Creature Feature: Amaya Perez

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Amaya Perez

Animal Keeper

Reptiles Alive Name: Amazing Alligator Amaya (aka Triple A)

Hissstory: Amaya got her Masters in Telecommunications Engineering in her native Pamplona, Spain.  Amaya’s adventures since migrating to the US in the summer of 2001  include performing research on different species of bats and working  as a  Keeper Aide at the National Zoo.  Amaya joined the Reptiles Alive! team in September 2010.

RA Diet: Leftovers or a frozen meal heated up in the super amazing RA microwave. That thing is on steroids!. Oh yeah, a coffee in the morning is a must.

Natural Diet: Even though Amaya’s natural diet is Mediterranean food, she loves to try new flavors.   She is the ultimate omnivore and will eat just about anything with gusto.

Range: “Amayas” or “Amaias” are most often found in the northern part of the Iberian Peninsula. They are a hardy and adaptable species and can now be found in several continents.

Habitat: You can regularly find Amaya roaming the wonderful natural parks in the DC metro area guiding her offspring and teaching them survival skills. Playgrounds are likely to produce sightings as well. When away from her offspring you can find Amaya at RA’s headquarters baby-talking to the animals or at the National Zoo coming up with fun and crafty enrichment ideas  in between cleaning and feeding.

Size: Amaya is about 5’7” and would rather not disclose her weight.

Lifespan: Amaya rarely gets a good night sleep so she is afraid years are being shaved off of her life. If sleeping patterns improve, Amaya could live up to 80 years or more.

Reproduction: Amazing Alligator Amaya has been mated for 10 years and has produced three rambunctious offspring with our very own Boa Brad.

Conservation: Amaya has always been in love with animals. Her biggest dreams when she was a little girl was going to Africa to be amongst some of the coolest animals on Earth and becoming a veterinarian.
Even though her background is in engineering her life has been dedicated to animals (including juvenile human primates) since her migration across the Atlantic.
Amaya enjoys caring for animals greatly and also loves sharing her knowledge and love for animals with the public when working at the zoo. Amaya also enjoys training animals and learning about animal behavior.

Cool Facts: Amaya has been an animal keeper since 2002 and has worked with a wide variety of non-reptilians. Amongst the creatures on her list are: lions, tigers, spectacled bears, sloth bears, giant pandas, gorillas, orangutans,Sulawesi macaques, gibbons, lemurs, coatis, caracals, servals and red pandas.
Amaya has only recently discovered how cool reptiles are and loves learning about them.
She has made it her mission to always soak the elderly animals in comforting warm baths at RA  every day she works.  Amaya also loves to hear Jeremiah the Bullfrog sing in happiness after she gives him a tasty treat.

Hello world!

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Creature Feature: Cope’s Gray Treefrog

Cope’s Gray Treefrog

Hyla chrysoscelis

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Reptiles Alive name
: “Hyla”

Hissstory: Hyla was an unwanted pet sent to live with us in March of 2010.

RA Diet: Crickets and meal worms.

Natural Diet
: insects.

Range: Gray tree frogs are found throughout the eastern United States north into Canada.  They are native to the Washington DC area.

Habitat: Forests, backyards, and urban parks.

Size: Gray tree frogs grow to about 1.25-2 inches, the record is 2 and 3/8 inches.

Lifespan: Can live 5 + years.

Reproduction: Males gray tree frogs begin to call in mid to late Spring.  They form large groups called choruses. Their song is a flute like trill, a bit like a telephone. They breed March – October. Eggs are laid in water – usually ditches or puddles that form in the spring and dry up in the summer.

Conservation: Threats to gray tree frogs include:  air & water pollution and habitat destruction.  They require access to clean pools of water each spring in order to reproduce.  If the pools of water are gone or polluted, the population of tree frogs in that area will disappear.

Cool Facts:  Gray tree frogs have remarkable camouflage – they become almost invisible as they perch in the trees where they live.  They can also change their skin color from a dark gray to almost white to a light green.  If frightened, however, they flash bright gold on their thighs as they leap which may startle a predator.

Tree frogs also have suction cups on their hands and feet that allow them to stick to almost any surface.  You might find a gray tree frog stuck to the outside of the  glass window looking into your bedroom!

Creature Feature : Bearded Dragon

Bearded Dragon

Pogona vitticeps

Reptiles Alive name: “Mr. Beardie”beardieportrait

Hissstory: Mr. Beardie was an unwanted pet that came to live with us in 2006.

RA Diet: Mr. Beardie likes to eat: crickets, super worms, roaches, dead mice, greens, fruits and dry food made for bearded dragons.

Natural Diet: Bearded dragons are omnivores – so they eat both meat and plants.  Insects, small animals, greens, fruits, and flowers are all part of their diet in the wild.

Range: Central Australia.

Habitat: Bearded dragons live in the “Outback” – desert and open woodland where they bask on branches and rocks.

Size: Bearded dragons are medium sized lizards that can grow to 16 – 22 inches long.

Lifespan: Bearded dragons can live over 10 years.

Reproduction: Female bearded dragons lay 11-30 oval eggs in a shallow nest dug in the sand. The babies will hatch about two months later.

Conservation: Australia has banned the exportation of its native wildlife for the pet trade, so any bearded dragons sold as pets in the United States have been captively bred here.

Cool Facts: When threatened, bearded dragons puff out their spiky bodies and throat so they become bigger and spikier!  Predators will usually avoid the sore throat they would get from swallowing such a prickly meal.