Snakes with Feet

So one of the reasons I take the time to write these posts is to allow me the opportunity to look back and see what I was interested in or maybe what the state of the world happened to be in at a given point in time. In essence I have a backup plan when the o’l memory starts to go. Crap.. what was I leading into…. Oh yeah. Every once in awhile someone comes out with a statement that I NEVER want to forget. Typically these are statements made by individuals in the entertainment business that feel obligated to proclaim their stupidity. Last week we were blessed (er.. subjected) to two examples of this. Figured I’d just put them here in case I ever want to reference them in the future.

Chris Rock:
I am just here to support the President of the United States. President of the United States is our boss, but he is also, you know, the President and the First Lady are kinda like the Mom and the Dad of the country and when your Dad says something you listen and when you don’t it will usually bite you on the ass later on. So, I’m here to support the President. Note to self: be sure and point this comment out during future administrations – something tells me this position will change.

Tony Bennett:
It’s the kind of turn that happened to the great country of Germany where Nazis came over and created tragic things and they had to be told off. And if we continue this kind of violence and accept it in our country, the rest of the world is really going to take care of us in a really bad way. Note to self: A big thank you for fighting in the Battle of the Bulge now go read history and figure out where the Nazi’s “came over” from and take special note on their stance on gun control.

There, now I only need to go to my blog and search for stupid reptiles and poof there will be the two “entertainers” that are now on my list.  That reminds me, the main topic of this post is Reptiles at the Indianapolis Zoo.  Yes, this is a continuation of the Indy Zoo series, but now that the mammals are out of the way, it’s time to move to those scary “snakes with feet” as Linda likes to refer to them.  This will be a short series primarily because I know absolutely ZERO about lizards.  They have a long heritage, their typically scaly and for some reason there are people out there that think they are cool pets.

Personally I find that identifying snakes and lizards about as hard as distinguishing one sparrow from another.  Translated… damn near impossible.  Since I like to go the extra mile for my millions of readers I did take a stab at it.  A check of the Indy Zoo website did provide a small list of animals on display in their Desert Biome (link here).  Apparently putting their picture or at least a link to the animal is asking way to much from an educational organization.  So, next step was to search individually for each of the names on the list – with exception of the turtles which are clearly not in play here – a shout out to my Biology teacher for getting that in long-term memory.

Hit the jump to read more about these scaly creatures.

On a scale from 1 to 10 with the upper end being instant identification.. that process yielded a big fat 4.  It quickly ruled out some options (especially the blue ones), but did not provide conclusive evidence to exactly what this one is you are looking at.  Oddly enough, a picture of this exact same lizard is on the Indy page I referenced above.  Research technique number two was utilized.  Although there was not an “alt” tag on the image that quickly identified it, the save option revealed that it might be a “Bearded Dragon”.  Ah, finally a clue!

A few image searches later and I was staring at a perfect match thanks to the contributors over at Wikipedia (link here).  So there you have it.  Cute little guy.. or bearded girl isn’t she?

They are members of the Pogona genus.  Although not positive on this, this species appears to be Vitticeps (one of 7 species in the Pogona genus).  That would make it an Inland Bearded Dragon which is a direct match on an entry in the Indy Zoo list.  With the exception of the first picture in this set, the picture directly above is probably my second favorite.  The big glass threw the background clarity out just enough to outline the lizard and the small glint in the eye gives it a little character.  The angle of the head with the foot cropped nicely into the picture helped balanced the overall shot.  At the risk of giving my wife nightmares, I might have the first and this picture printed out and displayed (although likely confined to my den).

The next shot reminded me of those old movie mob bosses with their well chewed cigars hanging out of the side of their mouth.  Chest out.. authoritative posture.. “It’s a Sicilian message. It means Luca Brasi sleeps with the fishes.”

Likely just a piece of food, but still cracks me up.  Here’s a tighter shot .

Looking at it now, I will probably jump back into the digital darkroom and brighten it up a bit.  You can definitely see the tight depth of field with the beast on a large aperture (small fstop).

The fun isn’t over yet!  Today is a two-for in the lizard department.  Well, two lizards but really a crop experiment on the second one so there is technically only one picture of this next legged snake.

Sorry, but legged snake is the best I can do .. wait.. yellowish legged snake with gray stripes.  Apparently this is the ONLY picture ever taken of this particular lizard at the Indy Zoo purely based on wading through hundreds and hundreds of images trying to find a match off of Google.  There’s nothing out there that matches this particular coloring.  Topping it off, I think we finally have a situation where the identification systems available on the web are even worse than the ones for birds.  On the composition front, the shot above was pulled back to show the lizard in context of its surroundings.  A splotch of coloring in an otherwise darker surrounding.

Cropping in a bit, the coloring starts to take on more emphasis to the overall shot.  It also cuts down a little bit of eye wondering in the previous shot.  I found myself looking around the picture in the dark crevasse to see if there were any other creatures hiding out – almost to the point I didn’t really give the main lizard that much attention.  In the shot below it commands more attention.

Completing the other end of the scale, here we are cropped tight.  No question as to the subject of the picture.  I think the last two shots are better from a composition perspective (personal preference of course).  With some internal debate, the middle shot finally won out, but would be interested in knowing your take on that.

I wish I could give you more details about this lizard, but until I can identify it, there is not much I can offer. On a personal front, I can say the lizard topic caused me to get in trouble in said high school Biology class – a fairly rare occurrence I swear!  The bright spot of that incident was I’ve never forgotten that lizards are cold-blooded animals. The teacher was explaining to the class that cold blooded animals take on the temperature of their surroundings (as opposed to warm blooded creatures that try to keep their internal temps constant). Anyway, after a pretty in depth dissertation on this characteristic a fellow student raised his hands and said “Oh, is that why they refer to killers as cold blooded”  Now… if he was making a highly astute observation that there are killers out there that do not simply get caught up “in the heat” of the moment and instead are calculated, remorseless people then maybe I could understand such an observation.  Truth of the matter he was taking it literally and thought certain humans are more apt to kill because they were unable to regulate their temperature.  I lost it, somehow failed to suppress a laugh (surprising having successfully done that sooooo many times before – my general classes were not exactly filled with the sharpest tools in the box) and was rightfully punished. Oh well, maybe he was embarrassed enough to hunker down and become a key contributor to society … based on the few other experiences through the rest of high school .. this is highly doubtful.

Oh well, part one of the lizards is out of the way.. stay tuned for the second part!

for the curious… there are no shots from Linda in this post — that would required her to get waaaaay to close to these devil creatures – guessing she was busy racing through this section of the zoo.

3 thoughts on “Snakes with Feet”

  1. Very cool photos!! The best part about lizards is they don’t exactly move much while you’re taking their pictures.

    I tried to find out what kind of lizard is in your last set of photos, and I learned something very important—that there are way, way too many lizards out there! Here’s something that will blow you away: Google “colorful lizards” and stand back. And then go get Linda to show her.

    I agree with your assessments of the first and fourth pictures as excellent. I also really like the last photo, and I’m surprised you didn’t comment on the amused look on his face. Looks kind of cute, if a bit condescending.

    I really liked this post! Unusual pictures, very nicely done in terms of focus, color and composition, and I learned some things as usual. BTW, did you take these photos through a pane of glass, and if so, what did you do to eliminate glare and fogginess?



  2. They don’t move much because their cold blooded hehehe. Trust me, I’ve looked at enough lizards to put Linda in a catatonic state for years – although I especially liked the 20 they have here: I took another look at the 4th one…hmmm I think I’ll go with a SMUG look. Look at me all colorful and menacing any you over there looking all pale – begone with you bi-footer and leave us to our biome.

    Thanks, glad you liked the shots. I thought they came out of the digital darkroom fairly decent. On the glass front, the Indy Biome is actually glass free which makes it an extremely nice place to shoot. A tad hot in there.. but a small price to pay for not having to fight the glare. As a note, I actually have pretty good luck either putting the glass hood directly on the glass if the light is essentially straight down – otherwise take about a 15 degree angle to deflect the glare out of the field of view – doesn’t always work out but it did with the tiger pictures in the previous post.

    Should have the second part of this set out soon – stay tuned


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