Reptile Awareness Day is October 21st
Celebrate Snakes, Turtles, Lizards and Alligators
Did you know that October 21st is Reptile Awareness Day? That's right, every year we set aside a special day to be aware of the plight of reptiles of all shapes and sizes. This includes the cute little lizards, skinks and geckos as well as the sturdy turtles and tortoises. Don't forget about those beneficial snakes and the large alligators and crocodiles, too. The reason for the day is in hopes that the scaly and cold blooded ones of today won't go the way of that largest of reptiles, the dinosaur.
So let's all make an effort on October 21st, to learn a little more about just one of the reptiles of planet Earth. Come on guys. Do it for the Gecko.
Photo of Female Broad-headed Skink by Y.L. Bordelon, All Rights Reserved
Many of the photos seen here can be purchased in Naturegirl7's Zazzle Shop as print-on-demand products such as posters, cards, apparel, mugs, etc.
Why Celebrate Reptile Awareness Day?
Well mostly because Reptiles Rock! Reptile Awareness Day is celebrated to promote awareness of all reptiles. Worldwide habitat loss threatens extinction of some reptile species, so it is important that humans learn more about different reptiles and their natural environments as well as any ecological challenges the reptiles may encounter.
Eastern Box Turtle Louisiana Postcard
What is a Reptile?
According to the Merriam-Webster dictionary, the definition of a reptile is:
1: an animal that crawls or moves on its belly (as a snake) or on small short legs (as a lizard)
2: any of a class (Reptilia) of air-breathing vertebrates that include the alligators and crocodiles, lizards, snakes, turtles, and extinct related forms (as dinosaurs and pterosaurs) and are characterized by a completely ossified skeleton with a single occipital condyle, a distinct quadrate bone usually immovably articulated with the skull, ribs attached to the sternum, and a body usually covered with scales or bony plates
Reptiles are also said to be "cold-blooded", which means that they can not regulate their body temperature and are at the mercy of the weather. That's why turtles, lizards and snakes sun themselves to get warm on cool days.
Green Anole on Hummingbird Feeder - Y.L. Bordelon, All Rights Reserved
Favorite Reptile Poll
Which is your favorite reptile?
Way down here in south Louisiana there are many reptiles. They come in all shapes and sizes from the tiny skinks to the large alligators. Check out some photos of our scaly friends. I've included links to more information about many of them, too.
Black Racer Sunning
Mediterranean Gecko Naturalized in Louisiana
Lizards, Skinks, Geckos
Many species of lizards live in Louisiana. Most common in our habitat are Green Anoles, Broad-headed and 5 lined Skinks and the imported, nocturnal Mediterranean Gecko.
Did you know that the smallest reptile is the tiny Leaf Chameleon?
Anole in Goldenrod Print
I know you've heard that snakes shed their skin, but did you know that lizards do, too. Check out the picture below.
Did You Know?
Habitat loss poses the greatest threat to most lizards in the Southeast.
Male Broad-headed Skink Poster
Baby Sea Turtle Hatches Video
This one made it to the ocean. That's cause for celebration.
Alligators abound in the swamps of Louisiana. One of the favorite attractions in the Audubon Zoo are the white alligators in the Swamp Exhibit.
Lizards and Crocodilians of the Southeast
Wormsloe Foundation puts out one of the best series about animals of the southeastern United States. This one is excellent.
How Can You Celebrate Reptile Awareness Day?
Activities for Adults & Kids
1. Take the kids to a local zoo or wildlife park to observe reptiles.
If you can't physically take them there, then visit one virtually.
Local Zoos and Parks
- New Orleans Audubon Zoo
Memories of Audubon Park Zoo in the 1950s as told by a local who grew up in the New Orleans park. Here you'll find stories of feeding the sea lions, the reptile house and the bear that bit his finger
There's an Alligator Under My Bed
There's an Alligator Under My Bed
You can't go wrong with Mercer Mayer's books.
2. Teachers and home-schoolers, do a unit about reptiles. Here are some good ones.
Some Teaching Units
- Radical Reptiles & Amazing Amphibians!
Children love to learn about animals, so, we have been getting to know some of God's amazing creatures from mammals, insects, and birds to reptiles and amphibians!! Most of the websites I have listed offer free materials, lessons, and downloads...
Frogs, Toads and Turtles
These Take Along Guides for kids are great for nature walks or field trips.
3. Reptile Show and Tell
Teachers, let children bring their reptile pets to school and have a reptile show and tell. Here's one of the many anoles in my yard.
Green Anole Sunning
One Tiny Turtle: Read and Wonder
For small children, a story about one tiny sea turtle's life.
4. Print out some fun sheets or crafts to do at home or to be shared with your class.
Hubs with Kids Print Outs
- Franklin the Turtle Kids Coloring Pages and Free Colouring Pictures to Print
Franklin the Turtle Kids Coloring Pages and Free Colouring Pictures to Print.
- Fun Kids Crafts for Rainy-Days - Bring the Outdoors Indoors with Paper Plates, Cardboard Rolls, Goog
When it's rainy outside and your kids can't play in the garden, why not get together as a family and craft an outdoors indoors? It's really easy! With some paper plates and cardboard rolls, some permanent markers (or paint) and googly eyes and...
5. Get Some Books & Read About Reptiles
The library is a good source or you could buy these from Amazon.
Look Out for Turtles
The Let's Read and Find Out Science books lend themselves to beginning note-taking skills.
Snakes of the Southeast
Another great Wormsloe Foundation Animal Book with excellent photos and information. This is one of my favorite reference books. I use it regularly.
6. Have a reptile themed party.
Reptile Themed Party Links
- Franklin the Turtle Birthday Party Favors and Supplies
Franklin the Turtle is a very popular turtle among little kids. This page will help you host a super cute Franklin theme party for your child's next birthday celebration.
- Boys Turtle Theme Party Supplies
A turtle party is a classic party theme that little boys will love. This theme would be ideal for a 1st birthday party as well as for boys of any age. I have found so many great turtle party supplies and featured them all on this page. The first...
7. Donate to a reptile related cause.
8. Improve an area in your habitat (yard) to make it more reptile friendly.
Improving Habitats Links
- Preserving Native Habitats in Louisiana
Scientists from all over the world, like Douglas Tallamy the author of Bringing Nature Home, are advocating using native plants in sustainable, ecologically balanced gardens in suburban and urban yards to help bring back the beneficial insects that..
9. Visit 5 hubs about reptiles. Here are a few:
More About Reptiles
- Snakes of Louisiana
Snakes are an important link in the food chain. Here you will find many photos of venomous and non-venomous Louisiana snakes as well as information and links to most.
- Lizards and Snakes as pets: care sheets, observations, photos, and videos.
Snakes and lizards as pets, includes care sheets, tips, videos, beautiful photos, and reptile films and books.
10. The Most Important Thing is to Be Kind to Reptiles
on October 21st and every day of the year.
Pet Reptile Poll
Young 5-lined Skinks, like the one above, have bright electric blue tails. The brilliant blue color fades with age.
Do you have a pet reptile?
Red Slider Laying Eggs - Y.L. Bordelon, All Rights Reserved
Links to More About Reptiles
- Reptile Channel
Photos and information plus fun pages and printouts.
© 2012 Yvonne L. B.