring on an annual basis. Hatchlings that do survive take 2-8 years to fully mature. Behavior/Adaptations: These turtles are referred to as sliders because of the way they quickly slide into the water from basking locations when disturbed. Like many aquatic turtles, they spend most of their day basking in the sun. Red-eared sliders are most active around dawn and dusk, when they will forage for food underwater. Sliders have a lower tolerance for cold than the painted turtle. When water temperatures dip below 50 degrees Fahrenheit, sliders become inactive and will go dormant between October and April. They will usually spend the winter buried in the mud or in abandoned tunnels. Predators: Skunks, raccoons, and other predators will often eat eggs and hatchlings. Adult sliders are most vulnerable to predation while traveling on land. Like other turtle species, red-eared slider mortality has increased due to encounters with humans. Conservation: Red-eared sliders are a common species of turtle. However, they have been greatly damaged in their natural range due to encounters with humans. This species has been extremely popular in the pet trade, and mature turtles are often taken from the wild to supplement breeding stock at turtle farms. They are also shipped over seas for the pet and food markets. In addition, turtles are killed because of the myth that they compete directly with commercial fishermen. Many red-eared sliders are killed by cars annually. Because sliders have been released in places outside of their natural range, there are established populations all over the world. These populations could become competition with naturally occurring animals in those areas. The Zoo’s Red-eared Sliders: Three red-eared sliders live at the zoo with our painted turtle. A male and female hatched in 1998 and our second female hatched in 2011. LAKE SUPERIOR ZOO • 7210 Fremont Street • Duluth, MN 55807 • www.LSZooDuluth.org

Interesting Facts:  Sliders can stay underwater for 2 to 3 hours before they become stressed.  It is illegal to sell a turtle with a carapace less than 4 inches in length as a pet in the United States. However, large numbers of hatchlings are shipped to other parts of the world for sale.  Sliders will sleep at night by laying on the bottom under water or by inflating their throats to help stay afloat and rest at the surface. Information taken from the following sources: Harding, James. Amphibians and Reptiles of the Great Lakes Region. Ann Arbor: The University of Michigan Press, 1997 Walls, Jerry. Cooters, Sliders & Painted Turtles. New Jersey: T.H.F. Publications, 1996 http://www.brandywinezoo.org/red-eared-slider-turtle.html

LAKE SUPERIOR ZOO • 7210 Fremont Street • Duluth, MN 55807 • www.LSZooDuluth.org

Box Turtle

(Three-toed and Eastern)

Eastern Box Turtle

Terrapene carolina triunguis and Terrapene carolina carolina Range: The four species of box turtles in the United States cover most of the eastern half of the country, ranging from southern Maine down to Florida and west to Texas and Missouri. Habitat: Often found near streams and ponds, box turtles like to inhabit woodlands, grassy marshes, and pasture areas. Diet: Omnivorous; they are primarily carnivorous during the first 5 years of life for growth purposes, and eat insects, amphibians, other small reptiles, worms, eggs, and fish. As they age, their diet includes mostly plant matter. Adults eat flowers, fungi, roots, and berries but they rarely eat green leaves. Lifespan: Average 30-40 years, but it may be possible for box turtles to live over 100 years. Description: Relatively small turtle that reaches about 7”, with a high-domed upper shell (carapace) and a hinged lower shell (plastron). Depending on the species, coloration can be highly variable. Some turtles are olive brown colored while others have dark shells with striking yellow patterns. Males generally have reddishorange eyes, while females have tan or brown eyes. Box turtles do not have fully webbed feet like other turtles, or elephantine feet like tortoises. Their feet appear to be a cross between the two shapes. Breeding: Male box turtles have a slightly concave plastron to facilitate mating, while females have a mostly flat or convex plastron. Having a slightly concave plastron allows the males to balance on the females while fertilizing. However, males Three-toed Box Turtle sometimes fall over during mating and get trapped on their backs. Females lay between 3-8 eggs which they bury in sandy areas. It usually takes 3 months for the young to hatch. Behavior/Adaptations: The most obvious and important adaptation of the box turtle is the shell. The hinge in the plastron allows the turtle to completely close its shell. After pulling in all of its limbs and head, the turtle will shut its shell tightly. It is extremely difficult to get the shell open and thus, adult box turtles do not have many natural predators. Box turtles have also been known to eat toxic plants. The toxins can linger in their bodies, making them dangerous for other animals to eat. Predators: Adults do not have many natural predators because of their amazing shells; however, young box turtles have a high mortality rate and are threatened by other reptiles, birds, and mammals. Box turtles are also run over by lawn mowers, hit by cars, and removed from the wild for the pet trade. Conservation: Box turtles are near threatened because of habitat reduction and the pet trade. They are very slow growing and do not reach sexual maturity until about 10 years of age. With the addition of injuries caused by run-ins with humans, box turtles may move to a threatened status in the United States in the future. LAKE SUPERIOR ZOO • 7210 Fremont Street • Duluth, MN 55807 • www.LSZooDuluth.org

The Zoo’s Box Turtles: Helmet, Nate and Harley are our Eastern box turtles and Patch is a threetoed box turtle. Patch and Nate are male and Helmet and Harley are female. Interesting Facts:  There are actually 6 species of box turtles. Four of the species exist in the United States and the other two can be found in Mexico.  The shell of the box turtle has amazing regenerative abilities, which help them survive and recover from injury. Information taken from the following sources: http://nationalzoo.si.edu/Animals/ReptilesAmphibians/Facts/FactSheets/Easternboxturtle.cfm http://www.oaklandzoo.org/animals/reptiles/three-toed-box-turtle/ http://www.bio.davidson.edu/people/midorcas/research/Contribute/box%20turtle/boxinfo.html

LAKE SUPERIOR ZOO • 7210 Fremont Street • Duluth, MN 55807 • www.LSZooDuluth.org

Desert Tortoise Gopherus agassizii

Range: Mojave and Sonoran deserts in the southwestern United States Habitat: Sandy, gravel areas with available shade and desert vegetation Diet: Herbivore: cacti, grasses, wildflowers, and other available vegetation. Rarely drinks water, getting most of the moisture they need from their food. Lifespan: 50 to 80 years in the wild, can be longer in captivity Description: Desert tortoises can weigh between 8 and 20 pounds and have a relatively high-domed shell. Both the shell and the skin are a brownish, olive green. The plastron has a protrusion sticking out from the front (gular horn) that is larger in males than in females. Desert tortoises have large, elephant-like feet that are perfect for walking over sand and gravely conditions. The scales on the front limbs are very large and stick out away from the legs. The thick scales and shell add an important layer of protection from the elements and predators. Breeding: Females do not reach mature breeding age until they are between 15-20 years of age. When competing for a female, males will often fight and try to flip each other over using their long shell protrusion (gular horn). Females lay a clutch of 1-14 eggs. Young tortoises are independent once they hatch. Behavior/Adaptations: Desert tortoises live in an extremely harsh climate and are able to survive ground temperatures of 140 degrees Fahrenheit. They do this by digging burrows with their long claws to protect themselves from the heat and the cold. They spend 95% of their life underground. To deal with a lack of water during most of the year, desert tortoises are able to store excess water in their large bladders. They also dig holes that fill with water during heavy rainfall and drink from the puddle to replenish water supplies. They sometimes prefer to drink water through their nose instead of their mouth. Predators: Bobcats, coyotes, foxes, badgers, ravens, humans Conservation: Federally listed as a threatened species under the Endangered Species Act. The desert tortoise population has decreased by 90% since the 1950’s. Desert tortoises are slow to mature and reproduce, and their already low numbers are shrinking rapidly because of interactions with humans. Tortoises are frequently run over by cars, shot, removed from the wild, or crushed in their burrows by off road vehicles. The Zoo’s Desert Tortoise: Ozzie is a male desert tortoise and hatched in 1981. He weighs about 20 pounds! Interesting Facts:  Desert tortoises are considered a keystone species in desert ecosystems because their burrows provide homes for other wildlife and are important seed dispersers.  Females can store sperm and lay fertile eggs for up to 15 years after mating a single time with a male. LAKE SUPERIOR ZOO • 7210 Fremont Street • Duluth, MN 55807 • www.LSZooDuluth.org

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A desert tortoise can store up to 40% of its body weight in water in its bladder, which is reabsorbed by its body as necessary. Desert tortoises can go without water for a year!

Information taken from the following sources: http://www.fws.gov/nevada/desert_tortoise/dt/dt_life.html http://www.defenders.org/wildlife_and_habitat/wildlife/desert_tortoise.php http://animals.sandiegozoo.org/animals/desert-tortoise

LAKE SUPERIOR ZOO • 7210 Fremont Street • Duluth, MN 55807 • www.LSZooDuluth.org

Ball Python Python regius

Range: Western and central Africa Habitat: Open forest areas and savannahs Diet: Small mammals or birds Lifespan: Over 20 years in captivity Description: Relatively small python, usually averaging between 3 to 6 feet in length. Ball pythons are brown to greenish with dark blotches patterning its body. Color can vary greatly between individuals. The body of the ball python is well-muscled and appears rather stocky in comparison to snakes of the same length. Like most pythons, this species also had a very prominent head. Snakes are ectothermic (“cold-blooded”) and rely on external heat sources and food to maintain their body temperature. Breeding: Female ball pythons lay 4 to 10 eggs in an abandoned burrow or under some sort of ground cover. Unlike most snakes, which leave the eggs to hatch on their own, the female will coil her body around her nest and guard her eggs. If the temperature around the eggs starts to get to too cold, the female will vibrate her body and can actually raise the temperature around the eggs. The eggs will hatch after about 2 months. Looking after the eggs requires a lot of energy and the female may not reproduce for a few years after this effort. Behavior/Adaptations: Ball pythons get their common name from their habit of curling up into a tight ball and hiding their heads when threatened. Like other pythons, the ball python has several rows of sharp teeth, but does not produce venom. Prey is killed through constriction and swallowed whole. Ball pythons are well adapted to life on the ground and in the trees. They are excellent climbers, and are also strong swimmers. Predators: May be preyed upon by frogs, birds, other snakes, and mammals, especially when young. Conservation: The ball python is by far the most popular snake in the pet trade because of its docile nature and long life. This species is listed in the CITES Appendix II because of the pet and skin trade. While this species is not currently threatened with extinction, the populations of many python species are in decline because of habitat loss, use of their skin in garments, and the pet trade. The Zoo’s Ball Pythons: Damian and Oliver are our resident ball pythons. Damian hatched in 1989 and Oliver hatched in 2010. Interesting Facts:  The ball python has special temperature sensitive pits located on either side of its nose that help it locate prey. This helps the python hunt in areas with thick foliage and at night.  Snakes have a special tube in the bottom of their mouths that stays open while swallowing prey to prevent choking. Information taken from the following sources: http://www.sandiegozoo.org/animalbytes/t-python.html http://www.oregonzoo.org/Cards/Ed_Program/ball_python.htm http://www.brandywinezoo.org/ball_python.html LAKE SUPERIOR ZOO • 7210 Fremont Street • Duluth, MN 55807 • www.LSZooDuluth.org

Corn Snake

Pantherophis guttata guttata Range: Eastern United States from New Jersey to Florida and west to Louisiana and Kentucky Habitat: Wooded areas, meadows, abandoned structures, rocky hillsides Diet: Mostly mice and rats, will also eat birds, bats, and small reptiles Lifespan: 12 to 25 years Description: Corn snakes are long and slender, averaging between 24 and 27 inches from head to tail. They are usually a reddish orange color with darker blotches on the back. The belly is covered with a black and white checker board type pattern. Young corn snakes usually lack the brilliant coloration displayed by the adults. As with many snakes that are popular in the pet trade, corn snakes now come in many different color variations. Corn snakes also have a very narrow shaped head. Breeding: Female corn snakes lay a clutch of 10 to 30 eggs in late spring/early summer. Eggs are usually deposited in an area where the temperature and humidity will remain high enough for the young to successfully hatch. This could include a pile of rotting plant matter, or an old log. Once the baby corn snakes hatch, they are independent and receive no care or protection from their mother. Behavior/Adaptations: Corn snakes share similar adaptations with most other snakes. They are unable to thermal regulate, so they rely upon external sources of heat to maintain an appropriate body temperature. They also require moisture to successfully shed their skin. If the skin is too dry before a shed, a corn snake can take a swim to alleviate the problem. Corn snakes are also referred to as ‘rat snakes’, because of their preferred prey. Like other rat snakes, corn snakes are not venomous, and kill their prey through constriction. Predators: Birds of prey, other snakes, raccoons, skunks Conservation: The corn snake is not a threatened species, but it is listed in the state of Florida as a species of special concern because of increased habitat loss. Corn snakes are also a popular pet breed and are often removed from the wild for the pet trade. The Zoo’s Corn Snakes: Smithers is a male and hatched in 2002. Wesley is also male and hatched in 2010. Interesting Facts:  Corn snakes are semi-arboreal and will climb trees to go after eggs and birds.  The name ‘corn snake’ may have originated because of the belly pattern that resembles the pattern on Indian corn. Another possible conclusion is that these snakes are often located around corn cribs because of the higher population of rodents in the area. Information taken from the following sources: http://www.oaklandzoo.org/animals/reptiles/corn-snake*/ http://www.lazoo.org/animals/reptiles/cornsnake/index.html http://www.seaworld.org/animal-info/animalbytes/animalia/eumetazoa/coelomates/deuterostomes/chordata/craniata/reptilia/squamata/eastern-cornsnake.htm http://nationalzoo.si.edu/Animals/ReptilesAmphibians/Facts/FactSheets/Cornsnake.cfm LAKE SUPERIOR ZOO • 7210 Fremont Street • Duluth, MN 55807 • www.LSZooDuluth.org

Bull Snake

Pituophis catenifer sayi Range: Throughout North America as well as parts of Canada and Mexico. Habitat: Bull snakes prefer rocky outcroppings, prairies, bluffs, and area with loose sandy or gravel soil. Diet: Rodents such as mice, gophers, and ground squirrels; ground-nesting birds; and eggs. Lifespan: 10–25 years. Description: Bull snakes are large and heavy-bodied, and can grow from 2 to 6 feet in length. They have a tan body with brown or black blotches on their back. Their head is distinctly triangular shaped. Breeding: Female bull snakes lay a clutch of 3 to 24 eggs in late June or July (sometimes earlier in warmer parts of their range). Eggs are laid in a nest excavated by the female under a rock or a log. The eggs will hatch in about 56-100 days. Once the baby corn snakes hatch, they are independent and receive no care or protection from their mother. Behavior/Adaptations: Bull snakes share similar adaptations with most other snakes. They are unable to thermal regulate, so they rely upon external sources of heat to maintain an appropriate body temperature. They also require moisture to successfully shed their skin. If the skin is too dry before a shed, a bull snake can take a swim to alleviate the problem. Like many snakes, bull snakes are not venomous, and kill their prey through constriction. Predators: Birds of prey and small carnivores. Conservation: The bull snake is considered a species of special concern in Minnesota due to habitat loss and degradation from agriculture and urban sprawl. The Zoo’s Bull Snake: Mr. Burns is a male and hatched in 2009. Interesting Facts:  Due to its coloration, many bull snakes are mistaken for rattlesnakes and killed.  Bull snakes capitalize on their similarities to rattlesnakes by making a ‘rattle’ sound by exhaling through a bisected glottis.  Bull snakes are also called gopher snakes because of their tendencies to live in burrows and eat rodents. Information taken from the following sources: http://www.dnr.state.mn.us/rsg/profile.html?action=elementDetail&selectedElement=ARADB26020 http://www3.northern.edu/natsource/REPTILES/Bullsn1.htm

LAKE SUPERIOR ZOO • 7210 Fremont Street • Duluth, MN 55807 • www.LSZooDuluth.org

Western Hognose Snake Heterodon nasicus

Range: Southern Canada down to Northern Mexico. Isolated populations located in various states including Minnesota. Habitat: Prefer scrubby brush or prairie with loose soil or sand for burrowing. Diet: Toads are the primary food source in the wild. Will also eat mice, frogs, lizards, and eggs. Lifespan: 15-18 years in captivity, usually less in the wild. Description: Smaller snake averaging 20 inches in length. Scales on the upper side of the body are brown and olive green, while the underside is usually black or cream with black/gray blotches. The most prominent feature of this snake is the upturned nose, which is used for burrowing and digging in search of food. Breeding: Breeding season begins in June and continues through August. A female will often mate with several males to ensure that her eggs are fertilized. The female will lay anywhere from 4-25 eggs and buries them in the sand. Once she has finished laying her eggs, the female performs no other parental tasks and the young are on their own. They take approximately 52-64 days to hatch. The young are totally independent upon hatching. Behavior/Adaptations: The Western hognose uses its upturned nose to search for toads in the dirt and sand. Because toads make up a majority of their diet, the snake has developed a few specialized ways of counteracting toad predator defense. Enlarged back teeth help the snake puncture and swallow any toads that try to puff up while being swallowed. The hognose also has a mild venom that while not dangerous to humans, is more than enough to subdue a toad. The snake’s enlarged adrenal gland prevents the toxin found in toad skin from slowing down the snake’s heart rate. Predators: Birds of prey, snakes, foxes Conservation: Currently not listed as a threatened species overall, but they have been greatly reduced in population in some of their native states due to habitat loss. The Western hognose is relatively common in the southern part of its range. The Zoo’s Western Hognose Snake: Wilbur is a male and hatched in 2012. Interesting Facts:  To protect itself from predators, the hognose can flatten out its head to appear more threatening and take deep breaths to appear larger in size. They will often strike at objects, but usually with a closed mouth. As a last resort, the hognose will flip over on its back and play dead.  The belly of Western hognose snakes is usually black or has black blotches, which may be an adaptation to ward off predators when they flip upside-down and play dead—they already look like decaying flesh (and who would want to eat that?)! Information taken from the following sources: http://www.desertmuseum.org/books/nhsd_hognose_snake.php http://www.lihs.org/files/caresheets/Heterodon.htm http://www.fws.gov/rockymountainarsenal/wildlife/reptilesAmphibians/images LAKE SUPERIOR ZOO • 7210 Fremont Street • Duluth, MN 55807 • www.LSZooDuluth.org

Rainbow Boa Epicrates cenchria

Range: Central and South America Habitat: They live on the floor of humid woodland forests, but are occasionally found in open savannahs. Diet: Mostly rodents and birds, and possibly aquatic life and lizards. Lifespan: They can live up to 20 years in captivity. Description: Rainbow boas have a medium build and will grow to be between 4 to 6 feet in length. They are reddish-brown in color with black rings that go down their back. They also have iridescent scales which gives them their name. Breeding: These snakes don’t become sexually mature until they are 2.5 to 4 years old. Gestation lasts approximately 5 months long and the female can give birth to an average of 25 young. Rainbow boas are ovoviviparous, meaning that instead of laying eggs on the ground or in a den, the eggs stay inside of her body, hatch, and then they leave her body during birth. Behavior/Adaptations: Rainbow boas share similar adaptations with most other snakes. They are unable to thermal regulate, so they rely upon external sources of heat to maintain an appropriate body temperature. They also require moisture to successfully shed their skin. They are constrictors and when they are feeding, they will wrap their body around their prey until it dies, and then ingest it whole. Predators: Birds of prey, small carnivores, and humans. Conservation: Although they have no special status and are common through many parts of their range, habitat destruction and human encroachment threaten the species. The Zoo’s Rainbow Boa: Skittles is female and hatched in 2009. Interesting Facts:  Boas have pits on their face that allow them to sense heat.  They are one of the most sought after snakes in the pet trade business because of their iridescent scales.  Rainbow boas have eye spot markings along their side. Perhaps this is an adaptation to confuse and frighten predators with multiple “eyes” staring back at them.  Rainbow boas are good climbers (but are not truly arboreal). Their light underside resembles a ray of sunlight shining through the branches. Information taken from the following sources: http://www.seaworld.org/animal-info/animalbytes/animalia/eumetazoa/coelomates/deuterostomes/chordata/craniata/reptilia/squamata/brazilian-rainbowboa.htm http://www.saczoo.org/document.doc?id=362 http://nationalzoo.si.edu/Animals/ReptilesAmphibians/Facts/FactSheets/Brazilianrainbowboa.cfm

LAKE SUPERIOR ZOO • 7210 Fremont Street • Duluth, MN 55807 • www.LSZooDuluth.org

Tiger Salamander Ambystoma tigrinum

Range: Alaska and much of Canada and throughout the United States Habitat: Juveniles still in tadpole form must live in aquatic habitats such as ponds or lakes. Adults lead a terrestrial existence living in forests, grasslands, or marshy areas. Diet: The larvae will eat small crustaceans and insect larvae and adults will eat worms, snails, insects, and slugs. Lifespan: Adults have reached ages of 16 years in captivity. Description: Tiger salamanders can reach lengths of 6 – 12 inches. The adults are thick-bodied and black-ish in color with yellow blotches or spots. The tadpoles have a yellowish green or olive body with the dark blotches and a stripe along each side and a whitish belly. Breeding: They migrate to breeding ponds in late winter or early spring, usually after a warm rain that thaws out the ground’s surface. Males will usually arrive before females, possibly due to the fact that they live closer to the ponds during the winter months. Females lay the eggs at night and attach them to twigs, grass stems and leaves that have decayed on the bottom floor of the pond. Each mass can contain up to 100 eggs. A female can produce between 100 and 1000 eggs per season. Behavior/Adaptations: Tiger salamanders live underground for most of the year in burrows they have dug for themselves. This allows them to escape the temperature extremes on the surface and may explain why they have such a wide variety of habitat types. Predators: Badgers, snakes, bobcats, and owls. Conservation: Populations in the southeastern U.S. have been affected by deforestation and loss of wetland habitats and appear to be declining in many areas. Being amphibians, salamanders are bio indicators for their habitats they live in. They absorb water and air through their skin and are very sensitive to any pollutants in its environment. The Zoo’s Tiger Salamander: The zoo has 4 tiger salamanders that hatched in 2013. They are on exhibit in Grigg’s Learning Center, which is on the lower level of the Main building. Interesting Facts:  Tiger salamanders are the largest land-dwelling salamanders in the world.  Salamanders and frogs share similar stages of metamorphosis—from eggs, to tadpoles with gills, a tail, and a mouth, to developing limbs, and finally moving to the land-dwelling adult stage. Frogs absorb their tadpole tail, while salamanders keep theirs. Some individual tiger salamanders do not transform into the terrestrial adult form and stay aquatic, retaining their gills. These individuals are still able to reproduce and if the pond dries up they may be able to go through metamorphosis and become terrestrial. Information taken from the following sources: http://animaldiversity.ummz.umich.edu/accounts/Ambystoma_tigrinum/ http://www.dnr.state.mn.us/reptiles_amphibians/salamanders/tiger.html http://www.sfzoo.org/pdf/WAAS/2011/WAAS2011_Grade%202.pdf http://www.arkive.org/tiger-salamander/ambystoma-tigrinum/

LAKE SUPERIOR ZOO • 7210 Fremont Street • Duluth, MN 55807 • www.LSZooDuluth.org

Red-Eyed Tree Frog Agalychnis callidryas

Range: The Caribbean side of Central America up to Mexico Habitat: Entirely arboreal, these frogs are found in humid, lowland rainforests. They are often found near a consistent source of water, such as a river or stream. Diet: These frogs are carnivorous and primarily feed on a variety of insects including crickets, grasshoppers, flies, and moths. However, they will eat anything that will fit in their mouth including other amphibians. Lifespan: 5-8 years in captivity, less in the wild where many of them are eaten by predators. Description: Small frog with males averaging 2” in length and females averaging 3”. They earned their name because of the brilliant red eyes that protrude from their head. Upper side of the body is a bright green with underside covered in a variety of colors including orange, blue, and cream. These frogs have a vertical pupil, resembling that of a cat’s. Legs are long with toes designed for grasping and sticking to leaves and branches. Breeding: Males call to attract a mate and fiercely compete over females. Females lay a clutch of 20-60 eggs on the underside of a leaf over water. Egg masses fall prey to wasps that pluck individual embryos and snakes that eat whole clutches. Vibrations from these predators can trigger an emergency response in embryos and force them to hatch early. When the tadpoles hatch, they fall into the water. Once metamorphosis is complete, the froglets return to the trees. Behavior/Adaptations: Red-eyed tree frogs rarely descend to the forest floor and spend most of their lives in the trees. Their limbs are designed for walking on tree limbs, not for swimming. These frogs feed almost exclusively at night. They rely heavily on the ambush method for capturing prey. The brilliant colors on their undersides or “flash colors” distract and startle predators, giving the frogs a chance to escape danger. These frogs are also excellent jumpers. Predators: Birds, snakes, lizards, wasps, and other insects Conservation: Though the red-eyed tree frog itself is not endangered, its rainforest home is under constant threat. The Zoo’s Red-eyed Tree Frog: The zoo has three red-eyed tree frogs. One hatched in 2007 and the other two in 2016. Interesting Facts:  The species name for the red-eyed tree frog is “callidryas” which is derived from two Greek words: “kallos” meaning beautiful, and “dryas” meaning tree nymph. The species name translates to beautiful tree nymph!  Red-eyed tree frogs have special suction cup toe pads that aid in climbing.

LAKE SUPERIOR ZOO • 7210 Fremont Street • Duluth, MN 55807 • www.LSZooDuluth.org

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As an amphibian, their skin is very thin and they can be easily affected by pollution. They are an indicator species—if researchers notice something unusual in the appearance of a frog or its population pattern, it is likely an indication or signal of something abnormal in their habitat. Red-eyed tree frogs are a popular animal used to symbolize rainforest conservation efforts. They have a 3rd eyelid called a nictitating membrane that acts as safety goggles for their eyes— they can still see, but their eyeballs are shielded from debris.

Information taken from the following sources: http://www.honoluluzoo.org/Red-eyed_Tree_Frog.htm http://www.rainforest-alliance.org/resources.cfm?id=tree_frog http://www2.philadelphiazoo.org/zoo/Meet-Our-Animals/Amphibians/Frogs-and-Toads/Red-eyed-treefrog.htm12/08 http://www.waza.org/en/zoo/choose-a-species/amphibians/frogs-and-toads/agalychnis-callidryas http://www.pbs.org/wnet/nature/fabulous-frogs-attenboroughs-family-of-fabulous-frogs/8923/

LAKE SUPERIOR ZOO • 7210 Fremont Street • Duluth, MN 55807 • www.LSZooDuluth.org

Tiger Leg Tree Frog Phyllomedusa tomopterna Range: South America Habitat: Tiger Leg Tree Frogs are an arboreal tree frog found in the Amazon Rainforest. Diet: They are primarily insectivorous. Lifespan: These frogs can live to be 10 years in captivity. Description: Tiger leg tree frog females grow to be about 2.5 inches while the males are a little smaller at 1.75-2 inches long. Breeding: Males call from trees or shrubs near ponds mainly between December and May. Egg clutches contain about 70 unpigmented eggs in a gelatinous mass that are deposited in leaf nests over ponds. Tadpoles fall into the water after hatching, where they go through their metamorphosis. Behavior/Adaptations: They belong to a group of tree frogs referred to as monkey frogs and have a tendency to walk rather than jump. Predators: Birds, Snakes, lizards. Conservation: They are considered a species of least concern, however, their threats include capture for the pet trade, habitat destruction, and pollution caused by agrochecmical runoff. Fires are also a threat. The Zoo’s Tiger Leg Tree Frog: The zoo has one tiger leg tree frog that hatched in 2016 and it lives with the red-eyed tree frogs in the downstairs Main building exhibit called Grigg’s Learning Center. Interesting Facts:  While the markings are difficult to see when its legs are tucked next to its body, the tiger leg tree frog has orange and black barring along the side of its body and the inside of its legs. Similar to the bright coloration of the red-eyed tree frog, the tiger-like stripes on its body may be a strategy to startle predators and allow the frog a few extra seconds to escape.  The tiger leg tree frog is also known as tiger-striped leaf frog and tiger leg monkey frog.  The tiger leg tree frog produces a waxy substance and rubs it all over its skin. The wax retains moisture in the frog’s skin and the frog is able to live higher in the treetops (where other frogs cannot survive due to the direct sunlight). It’s like a built-in sun screen!  As an amphibian, their skin is very thin and they can be easily affected by pollution. They are an indicator species—if researchers notice something unusual in the appearance of a frog or its population pattern, it is likely an indication or signal of something abnormal in their habitat. Information taken from the following sources: http://www.iucnredlist.org/details/55866/0 http://www.joshsfrogs.com/super-tiger-leg-tree-frog-for-sale.html http://amphibiaweb.org/species/664 http://amphibianrescue.org/tag/tiger-striped-leaf-frog/

LAKE SUPERIOR ZOO • 7210 Fremont Street • Duluth, MN 55807 • www.LSZooDuluth.org

African Bullfrog Pyxicephalus adspersus

Range: Central, Eastern, and South Africa Habitat: Found near waterways, streams, and rivers in relatively open areas at low elevation. Diet: The African Bullfrog is carnivorous and will eat anything that it can fit in its mouth. This includes birds, small rodents, insects, and other amphibians. Lifespan: 40 years. It takes 1-3 years to physically mature, but it can take up to 20 years to reach its full size. Description: Broad, rounded head and thick body. Skin of both males and females is a dull, olive green color and has a bumpy texture. Males have a yellow throat, while females have a more creamcolored throat. The snout of the frog is short and rounded. Several tooth-like projections in the lower jaw help the frog bite and hold its prey. The front legs are short and lack webbing between the toes, while rear legs are extremely strong with webbed feet. African Bullfrogs are the second largest frog and can weigh over 4 lbs. Unlike most other frog species, male African Bullfrogs are much larger than the females. Males can reach up to 9.5” in length and females can reach up to 4.5”. Breeding: Female lays 3000-4000 eggs in shallow water. It takes about 18 days for the tadpoles to turn into small frogs which can then move onto land. Survival rate of the babies is very low, with only around 20% of young adult females surviving yearly. Behavior/Adaptations: The bullfrog uses its strong hind legs to dig holes and spends the dry season in a dry, watertight cocoon underground (estivation) to prevent body fluid loss. It can survive for several months on fluid stored in its bladder. When water from the rainy season soaks the cocoon enough to break it open, the frog eats it and emerges to breed. Males make loud, throaty bellows and grunts during the breeding season. These frogs are very aggressive and have been known to jump at anything that is considered a threat. It will attack with its mouth open and swell its body up to make itself look more intimidating. African Bullfrogs have been known to inflict serious bites on humans. Predators: Nile monitor lizard, large wading birds, pelican, larger mammals, and humans. Conservation Status: Not listed. The Zoo’s African Bullfrog: Pickles was born in 2016. Information taken from the following sources: http://www.honoluluzoo.org/african_bullfrog.htm http://whozoo.org/Intro98/markdiss/mardis.htm http://www.thebigzoo.com/Animals/African_Bullfrog.asp12/08

LAKE SUPERIOR ZOO • 7210 Fremont Street • Duluth, MN 55807 • www.LSZooDuluth.org

Coral Reef Range: Coral reefs are found all over the world in tropical and subtropical oceans. They are usually found in shallow areas at a depth of less than 150 feet, but some have been found in water up to 450 feet deep. Description: Coral reefs are diverse underwater ecosystems that are held together by calcium carbonate structures secreted by corals. They are built by colonies of tiny animals found in marine waters. Most coral reefs are built from stony corals, which consist of polyps that cluster in groups. Animals found in Coral Reefs: Referred to as “rainforests of the sea,” coral reefs form some of the most diverse ecosystems on Earth. Despite occupying less than one percent of the ocean floor, they provide a home for at least 25% of all marine species. Coral reefs are home to a large variety of animals including fish, seabirds, sponges, jellyfish, worms, crustaceans, starfish, sea urchins, sea turtles, sea snakes, and occasional dolphin visitors. Environmental Threats:  Climate Change: Ocean warming increases coral bleaching. Coral bleaching leads to increased disease susceptibility, which causes detrimental ecological effects for reef communities. Climate change can also effect other reef life such as fish, sea turtles, birds, etc.  Pollution: Oil spills, river pollution, and runoff affect the reef during tropical flood events.  Fishing: Overfishing of keystone species such as the giant triton can disrupt food chains to vital reef life. Habitat destruction also occurs with trawling, anchors, and nets.  Coral Mining: In East Africa, South Asia, Southeast Asia, and the Pacific, corals are mined for limestone and construction materials. Sand and limestone from coral reefs are sometimes made into cement for new buildings. Coral mining also occurs for harvesting souvenirs/jewelry, marine aquarium industry, and calcium supplements. Importance of Coral Reefs: They buffer adjacent shorelines from wave action and prevent erosion, property damage, and loss of life. Reefs also protect the highly productive wetlands along the coast, as well as ports and harbors and the economies they support. Half a billion people are estimated to live within 60 miles of a coral reef and benefit from its protection. Healthy reefs also contribute to local economies through tourism. Diving tours, fishing trips, hotels, restaurants, and other businesses based near reef systems provide millions of jobs and contribute billions of dollars all over the world. Interesting Facts:  All of the coral reefs in the world make up less than one percent of the sea floor–an area about the size of France.  Coral polyps are small, soft-bodied organisms and are related to sea anemones and jellyfish.  Some of the coral reefs that we have today started growing over 50 million years ago!

LAKE SUPERIOR ZOO • 7210 Fremont Street • Duluth, MN 55807 • www.LSZooDuluth.org

Information taken from the following sources: http://www.defenders.org/coral-reef/basic-facts http://oceanservice.noaa.gov/education/kits/corals/coral07_importance.html http://www.ecochicmagazine.co.uk/people-planet/biodiversity-people-planet/coral-mining-the-new-danger-forreefs http://animals.nationalgeographic.com/animals/invertebrates/coral/

LAKE SUPERIOR ZOO • 7210 Fremont Street • Duluth, MN 55807 • www.LSZooDuluth.org