Sunday, June 5, 2016

Random Nature Notes from Hawai'i: The Land Reptiles of the Big Island

Reptiles (aside from sea turtles) are probably not native to the Hawaiian Islands but there are quite a few of them on the islands today. Some were brought by the original Polynesian settlers (four species of Geckos). Others arrived as escaped pets. In any case, they have become a part of the native ecosystem for better or worse. Some help to control pests, for instance, and are welcomed in homes on the islands, but others have an appetite for the endangered native species of insects and other invertebrates.
They are undeniably colorful parts of the environment, and I've been enjoying capturing pictures of them this week. The picture at the top was a Gold Dust Day Gecko at Pu'uhonoa O Honaunau National Historical Park on the Big Island. The second was waiting for a meal at Akaka Falls State Park this afternoon.
The Jackson's Chameleon was also hanging around the trail at Akaka Falls. I believe it is the first one I've ever photographed. It seems to be laughing in the picture below, which causes me to wonder why, unlike geckos who sell insurance, they make bad comedians. I think it's because they keep changing their punchlines...
Here is a short video of a gecko going about it's business at Akaka Falls.

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