DixPix Photographs

     

INDONESIAN ARCHIPELAGO

 
     
  MAINLY REPTILES  

 

The equatorial jungles of Indonesia and adjacent countries have enough variety of snakes and lizards to fuel the nightmares of those who find such things fearsome.  Only a few are actually dangerous, however, and several are threatened with extinction.  Included are the world's largest (and likely only man-eating) lizard, and the world's longest snake. The words 'snake' and 'lizard' are rendered as Ular and Kadal in Bahasa Indonesia.  The area also shares with much of southeast Asia the largest and most dangerous of all reptiles, the Saltwater Crocodile. 

Although there are hundreds of species of frogs (Kodok in Indonesian) in this region, there are only a few photos in hand, and three are appended.

 

A dark phase of the famous Komodo Dragon (Varanus komodoensis) which haunts Indonesia's Komodo Island and some of the adjacent ones as well.  This specimen, however, is relaxing in the Singapore Zoo.  Click to see big picture (640x450 pixels; 110 KB)
Some browner versions of the Komodo Dragon.  It is the largest lizard, and has been known to kill and eat humans.  Its bite is venomous due to some nasty bacteria in its saliva.  The local name is Biawak Komodo. Click to see big picture (498x480 pixels; 130 KB)
A bluish version of the Komodo surveys its unnatural habitat from the zoo in Denver.  Females of this species can reproduce without fertilization, but despite this trick, the numbers in the wild are limited. Click to see big picture (640x405 pixels; 106 KB)
Another species of large Monitor Lizard (Varanus sp.) surveys the garbage dump of a Sumatran camp.  Alas, there are several species and the markings are not distinctive.  Indonesians call them all Biawak, and the Australians Goanna. Click to see big picture (640x465 pixels; 133 KB)
The Monitor gets lucky, and makes off with a rotten chicken carcass.  Click to see big picture (640x268 pixels; 87 KB)
The Water Monitor, Varanus salvator, day and night shots above a river in northeastern Sabah.  This species is relatively common from India to Indonesia. Click to see big picture (497x480 pixels; 105 KB)
The patterns and colors of the Water Monitor are varied, this one specializes in spots.  In Bahasa, Biawak Air. (Oddly, 'air' means 'water' in Bahasa.) Click to see big picture (640x348 pixels; 101 KB)
The Crocodile Monitor, Varanus Salvadorii, is the largest of several species on the island of New Guinea.  Although supposedly protected, it and other lizards are hunted and skinned alive to make traditional drums. Click to see big picture (640x329 pixels; 85 KB)
While in New Guinea, this is the Frilled Lizard, also known as Clamidosaurio, Chlamydosaurus kingii.  The island shares this arboreal species (here captive) with northern Australia.  Coloration varies, but it can expand a neck frill to scare intruders or look less swallowable.  Click to see big picture (631x480 pixels; 103 KB)

A Flying (ie. gliding) Lizard, well camouflaged in the forests of central Sumatra.  Likely Draco sumatranus, or perhaps D. volans. Locally, these are called Tangeleng.

Click to see big picture (640x443 pixels; 118 KB)
From Gaya Island of the coast of Malaysian Borneo, this agamid lizard is likely the Changeable Lizard, Calotes versicolor, a common species sometimes called the South Asian Garden Lizard.  As the name would suggest, it can change color. Click to see big picture (406x480 pixels; 78 KB)
Either a whiptail lizard or a skink, sunning itself on a boardwalk at the Sakau Rainforest Lodge in eastern Sabah.  Click to see big picture (640x394 pixels; 87 KB)
The False Gavial of False Gharial is a crocodile-like beast with a narrow snout.  It lives in fresh water swamps of Malaysia, Borneo and Sumatra, where it is threatened by hunting and by draining of its marshes.  The local name is Buaya Sepit (Tomistoma schlegelii). Click to see big picture (640x435 pixels; 132 KB)
Even at this size, one must be careful on how you handle a Saltwater Crocodile (Crocodylus porosus).  This will grow into the largest and most dangerous of all reptiles, a species that stalks the coasts and lower rivers from India to Australia.  It is known as Buaya Katak in Malaysia and Buaya Muara in Indonesia. Click to see big picture (640x424 pixels; 66 KB)
This is apparently the Burmese Python, (Python bivittatus), captive at a rural household in Sumatra, where there is not supposed to be any of that species. Click to see big picture (640x420 pixels; 145 KB)
Here is a Reticulated Python which has just been captured in a field camp, it is of only moderate size.  The head is being held tightly on the right-- no venom, but it can still bite.  This species is the world's longest snake. Click to see big picture (640x442 pixels; 120 KB)
It is easy to keep a captive snake in the field, just a noose around the neck.  The species is fairly common through southeast Asia, and in Indonesia is known as the Ular Sanca Kembang. Click to see big picture (640x420 pixels; 132 KB)
The color and patterns for Reticulated Pythons vary.  This captured one is of striking appearance, and the person who captured it is hoping for a handsome sale to the local (semi-legal) trader in the animal pet trade. Click to see big picture (502x480 pixels; 108 KB)
This python is a constrictor, no poison, but has been known to eat small people, yet when well fed can be hung around volunteers necks in zoos. python
Albino reticulated pythons are much sought after in the pet trade for their striking appearance.  Don't expect to trip across one in the jungle, this one, for example, is at the zoo in Buenos Aires.
More striking still is the Borneo Python, Python curtus breitensteini, also known as the Borneo Short-tailed Python, which is largely confined to Borneo. Click to see big picture (604x480 pixels; 154 KB)
The Borneo Python is endangered by hunting for its skin, used as a fancy leather.  For sure a pair of cowboy boots with this pattern would draw attention.  This one, however, is safe in Mendoza, Argentina; at least as long as people keep paying to see the serpentarium. Click to see big picture (640x410 pixels; 126 KB)
Jump to the island of New Guinea.  This is the non-venomous Boelens's Python, Morelia boeleni, of an odd blue-black color.  Courtesy of the zoo in Denver. Click to see big picture (631x480 pixels; 130 KB)
Back to Borneo, a Grey-tailed Racer (Gonyosoma oxycephala) sleeping by a Sabah River.  Sometimes that tail is red, and called the red-tailed racer.  It is also called a rat-snake, although it eats almost exclusively birds in nature.  Also it is supposed to be green.  Widespread in southeast Asia. Click to see big picture (615x480 pixels; 104 KB)

The Yellow (or Gold), Ringed (or Banded), Cat (or Mangrove) Snake. Boiga dendrophila, here in Sumatra it is the Occidentalis subspecies which seems more spotted that banded.  That isn't a smile on its face, you may note a machete notch in the head.

Click to see big picture (640x439 pixels; 125 KB)
A sleeping Yellow-banded Cat-snake in Borneo of another subspecies (annectens) shows true rings.  The species may be found in lowland forests and mangroves from India to Indonesia. Click to see big picture (640x403 pixels; 87 KB)
Although only mildly venomous, the Yellow-banded Cat-snake is large and feared by locals, who call it Ular Tiung Cincin (ChinChin) Emas, which refers back to golden rings.  This one in Sumatra was pinned by a fast-acting excavator operator. Click to see big picture (640x358 pixels; 107 KB)
The Black-headed Cat-snake, Boiga nigriceps, ranges from Thailand to Java.  It tends to live in abandoned buildings, but in this case came out of the attic of a camp where I was sleeping.  Alas it got clubbed before photographing. Click to see big picture (640x333 pixels; 88 KB)
Candoia bibroni, known as the Pacific Tree Boa, hunts the forest in parts of Papua New Guinea and the island farther east.  This one, however, may be found in the Santa Barbara Zoo.
There are a number of whipsnakes zipping through the foliage in the region. The one on the left with the bulging eyes is likely the Big-eyed Green Whipsnake, Ahaetulla mycterizans, which may be found from Thailand to Java, here in central Sumatra. Click to see big picture (640x359 pixels; 78 KB)
And this inoffensive looking species is likely the Striped Bronzeback, Dendrelaphis caudolineatus, ranging from Malaysia to Java. Click to see big picture (640x376 pixels; 114 KB)
There is said to be 93 species of frog in Indonesia, but most are vulnerable due to a mixture of habitat destruction and a lethal fungus.  Click to see big picture (529x480 pixels; 71 KB)
Like birds, most frogs are heard more often than seen.  This one, however likes to sun itself in water lilies, Sumatra. Click to see big picture (614x480 pixels; 79 KB)
Another view of the water lily frog, likely the same species.  In some areas water lilies are referred to as 'frog pulpits". Click to see big picture (640x476 pixels; 77 KB)