Monthly Archives: June 2015

This leaf-strumming green reptile thinks it’s Jimi ‘Lizard’ Hendrix

** NO USE WITHOUT BYLINE ADITYA PERMANA / MERCURY PRESS **    PIC BY ADITYA PERMANA / MERCURY PRESS - (PICTURED: A LIZARD HOLDING A LEAD LIKE A GUITAR) This is the real-life THIN LIZARD as the reptile strums a guitar fashioned from a leaf. The forest dragon lizard was spotted in the unusual pose by professional photographer Aditya Permana in Yogyakarta, Indonesia. The 33-year-old caught the comical snap earlier this week and watched the critter for more than an hour before it began practicing its chords...SEE MERCURY COPY

** NO USE WITHOUT BYLINE ADITYA PERMANA / MERCURY PRESS ** PIC BY ADITYA PERMANA / MERCURY PRESS – (PICTURED: A LIZARD HOLDING A LEAD LIKE A GUITAR) This is the real-life THIN LIZARD as the reptile strums a guitar fashioned from a leaf. The forest dragon lizard was spotted in the unusual pose by professional photographer Aditya Permana in Yogyakarta, Indonesia. The 33-year-old caught the comical snap earlier this week and watched the critter for more than an hour before it began practicing its chords…SEE MERCURY COPY

Is this lizard trying to emulate the axe-wielding heroics of Jimi Hendrix?

Or does he prefer Jimmy Page?

Either way, this forest dragon lizard looked like a true guitar hero as he strummed a leaf in Yogyakarta, Indonesia.

The amazing snap was captured by photographer Aditya Permana, who watched the creature for more than an hour as it reclined on a log and presumably dreamt of headlining Woodstock.

Describing the moment he took the incredible photo, Aditya said: ‘I did not directly photograph the lizard at first, until the lizards feel calm and comfortable around me.

‘I noticed it looked like it was playing a guitar – and it didn’t move at all.’

ooo
Henry Sapiecha

RACOON RIDES ON THE BACK OF AN ALLIGATOR PIC TAKEN BY AMATEUR PHOTOGRAPHER

Mr. Richard Jones, who sent in the photos, claims his family was exploring along the Oklawaha River observing wildlife when his son caused a commotion that spooked the lone raccoon. That's when the startled raccoon decidely boarded the gator's back.  Mr. Jones apparently had his camera in tow and and was lucky enough to capture this once-in-a-lifetime image. Then he was nice enough to send it our way.

Mr. Richard Jones, who sent in the photos, claims his family was exploring along the Oklawaha River observing wildlife when his son caused a commotion that spooked the lone raccoon. That’s when the startled raccoon decidely boarded the gator’s back. Mr. Jones apparently had his camera in tow and and was lucky enough to capture this once-in-a-lifetime image. Then he was nice enough to send it our way.

First there was Weaselpecker. Now meet Gatorcoon.  

When this amateur photographer went walking through Ocala National Forest in Florida, he came across something quite odd.

Richard Jones, who was out in the forest with his family, spotted a raccoon riding on the back of an alligator.

Mr Jones said he believed the raccoon had leapt aboard the alligator after being startled by his son taking a picture of the reptile.

He said he ‘snapped a lucky picture right when the gator slipped into the water and before the raccoon jumped off and scurried away.

‘Without the context you’d think the raccoon was hitching a ride across the river.’

Oh, and and in case you missed it, here’s that weasel riding a woodpecker.

Weasel & Woodpecker. Martin Le-May @https://twitter.com/KingYamel

Weasel & Woodpecker. Martin Le-May @https://twitter.com/KingYamel

Great white Shark’s amazing journey of thousands+ kilometres and back tracked via satellite

shark-great white image www.pythonjungle.com

THE incredible travels of a hefty great white shark named Pip are helping scientists rewrite the book on everything we thought we knew about the feared species.

In 15 months, Dr Malcolm Francis and his colleagues at Niwa and the Department of Conservation have tracked the 3.3m female from Stewart Island to the warmer waters of the Queensland coast, and back again.

She is now up to something just as unusual among the great whites that have been observed so far – roaming around the sub-Antarctic Auckland Islands.

If she takes off to Australia again, Pip will become the first great white the team has tracked making more than one migration there using a special Spot tag attached to her dorsal fin.

sharkgraphic-info map image www.pythonjungle.com

The tag, which regularly transmits accurate fixes to a satellite, has allowed researchers to plot in detail her path across thousands of kilometres of open ocean since it was attached at Stewart Island in March last year.

The data could prove critical in solving some of the most enduring mysteries around the species, which are fully protected in New Zealand waters and globally considered a threatened species.

It is suspected Pip’s unusual trip to the Auckland Islands is because of food – namely New Zealand sea lions or Southern right whales.

“The information we have on the Auckland Islands is pretty limited, but there are quite a few observations of badly bitten sea lions,” Dr Francis said.

“So it’s almost certain they are feeding on them, but we don’t know about the whales.”

It remained unclear whether the windswept islands had their own population of great whites, or whether they were visiting from Stewart Island, a global hot spot for the predators.

But perhaps the more interesting question was whether Pip would later end up at the same spot off the Queensland coast where she was located in November.

“We know they are able to find their way back to Stewart Island each year, but so far we’ve only been able to track two sharks to the same place overseas, and that was done with a less accurate type of tag,” Dr Francis said.

“The more accurate Spot tag on Pip will tell us not only if she visits the same place, but also whether the route she takes is the same.”

Why she went to Queensland was another open question and, as with the Auckland Islands, a probable reason was prey.

“One of my colleagues is working on a stable isotope analysis that will give some idea about what they’ve been feeding on, but we are still waiting on some results for that.”

While there was still much to learn about great whites, Dr Francis said our understanding had grown immensely in the last decade.

“When we started our tagging programme in 2005 at the Chatham Islands, we thought we had a New Zealand-based population, or a possible New Zealand-Australia population, but we had no idea they went to the tropics – that was a total eye opener,” he said.

His team would keep tracking Pip until she eventually freed herself of her tag.

“It’s fascinating just watching and wondering what we are going to see next.”

ooo

Henry Sapiecha

KING COBRA RESTAURANT JAKARTA INDONESIA

KingCobra_restaurant image 0001-600x400 www.pythonjungle (2)

Jakarta’s north is where the city’s colonial past rubs shoulders with its less-than-reputable present. Away from the ultra-modern mega-malls, leftover Dutch architecture pokes a decaying head from between the one-stop debauchery shops selling skin and drugs under the guise of hotels, nightclubs, and spas. If there was ever an appropriate place to eat a deadly snake, this would be it.

Along the streets in a too-casual-for-comfort manner, small cages of blue plywood and chicken wire are all that separate pedestrians from the hissing black cobras. Diners sit next to the cages as if the animals were tanked lobsters in a Maine seafood shack.

While the streets are littered with small satay stands, it’s the King Cobra Mangga Besar restaurant that’s cultivated a reputation as the best place to eat one of the reptiles. The family-run shop opened in 1965 and has since hatched four additional king cobra restaurants in the city, with a fifth on the way.

In more than a year of working as a journalist in Jakarta, a trip to the restaurant has always felt like a terrifying inevitability. My phobia of snakes is primal and buried in the most basic part of my brain. They chase me in my nightmares and, for reasons I can’t explain, this makes me need to be close to them.

I step into the tight 10-table establishment. The grill is working overtime. White smoke has completely filled the dining room, and it’s difficult for my eyes to scan the tiled floor for escaped hors d’oeuvres.

Maria, the long-time owner, obviously has a routine when it comes to curious white people walking into her restaurant holding cameras. She barks some words in Bahasa to her daughter Olvin, who shows me towards the back room where the snakes are kept.

KingCobra_restaurant image 0001-600x400 www.pythonjungle.com

A glass partition separates the caged animals from the main eatery. Olvin’s already stepped through the swinging door, and I can feel every cell in my body pulling me towards the exit. I take a deep breath and exhale in time with my step into the snake room.

Olvin, along with the only non-family employee, begins to pull out various serpents. Some are emerald with narrow, pointed heads; others are the splotched shades of army fatigues. The two smile madly as they spread reptile after reptile the distance of their arms and hold deadly heads closer to my lens than I’d prefer.

My hands are shaking like mad. Adrenaline is thumping in my ears, and I’m doing my best to pretend like this is just another day. Inches to my right I can hear the black cobras spitting at me on the other side of a single pane of glass. It slowly dawns on me that these two are risking their lives, and I have no intention of eating what they have on display. I make a mental note to buy one of the other snake-derived products they sell in the front of the house as a thank you for their risk.

The only snakes that don’t come out of their cages are the kings. According to Maria, they’re just too dangerous to take out for fun. She says the only people who regularly fork over the roughly $250 for them are Chinese businessmen who come to Jakarta on short stays for work.

KingCobra_restaurant image 0001-600x400 www.pythonjungle (1)

Looking at the pent animals, I’m okay with letting them sit. One particularly worrisome fellow is deathly still, head tilted back with his eyes fixed on the one place a hand must go in if he’s to go out.

Maria says they’ve been doing business with the same snake catchers for years. Only when her daughter was first learning to handle the poisonous serpents did she fear for her family’s well-being. Bites are rare, but when they happen the skin is cut at the point of contact and as much blood as possible is drained from the area.

One small factoid about the restaurant pushes me to my emotional breaking point. Since 1965 only one king cobra’s ever escaped. It made it to the center of the eatery before staff grabbed hold and returned it to a cage. Taking a look at the wire enclosures, it’s not a sense of security that comes over me but the dreaded realization that they’re long overdue for another such incident. I immediately have a vision of myself covered in escaped serpents who know my position on the top of the food chain is at best conditional.

My reaction is Olympic-gold swift. I grab a snake-skin wallet as a thank you for amusing my phobias and toss a wad of cash I assume to be sufficient towards the register. Instinct trumps dignity as my eyes see the door and I bolt like a dine-and-dasher for the parking lot

MY FOOD SITE www.foodpassions.net

OOO

Henry Sapiecha

Aggressive walking fish hitching to Australia from Papua New Guinea

The climbing perch can live out of water for up to six days image ww.pythonjungle.com

Meet the fish making its way to Australia

Able to survive out of water for up to six days, scientists fear the aggressive climbing perch may reach mainland Australia from PNG, potentially harming native species.

A freshwater fish capable of surviving out of water for up to six days may also be able to survive in salty water, prompting scientists to warn that the aggressive climbing perch could make its way to mainland Australia from Papua New Guinea.

The fish, which can crawl across dry land and hibernate in dry creek beds for up to six months, has already made it to two small Torres Strait islands in Australian territory.

However ecologists hold serious concerns for the fate of native species if the climbing perch makes it to mainland Australia.