A Few More Snakes with Feet

Hi all! – hope everyone had a great Valentine’s Day.  Once again I had another bizarre experience trying to purchase Linda one of her gifts that will definitely make its way to an upcoming post.  Not sure what it is, but buying jewelry in this town is a trip to Bizarro World.  Part of the problem is the experience has become equally pleasing as a trip to a car dealership – … stay tuned for that entertaining post.  So, speaking of Valentine’s Day we have more lizards!   What, you do not think of lizards around V-Day?.. yeah, me neither – I just needed a lead in to today’s topic so went with it.

As mentioned in the previous post, the Indy lizard series is a two parter – lizarrific if you will.  I figured we’d start with the unidentified lizard.  Like the last set there was extensive research done on this shots in a desperate attempt to provide an informative post… and as discovered with the first set it’s damn hard to classify these scaly creatures.  You would think with a Google image search there would be at least one similar picture in the 10,000+ images being waded through.  Two of the three specimens had a hit, but this one … no clue.

Pretty interesting coloring and would probably merge right into a darker rock setting.  The claw positioning was intriguing as well.  Kind of gives the impression it either just finished a a giant leap onto the rock and still bracing from the impact or possibly showing off his claws in defiance to the biped with the scary looking glass pointed at it.  Before you ask, I really have no clue if it is a male or female so just went with a he.  Once again, a complement to the Beast for throwing the background into creamy goodness.  This is due to the tight depth of field in the 200-400 glass which you’ll be able to see even better in the upcoming shots.  Definitely a plus to be able to create that effect in-camera rather than having to artificially produce it in the digital darkroom.  Let me know if any of you have a guess to what this thing might be.  Until then “I shall call him spiky and it shall be mine and he shall be my spiky”.

Okay, now on to what turned out to be a cruel joke by our friends at the Indy Zoo.  For a long time in the heat of their Desert Biome I took shot after shot of this particular lizard.  I’d snap off a bunch of shots, he’d transition into a new interesting position, I’d snap off a ton of shots and then he’d move into another position… I felt like yelling out “work it baby work it – vogue strike the pose”.  To save Linda the embarrassment I opted to keep that inside hehehe.  Needless to say with the big glass I was up there all close and friendly like.

Hit the jump to see my scary discovery

Little did I know the horror that I was subjected myself to.  Thanks to my Google efforts it was revealed this devil spawn is called a CLOWN Agamas.   You have got to be kidding me.  This reptile must be so heinous, so appalling and so demented that the discover felt the only rational thing to do was to call it a CLOWN.  I shudder to think how close I was to this devil spawn.  It could have wobbled over with its floppy shoes, grabbed a hold of its lapel flower and sprayed me with water before I had a chance to even defend myself with the  my monopod.  The horror, the horror — SHUDDER.  Sorry, I have to go drown myself in alcohol in order to get these nightmares out of my head.

Well, that didn’t work, this thing is still giving me the creeps.  Look at that smug clown face just taunting me .. trying to bring me in close with it’s dumb clown antics until close enough to rip me to shreds with those razors for fingers.  There may be some light at the end of the tunnel.  After trying a variety of searches I finally discovered these creatures have a real name of Laudakia Stellio Brachydactyla.  Now I don’t know about you, but that sounds a WHOLE lot better than Clown Agamas.  Wikipedia is pretty sparse on this topic but based on a number of references they appear to be an option for an exotic pets!  There also appears to be a cross referenced name of Painted Dragons – again, far better that the Clown tag.  Per a painted dragon website these creatures originate from Southern Jordan, Southern Israel, Northern Saudi Arabia, Sinai and Egypt.  Piling on the data, they are primarily insectivores and according to Wikipedia’s entry on Agamas there are 39 different species of this creature (you can thank me later for taking the time to count the list).  Sorry, not much to go on regarding interesting data – it’s a lizard, it’s scaly, has claws, a tail and a very smug disposition.  As alluded to earlier, this shot demonstrates the tight depth of field as you can see the body is already fading out just beyond the arm joint.  That’s why you always put the focus point on the eyes!

Okay, last lizard for this post which means we are just about done with all the snakes with feet we shot while on the Indy Zoo trip back in 2011.  You would think that a generally colored gray lizard would be difficult to find after the struggle with the brighter painted ones above.  Not the case.  A few pictures into Google Images and I had a pretty good match.  , From the Iguanidae family I present to you the Common Chuckwalla.

Another cleverly adapted coloring scheme that allows it to easily meld into the rocky surroundings.  The grayish coloring identifies it as a female since the males have a blacker head and sometimes a reddish or pinkish body.  Chuckwallas are primarily herbivores and prefer rocky environments – which is not hard to imagine seeing as how well they are naturally disguised.  From a composition perspective, I do like how this shot turned out.  The rock symmetrically cuts the picture diagonally forcing the eye down from the left and up from the right directly to the subject of the shot.  The darker treatment also works well in contrast to the  shot below which now seems a tad light.  Might have to retouch this one now that I can see it next to the previous shot.

It should be noted, I did not appreciate it one bit that this particular Chuckwalla felt obligated to photobomb my shot by giving me the finger.  Linda and I drive all the way to Indianapolis to experience these reptiles in their re-created natural habitats and what do we get? …some obnoxious lizard that thinks it would be funny to flip us off – I’m pretty sure they learned this from those damn clown lizards.

I’ve decided this post has entirely too many clown references for my comfort so I’m going to call this a post.  Probably going to keep me up with nightmares as it is.  With the mammals and the lizards out of the way I think it just might be time to get to those birds YEA!

10 thoughts on “A Few More Snakes with Feet”

  1. Nice, thanks! These aren’t as colorful as the previous lizards. I wonder if some of the problems with identifying these lizards are because there are significant color variations even among the same species. I did find more information on the Laudakia Stellio Brachydactyla lizards here–apparently they have incredible balance: http://tinyurl.com/brbb42p . I agree that the composition of the second-to-last picture is excellent, and probably the best you could get for a gray lizard.

    So birds are next, right?



  2. Agreed, kind of a let down on the color front although I could probably jump back into the digital darkroom and crank the orange up on the clown fish.. but I tend to keep wildlife colors as close to real as possible. I did go back and look at the clown lizards (against my inner voice) and you are right. The variety even in the same species definitely complicates the problem – not mention some of these things have the ability to adapt to their environment through color shifting.

    !#$!!$!$!@#$@ I just looked at your picture link – are you trying to give me a heart attack? I might get out a few service posts first, but definitely the next Indy topic will be the birds – be warned though, there are 33 shots in that set to choose from! Apparently Linda is glad we are done with the lizards – it was apparently starting to creep her out. Wait until she sees my snake series hehehehe


  3. Think of my efforts as desensitizing you to clowns. Your reaction here was much more subdued than in the past, and we can attribute that to my interventionist help.

    I can’t remember Linda’s reaction to that huge snapping turtle in your post from a year or more ago, so I don’t know if she has a reaction to all reptiles or just snakes and lizards. Have you thought of hanging your reptile photographs around the house to desensitize her? 🙂



  4. Well, it’s working about as well as Dr. Drew successfully rehabs a celebrity. I was forced to break my keyboard across my desk which caused a delay in my response while I picked up all the keys that went flying. Fighting to get all those damn buttons back on the keyboard was not helping my disposition. I have also told Linda about your idea about desensitizing her and I guessing she will have some words with you the next time she sees you … and for the record while I was dealing with that turtle hellspawn she was in the truck bed taking pictures – so pretty much a universal dislike


  5. I would prefer it if you did not give my wife any idea involving culling the lawn – she had nothing to do with grating the lawn, planting the seed or even once mowing the lawn since moving into our house.. so by no means does she have any say when it comes to culling the lawn due to one harmless turtle out for a stroll! Now you just keep your devious opinions to yourself you clown supporter


  6. I think we’re making progress on the clown desensitization front. The sentence in my previous comment, after and including the colon, was designed to phonetically mimic the word “clown” over and over, and yet it apparently had no ill effect. You will be referred to only as patient X in my paper on this experiment, per usual.



  7. When it comes to Dr. Drew .. it is NEVER too soon – that guy is racking up psycho killer numbers and they KEEP giving him jobs.


  8. It doesn’t count if you are too clever for the patient – I liken this to the WKRP study where they were testing the effects of alcohol while broadcasting live – the control stages were done in an invalid manner making the rest of the experiment go awry. Now if you would have left that sentence in say a phone message or audio clip.. then you would have seen the expected reaction. Now, I should probably note at this point you are playing with fire which means you will either start wetting the bed or get burned!


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