World Lizard Day 2016

This Sunday, August 14th, we celebrate World Lizard Day! With more than 6,000 species around the world, why wouldn’t we take the time to recognize this diverse and fun-loving reptile? Here are some fun facts about some of the different lizards guests will see when visiting Newport Aquarium.

To learn more, we talked to Newport Aquarium biologist and herpetologist, Ryan Dumas. “Lizards are important because they occupy many different niches throughout the environment,” Dumas said.

Yellow Tree Monitor

Yellow Tree Monitor

The Yellow Tree Monitor is the rarest of species of tree monitors. It wasn’t discovered until 2005 – on a small island in Indonesia. Visit two of these monitors in Canyon Falls at Newport Aquarium.

The Yellow Tree Monitor can only be found in the tropical rain forests on the small island of Misol in Indonesia. They can grow to become three feet long from head to tail and they mostly eat invertebrates. Did you know these monitors were discovered as recent as 11 years ago?

Chinese Crocodile Lizard

The Chinese Crocodile Lizard is also called “the lizard of great sleepiness” as it often remains motionless for hours.

Chinese Crocodile Lizard

Chinese Crocodile lizards can live for at least 20 years. They are a Species Survival Plan (SSP) Animal, which means their population is managed under professional care, by biologists and herpetologists to ensure the species isn’t threatened. They are semi-aquatic creatures that enjoy cool and wet habitats. The interesting thing about these lizards is that they are ovoviviparous, which means they give live birth instead of laying eggs.

Chuckwalla

Chuckwalla

Chuckwallas like hanging out on top of rocks – it’s the perfect place to bask in the sun.

Some lizards are closer to home than you think. For example, the Chuckwalla can be found in the southwestern part of the United States. They can be highly susceptible as food for other animals but their bodies allow them to expand in smaller places to stay out of reach from predators. They also like hanging out on rock crops as it serves as the perfect place to bask in the sun.

Eastern Collared Lizard

Eastern Collared Lizard

The Eastern Collared Lizard is one of the lizard species that can run on their hind legs.

Eastern Collared Lizards also reside in the southwestern part of the United States. What makes these little ones unique is that the coatings on the males are brighter than the females. The brighter the male, the more attracted he is to the female.

Panther Chameleon
Panther Chameleons come from Madagascar. Males are more vibrantly colored than females which are tan or peach-colored.

Panther Chameleon

Chameleons are zygodactylous: on each foot, the five toes are fused into a group of two and a group of three, giving the foot a tongs-like appearance.

Panther Chameleon

Newport Aquarium biologist and herpetologist, Ryan Dumas majored in Biology at Northern Kentucky University. He began as a summer aide in 2005 and has worked at the National Aquarium, as well as the Bronx Zoo.

They are zygodactylous: on each foot, the five toes are fused into a group of two and a group of three, giving the foot a tongs-like appearance. Chameleons have unique eyes – they can rotate and focus on two different objects at the same time! Panther chameleons have very large tongues, often longer than their entire body! They extend their tongue very fast to catch prey. Males are more vibrantly colored than females which are tan or peach-colored. They also lay 20 to 30 eggs between two to three times per year. This species of chameleon has a very short life span that only lasts between three to four years.

Argentine Black and White Tegu

Black and White Tegu

Oreo the Argentine Black and White Tegu is one of Newport Aquarium’s Ambassador Animals.

 

The Argentine Black and White Tegu is the largest species of tegu. It has a six-inch forked tongue that it uses to smell its surroundings. Black and white tegus have unique coloring. When they’re born, they have a bright green head and darker body. As they mature, that green gradually fades to tones of black and white. They can grow to be 45 inches long and their diets consist of invertebrates and vertebrates. Tegus are not tree dwellers. They spend most of their life on ground, but they are excellent swimmers.

 

 

Solomon Island Skink

Solomon Island Skink

The Solomon Island Skink or “Monkey Tail Skink” is one of the few lizard species that has a prehensile tail.

The Solomon Island Skink or “Monkey Tail Skink” is one of the few lizard species that has a prehensile tail, which means it can grasp or wrap around something. Although they primarily eat vegetation, they are easily agitated animals and are considered “circulars” which means one male will lead in a group of females. One of a few ways you can distinguish the gender is by the shapes of their heads and bodies – females have narrow heads and pear-shaped bodies.

These are just a few of the many lizards you can see here at Newport Aquarium. Visit www.newportaquarium.com to plan your next trip and see the latest promotions.

Happy World Lizard Day from Newport Aquarium.

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Today is International Otter Awareness Day

Zoos and Aquariums around the world are raising awareness today that Otters need our help.

Did you know that otters are an ‘indicator species?’ When we see otter populations thriving, that’s an indication that their surrounding habitat is healthy. Unfortunately, of 13 total otter species, nine are declining across the world. Otters are also a ‘keystone species,’ which means they are the key species that hold their ecosystem together. If otters were to vanish, other species could increase and cause an unbalanced environment. This could ultimately lead to the whole ecosystem crashing.

Otter

How Can You Help?
Some of the most common problems we see in otter habitats are from pollution and disease. We can help these issues by carefully selecting cleaning supplies that are washed down the drain and fertilizers that are used in our yards. These chemicals travel throughout watersheds and harm the foods that otters rely on for survival.

Past and current efforts to protect otters have been mostly successful. While several species remain in real danger, the conservation efforts in place right now give us a very good chance to see these cute creatures surviving well into the future.

Asian Small Clawed Otters
Newport Aquarium’s Canyon Falls exhibit features Asian Small Clawed Otters. In their natural habitat, they are found in the mangrove swamps and wetlands in South East Asia, Indonesia and India. When visiting Newport Aquarium, be sure to stop by Canyon Falls to learn more about these animals through zookeeper training sessions or Otter Talks lead by one of our cast members.

Otter Talks

Daily otter talks help Newport Aquarium guests learn more about Asian Small Clawed Otters

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Newport Aquarium, voted the No. 1 aquarium in the country by USA Today’s 10Best.com in 2012, has showcased thousands of animals from around the world in a million gallons of water since 1999. Named a top U.S. aquarium by US City Traveler and Destinations Travel Magazine in 2014, and also by Travel Channel in 2013, Newport Aquarium is a Herschend Family Entertainment company and an accredited member of the Association of Zoos and Aquariums. Newport Aquarium is open to the public 365 days a year and is located across the Ohio River from downtown Cincinnati at Newport on the Levee.

Find us on: Facebook.com/NewportAquarium | Twitter: @NewportAquarium

One Aquarium Way | Newport, KY 41071 | 859-261-7444
www.newportaquarium.com

 

Canyon Falls, Newport Aquarium’s newest exhibit, to open Saturday

Rare otters and lizards highlight Aquarium’s latest guest experience


NEWPORT, Ky.
– The all-new Canyon Falls exhibit at Newport Aquarium is set to open to the public 10 a.m. Saturday, March 14.

Canyon Falls, which will occupy the area that formerly housed the Turtle Canyon exhibit, will be the new home to Asian small-clawed otters and some of the world’s most unique reptiles.

“Our guests spoke to us about the desire to bring back otters to Newport Aquarium and we heard them loud and clear,” said Chris Pierson, Newport Aquarium operations director. “From Asian small-clawed otters, to very rare species of lizards, Canyon Falls will offer guests a number of opportunities to experience and learn about the conservation of some truly unique animals.”

CanyonFalls_GoogleCoverPhoto

Asian small-clawed otters are back at Newport Aquarium by popular demand as Canyon Falls will initially feature two otters – Neda (female), who came from Kansas City Zoo, and Pork Chop (male), who came from National Zoo in Washington, D.C. The exhibit will offer guests multiple vantage points to see these playful and social animals up close and personal.

Newport Aquarium staff will host scheduled interactive otter talks at Canyon Falls, which will provide guests educational opportunities to learn more about otter biology and conservation. The talks will focus on survival adaptations and how humans directly impact the environment of otters – particularly Asian small-clawed otters, which are listed as a vulnerable species, one category away from endangered, by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN).

NewportAq_Otter

In addition to otters, Canyon Falls will include two species of lizard never before seen at Newport Aquarium – yellow monitors, rare and active tree-dwelling lizards from Indonesia, and panther chameleons, one of the most colorful lizards in the world from Madagascar.

Canyon Falls will also feature two popular holdovers from Turtle Canyon: the iconic Thunder, a more than 100-year-old, 155-pound snapping turtle and Newport Aquarium’s oldest resident, will remain in the temple tank; and the Turtle Corral, where guests have the unique opportunity to touch several species of tortoises.

Yellow monitors will be on exhibit at Canyon Falls.

Yellow monitors will be on exhibit at Canyon Falls.

Newport Aquarium Annual Passholders will get to enjoy an exclusive sneak peak of Canyon Falls prior to the aquarium opening to the public at 10 a.m. Saturday. The Canyon Falls Annual Passholder preview is scheduled from 8:30 a.m. to 10 a.m. and will include: Breakfast provided by Chick-fil-A; interactive games; exclusive animal encounters presented by the WAVE Foundation; and photo opportunities with the Chick-fil-A Cow and the stars of Newport Aquarium’s daily Penguin Parade, J.P. and Rocky.

For more information on Newport Aquarium, visit NewportAquarium.com or call toll free 800-406-FISH (3474).

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Newport Aquarium, voted the No. 1 aquarium in the country by USA Today’s 10Best.com in 2012, has showcased thousands of animals from around the world in a million gallons of water since 1999. Named a top U.S. aquarium by US City Traveler and Destinations Travel Magazine in 2014, and also by Travel Channel in 2013, Newport Aquarium is a Herschend Family Entertainment company and an accredited member of the Association of Zoos and Aquariums. Newport Aquarium is open to the public 365 days a year and is located across the Ohio River from downtown Cincinnati at Newport on the Levee.

Find us on: Facebook.com/NewportAquarium | Twitter: @NewportAquarium

One Aquarium Way | Newport, KY 41071 | 859-261-7444
www.newportaquarium.com