Reptiles of the World



This green iguana at Crooked Tree in Belize wasn't too happy when I found him in the open.

Local people call them "bush chicken" because that's what they taste like - so it's no wonder that they're a bit shy.

Where reptiles are concerned, the fear goes both ways.   This is a fer-de-lance, known locally as a tommygoff, and in Spanish-speaking countries as a terciopelo.

Whatever you call it, this is the most feared snake in Central America, and rightly so.   It's extremely toxic, hard to spot and if chased it has a habit of turning on whoever is pursuing it.

loggerhead turtle

Not all of the reptiles in Belize live on land.

If you go diving on the magnificent Belize barrier reef then you have a good chance of seeing sea turtles like the hawksbill, or the less commonly seen loggerhead, shown here.


This long-nosed whip snake was sleeping in a tree in Alas Purwo National Park at the eastern end of Java, the most populated island of the Indonesian archipelago.

long-nosed whip snake
common sun skink

This common sun skink was another inhabitant of Alas Purwo National Park, and one of countless Reptiles of Indonesia which you can find if you take a look around.

In the tropics there's so much vegetation around that wildlife can make a living even in heavily populated areas.

This masked water snake was in a stream at night in an unprotected area near Borobodur, the most popular tourist attraction in Java.

masked water snake


tokay gecko

The Latin name of the tokay gecko is Gekko gecko, because of the noise it makes at night.

This attractive species gave its name to this entire family of lizards.

This skink belongs to an entirely different family of lizards, but it's every bit as interesting and attractive as the tokay gecko.

juvenile boa constrictor

It's surprising where you can find reptiles in Malaysia.

In the cool forests of the Cameron Highlands there are plenty of frogs and also plenty of snakes that like eating frogs, like the mountain pit viper and this juvenile boa constrictor.


This flying gecko in Phanom Bencha National Park wasn't too happy that I'd seen through its camouflage.

Although it can't actually fly, this type of gecko can use the large flaps of skin around its body to glide from tree to tree, allowing it to conserve energy while moving around the forest, and avoid hazards on the ground.

flying gecko
red-necked keelback snake

There are many national parks in Thailand, all of which are good places to find reptiles.

This red-necked keelback was sunning itself in the early morning at Nam Nao National Park, in the chilly highlands.

There are a lot of good scuba diving opportunities in Thailand, which provide another opportunity to see the country's reptiles.

As well as sea turtles, you might be lucky enough to see one of the region's highly venomous sea snakes pottering around the reef, looking for something tasty to eat.

masked water snake

United States

Blanding's turtle

There are about 50 varieties of freshwater turtles in the United States, ranging all the way from giant alligator snapping turtles in the Deep South to rugged survivors like this Blandings Turtle which somehow manage to survive long and bitterly cold winters in Northern states like Illinois.

The first reptile I encountered in the United States is still one of my favorites - a Southern Pacific rattlesnake I nearly stepped on while walking on a vacant lot in suburban San Diego.   A frequent hazard for joggers, it's a good thing that snakes like this make their presence very well known!

I came across a couple of other rattlesnakes in California, you can see them along with other Reptiles of the Coachella Valley.

Western Diamondback rattlesnake
desert horned lizard

With many hot and humid areas, as well as large regions of desert, it's no surprise that the United States is home to a wide range of lizards, including oddities such as this desert horned lizard and the gila monster, one of only two venomous lizards in the world.   You can see a few of these species on a short trip I made through Nevada's Valley of Fire.