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*Dwarf Bitis Alert*

Doesn't this Desert Mountain Adder make you think of a dragon? Those cryptic markings, that frilled upper lip... that piercing stare?
We extended a recent Northern Cape Field Trip with the @africanherpbioinstitute and @nicolau_ecology_ to search for this beauty in one of the most remote and spectacular locations in our country.

Desert Mountain Adders live in inhospitable mountainous terrain on the border between South Africa and Namibia... so, even when one gives yourself a day to look for them, you stand a very slim chance of success... But, Keir's dwarf adder radar was spot on again, and we were all ecstatic when he announced that he had found one... One cannot but wonder what these animals live on in this desolate landscape, in the time spent looking for this species I observed a ground-beetle, two blades of grass, a bulb of sorts, and a Trac-trac Chat. Mind-boggling... This species is a Southern African Endemic, and they reach a length of up to 60cm.
They are typical dwarf adders, very temperamental, and will readily hiss and strike when threatened - this species is venomous, both cytotoxic and neurotoxic, and a bite will be painful and swollen. There may also be respiratory complications. Any bites should be treated as a medical urgency.
Glad to have spent such a special afternoon in the company of new herping friends - @rockii_david , and sharing such an amazing field sighting with people we love.
Bitis xeropaga - Desert Mountain Adder, Woestynbergadder - FFN, Northern Cape, South Africa.
#canonphoto #canonglobal #canonsa #canonsouthafrica #ishootwithorms #menseselense #gomagsa #bionerds #biodiversity #biodiversityconservation #fieldwork #fieldsurvey #biosurvey #snakes #snake #snakesofinstagram #snakesofsouthafrica #reptilesofinstagram #reptilesofsouthafrica #reptiles #herpsofsouthafrica #herps #bitis #bitisxeropaga #desertmountainadder #nature #endemic #southafrica #wildlife

The death stare of a Pel’s Fishing Owl, found roosting in the Jackalberry tree’s of the Moremi Game Reserve. One of my best sightings of the this uncommon and Vulnerable owl species. Check out those fishing Talons. Always a priveledge to see special birds like this. #pelsfishingowl #owl #okavangodelta #moremi #botswana #birdsofinstagram #birdsofsouthafrica #feather_perfection #kings_birds #birdoftheday #naturephotography #naturelovers #wildlifephotography #birds #gomagsa #yourshotphotographer #africageophoto #africa

These beautiful tortoises are fighting a battle for survival as a species... Geometric Tortoises are listed as Critically Endangered. The last assessment of this species produced a staggering outcome of over an 80% loss in the total population over the last 90 years.
Why? Because 90% of the total historical habitat for this species have undergone agricultural conversion beyond possible rehabilitation.
We have affected such a drastic transformation of their natural habitat (still ongoing) that it resulted in a massive decline in their natural range, severe degradation of their habitat quality and thus a big loss in numbers. Throw in improper fire management regimes, adverse weather effects due to climate change... and you have a winning combo for an extinction threat... On top of this there is still the threat of illegally harvesting from the wild - for both subsistence as well as exploitation for the pet trade.
What this species is left with is such a fragmented population that recruitement via natural breeding do not surpass loss of viable specimens... And the IUCN prediction is that this will go on for at least another 20 years... Such a beautiful species, such a difficult future... We are the lucky ones, who has been afforded the opportunity to see this amazing species, in the wild, where the belong.
Psammobates geometricus - Geometric Tortoise, Geometriese Skilpad - Refugia, Western Cape, South Africa.
#canonphoto #canon #canonglobal #canonsa #canonsouthafrica #ishootwithorms #menseselense #gomagsa #bionerds #biodiversity #biodiversityconservation #conservation #criticallyendangered #tortoise #tortoisesofinstagram #psammobates #psammobatesgeometricus #geometrictortoise #chelonia #nature #wildlife

A Painted Reed Frog rests patiently in a tree’s leaf at the edge of the Masuku Lodge dam in Zambia. Can you identify which species of Reed Frog this is, let me know in the comments? #frog #amphibian #frogsofinstagram #naturephotography #nature #wildlife #wildlifephotography #naturelovers #africa #zambia #zambia_tourism @zambia_tourism #yourshotphotographer #gomagsa #africageophoto #wildlifeplanet #getawaymagazine #photographylovers #travelphotography #travelafrica

Oh! Hello! 😍

Another happy day running into this special species deep in the mountains between nothing and nowhere.
Hawequa Flat Geckos live a rupiculous lifestyle (big words for saying they live in rock cracks 😋), in the south-western Cape.
They are the stuff field herpers dreams are made of, and a must see for every field herper at least once in their lifetime.
They are an impressive species - this specimen was gorgeous and his tail was absolutely rediculous!
They are uncommon, and a range restricted species that are listed as Near Threatened under the IUCN - apart from climate change and alien invasive vegetation encroachment, the biggest threat to this species is the possibility of illegal harvesting for the pet trade.
Poaching is a big threat to charismatic reptile species like these, and any quantity pilfered from the wild can have a very detrimental effect on a population - and captive breeding does not mitigate demand nor does it contribute to conservation - AT ALL.
We have been very fortunate to see this species in the wild, in their natural habitat, where they should be.
Afroedura hawaquensis - Hawequa Flat Gecko, Hawequa se Platstertgeitjie - Western Cape, South Africa.
#canonphoto #canon #canonmacro #macro #ishootwithorms #bionerds #biodiversity #biodiversityconservation #ecoexploration #gecko #geckonidae #geckosofsouthafrica #geckosofinstagram #lizards #lizardsofinstagram #lizardsofsouthafrica #reptilesofinstagram #reptilesofsouthafrica #reptiles #reptile #herps #herpetology #afroedurahawaquensis
#nature #wildlife #menseselense #gomagsa

Gariep Dam is full! Douwe Vlok from @mpafa_travel shot this video this morning. 💦💧☔️ #gomagsa #yourjourneystartshere #gariepdam #dam #water #travels #southafrica #freestate

Amphitheatre Milky Way #Drakensberg Amphitheatre #SouthAfrica
An incredible night sky at 3100m above sea level on top of the Drakensberg escarpment. Thanks for releasing the shutter here @markdumbletonphoto while yours truly played with the head lamp...
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