Day 91 of #the100dayproject and my #realandendangered project. You may remember from the (#16) Madagascar Blind Snake, that I have a very natural fear of snakes. I actually thought I would not do another, but the guilt for exclusion based on crippling fear won out. So let's spend a short (very short) amount of time talking about the Round Island keel-scaled boa (found on Round Island, Mauritius). It has recently been reintroduced to Gunner’s Quoin, a neighboring island where the species previously occurred. Additional facts: 1. They are the only terrestrial vertebrate species to have an intermaxillary joint that can separate and split the anterior and posterior bones of the upper jaw. 2. They are covered in small, keeled scales (rough in texture) that give rise to the species' common name. 3. They have specialized skin cells that allow individuals to change color over a 24 hour period (darker during the day when inactive and lighter at night when active). 4. They are semi-arboreal. 5. They are a slender species that can reach up to 1.5 meters in length (close to 5 feet).
The International Union for the Conservation of Nature currently lists them as "endangered." Habitat loss (from grazing goats and rabbits) and introduction of mammalian predators (pigs and rodents) are the main reasons for their population decline. The Durrell Conservation Trust, along with the Mauritian Government and Wildlife Foundation, have worked on a restoration program, which includes the removal of goats and rabbits, reintroduction of native plants, and helping the lizard population (part of boa's diet) recover. This work also led to the reintroduction of the species to Gunner's Quoin, where it hopefully will re-establish a population. #enmlillustration #thesadhappy #digitalart