The Fascinating Reptiles of Bangladesh Part One
Fossil evidence suggests that reptiles most likely originated around 300 million years ago, and while dinosaurs – the largest of all reptiles – may have become extinct 65 million years ago, up to 7,400 species of reptiles have survived relatively unchanged to the present day. In Bangladesh there is an interesting variety of reptiles, many of which can be seen in the nature conservation areas of the country. Of the 126 reptile species found in Bangladesh, 109 species reside inland and 17 are marine species. Inland reptiles include 67 snake species, 2 crocodilian species, 21 species of turtles and tortoises and 18 species of lizards, while the marine reptiles consist of 5 turtle species and 12 species of snakes.
The largest of all living reptiles is the Saltwater Crocodile (Crocodylus porosus) found in the Sundarbans of Bangladesh and India. The male Saltwater Crocodile generally grows to a length of between 4.1 and 5.5 meters, although they have been known to exceed 6 meters in length and weigh up to 1,000 kilograms. Their rate of growth is rapid, as when they are hatchlings they generally measure between 25 and 30 centimeters and weigh around 70 grams, but in their second year will have reached a length of 1 meter and weigh around 2.5 kilograms. The Saltwater Crocodile is often hunted for its high-priced hide, which has resulted in populations in the wild dwindling. Nevertheless, it is listed by the IUCN as having a conservation status of “Least Concern”.
Listed as one of the six largest snakes in the world, the Burmese python (Python molurus bivittatus) is found in tropical and sub-tropical climate regions of Southern and Southeastern Asia, including Bangladesh. It is prized in the leather industry for its deep colored hide and is listed as “Vulnerable” with the IUCN. In the wild Burmese Pythons grow to an average length of 3.7 meters, but have been known to reach a length of almost 5 meters.
The multi-colored Tokay Gecko (Gekko gecko) is a fascinating creature that is at home in urban settings as it is in its natural habitat of trees and cliffs and is found in Bangladesh, Nepal, northeast India and Southeast Asia. Juveniles are generally light brown colored while adults are bluish-grey in color and both adults and juveniles have spots ranging from pale yellow to orange and red. Adult males can grow to a length of 51 centimeters, with females being a bit smaller. They are territorial and solitary, only meeting in mating season.
These are just some of the interesting reptiles found in Bangladesh – a charming country offering visitors a host of opportunities to enjoy its natural beauty.