Rain Bird BioTrek

BioTrek Animals

Rendova (Ren) - Solomon Island Skink (Corucia zebrata)

Ren our solomon island skink


Scientific name: Corucia zebrata 

Other common names: Monkey-tailed skink and Prehensile-tailed skink


The Solomon Islands skinks are native to the Solomon Islands in the southwest Pacific Ocean and live in the upper canopy of forested areas throughout its range. 


Adults can reach up to 32 inches in length from the nose to the tip of the tail. The tail can make up more than half its length. This prehensile tail is an adaptation to arboreal living, using it to grasp and maintain its balance on branches. Male skinks have a broader head with a more slender body than females. Males also have a “V” shaped scale pattern close to their cloacal opening, while females do not exhibit this pattern. 

The dorsal scales are green with speckled green and black, and the ventral scales vary from light yellow to different shades of green. Their toes have curved nails to facilitate climbing up and down tree trunks and branches. 


The Solomon Islands skinks are crepuscular(active during dawn and dusk hours). They depend on their good vision to identify potential threats and food. 


Although rare in most reptiles, the Solomon Islands skink is highly social by forming social groups known as a circulus. They live in these small family groups, working together to protect their territory and their young. Both males and females are aggressively territorial with unfamiliar individuals outside their circulus. They rely on their sense of smell to identify their own territory and members of their family group. 


In the wild and captivity, they are strictly herbivores, eating a variety of leaves, fruits, and vegetables. They particularly eat the mildly toxic Solomon Island creeper plant also known commonly as the Pothos plant. 

Interesting facts 

  • World’s largest species of extant skinks. 
  • Only known skink species with a prehensile tail
  • Only known skink species to be strictly herbivorous
  • They are viviparous (give birth to live young)

Jacaré and Lara - Cuvier's dwarf caiman (Paleosuchus palpebrosus)

Two caimans laying down next to each other

Scientific name: Paleosuchus palpebrosus


The Cuvier’s dwarf caiman is native to northern and central South America. They prefer fast moving streams or rivers around forested areas that contain waterfalls and rapids. In the wild, you will find them near cooler water areas such as rivers and inundated savannas such as the Orinoco and Amazon rivers in South America. If they are not in the water, you will most likely see them residing on rocks or branches near the water. 


The male caiman can grow up to 5.2ft and females grow up to 3ft 11in and can weigh between 13-15 lbs. They have a dark brown and black coloration with varying dark and light spots along its body  while the tail is marked with encircling bands to the tip. They have strong body armor on both its ventral and dorsal sides, this includes the  dermal scales with a bony base which are known as osteoderms, providing protection against potential predators. Their head is shaped differently than other crocodilians, with a dome-shaped skull and a short, smooth, concave snout with an upturned tip.


This species is nocturnal, during the day they like to spend their time basking on piles of rocks/branches or by staying afloat in water. At night they hunt their prey in the water or on land. The Cuvier dwarf caiman is a social species that either spends their time alone or in pairs as we see with Jacaré and Lara. They have interesting social behaviors to communicate with each other, they use sounds, movements, postures, smells, and touch. When in these pairs they can migrate long distances due to competition. Dominant males are very territorial and will exclude other males from resources such as mates, nesting sites and foraging areas. 


They are keystone species, meaning that their survival greatly affects the healthy balance of organisms in their ecosystem. This caiman species helps keep the piranha population in check, without their presence the piranha population will dominate and drastically transform the ecosystem. The dwarf caiman eggs also play a vital role in becoming prey for other organisms. 


The Cuvier’s dwarf caiman is a carnivorous species that feeds on fish, amphibians, small mammals, birds, crabs, shrimp, mollusks, and other invertebrates. Juveniles mostly feed on tadpoles, frogs, and snails, and land invertebrates. Prey is swallowed whole and then grounded up in the digestive system, specifically in the gizzard.  

Interesting facts: 

  • Only crocodilian species to not perform the “death roll” when feeding or in combat
  • When threatened, caimans inflate their body to seem bigger and may also hiss aggressively


 David Boa - Boa constrictor (Boa constrictor)
David Boa laying across shelf mushrooms

Scientific name: Boa constrictor

 Other common names: Red-tailed boa and Common boa


Boa constrictors are native to the tropics of Central and South America. You will primarily find these snakes around humid areas, such as rivers and streams in a rainforest but they can also be found around semi-deserts, woodlands, dry tropical forests, and savannas. 


Boa constrictors are non-venomous snakes. They can reach up to 13 feet as adults and can weigh more than 100 pounds. Their color varies depending on the habitat they occupy to camouflage. Their base color can be tan, green, red, and yellow and their pattern can be cryptic (bars, lines, diamonds, or circles) with brown or reddish-brown coloration. This coloring becomes more pronounced at the tail which gives them their other common name, “red-tailed boa”. They have an arrow-shaped head with distinctive stripes that run dorsally from the snout to the back of the head, one that runs from the snout to the eyes, and then one from the eyes to the jaw.

Boa constrictors possess pelvic spurs, like other members of the family Boidae. Pelvic spurs are hind legs remnants found on the sides of the cloacal opening, larger in males, to help grip the female during courtship.


They are both terrestrial and semi-arboreal. Although they are excellent swimmers, they prefer to stay on dry land, using logs or abandoned animal burrows to stay hidden from potential predators. 


Similar to most reptiles, they are solitary animals until it's time to find a mate. As nocturnal animals, they hunt at night and you will catch them basking during the day. Although tame in captivity, boa constrictors will hiss and strike at any perceived threat in the wild. Unlike other members of the Boidae family, boa constrictors lack heat-sensitive pits around their mouth, and instead, they are similar to most snakes that highly rely on their tongue and vision to collect sensory information. 


In their natural habitat, boa constrictors prey on small mammals and birds. To capture their prey, they use ambush hunting, this means that they sit and wait for a pretty item to pass by and when it does they rapidly strike to catch it.  

Interesting facts: 

  • In the wild, they can live between 20-30 years, in captivity they can live between 25- 40 years.
  • In captivity, their diet consists of rats and chicks. 
  • They help with rodent control in the wild.
  • Viviparous (give birth to live young)
  • Newborn boa constrictors are independent within minutes of birth


Tokay geckos - Gekk Gekk 
 Tokay gecko with mouth open

Scientific name: Gekko gecko


The tokay gecko is an arboreal species native to southwest and east Asia. Its native habitat is the tropical rainforest and is found on trees and cliffs. This gecko has also adapted to live in human habitation, sheltering in home walls and ceilings hunting for insect prey. Due to the pet trade, they have expanded outside their native range as an introduced species in Florida, Hawaii, and Belize. 


Tokay geckos are believed to be the third-largest gecko species. Male adults can range up to 13-16 inches and female adults range between 8-12 inches. They have thick cylindrical bodies. They have soft velvety, granular skin and the base skin color is generally blue-gray and with spots varying from brownish to bright red. They also can lighten and darken their skin depending on their environment. This unique coloration is important for camouflage in the wild. 


This species is sexually dimorphic, males differ from females in a variety of characteristics such as males being more brightly colored and larger than females. Males also have a small amount of swelling near the base of their tails. 


Similar to other geckos, the tokay geckos possess microscopic filaments called setae located on their toes that use molecular bonds which allow the geckos to cling on to vertical and overhanging surfaces. 


Tokay geckos will defend their territory for resources against other tokay geckos and other species as well. When threatened they will warn with “barking” sounds. If unable to flee with their fast speeds, they will resort to attacking.  They are known to be aggressive when threatened and can inflict a bite strong enough to draw blood. When bitten by a tokay gecko it is best not to tug the animal off because this will cause the tokay gecko to tighten its grip causing further damage. 


For the most part, they are solitary creatures but will associate with the opposite sex during the breeding season. During the breeding season, males will emit a loud mating call to attract females. This mating call is described as sounding like “to-kay”, “gekk-gekk”, or “tuck-too”. 


A tokay gecko’s diet consists of invertebrates (insects such as grasshoppers, roaches, crickets, beetles, mosquitos, and spiders). On occasion, they could eat small rats and mice. 

 Interesting facts: 

  • Ears are visible as small holes on each side of the head
  • They have remains of a rudimentary third eye on the top of their head (believed to regulate activity in different light conditions)
  • Nocturnal species 
  • Tokays can drop their tail in defense and regenerate a new tail