I absolutely adore reptiles, but sadly they are probably some of the least understood creatures in the animal kingdom. They are often maligned as cold-blooded killers in the media, but they’re just out earning a living like all other animals. They seem to have bad PR. But that’s not their only problem.
Unless we change the way we live, many reptiles face extinction. The main cause for concern lies in the destruction of their natural habitats. Many reptiles have specially adapted to life in some of the areas that are being lost at a very fast rate – for example the rain forests in the tropics and the shrub lands of Europe. Secondary threats to reptiles include: slaughter for skin in the leather and souvenir trades, slaughter for soups regarded as a delicacy in areas where plenty of other food sources thrive, kept as pets or objects in trade shows where they are unable to breed, and sheer needless abuse due to a lack of understanding and/or education.
In honor of Reptile Awareness Day, do yourself (and reptiles) a favor and take the time to learn more about them. Here’s a suggestion: It’s an episode of Life in Cold Blood by David Attenborough called “The Cold Blooded Truth.” It’s one of the most fascinating nature videos I’ve seen in a long time. I highly recommend it.
And to learn more about what reptiles have been through in the past, check out this article by Savannah River Ecology Laboratory.
Want to know what you can do to save reptiles? Here’s some expert advice form Endangered Species International.
Happy Reptile Awareness Day.