REPTILES

Reptiles found in the Sartenajan Region include terrestrial (lad) and mangrove dwelling snakes and lizards, marine and freshwater tortoises and crocodiles.

Reptiles play an important role in nature, tourism, agriculture, and maintaining marine ecosystems. Carnivorous reptiles eat insects, rats and mice, other mammals, and other snakes and also lizards. Some snakes, including the deadly coral snakes, feed only on other snakes.

Tourists that are interested in wildlife are excited by seeing lizards and snakes. A harmless lizard of high tourism value is the black iguana, which is common around Sarteneja and can be seen in the village.

The sustainable management of reptiles in developed areas first requires a knowledge of species and their habitat needs. In natural habitats lizards and tortoises generally live in moderate densities in optimal habitat. Some snakes are common, but many are found at low to very low densities, and some snakes that live underground are only found by turning rocks or rotting wood, or during earth works.

Many species of terrestrial reptiles thrive in developed areas if patches of unfarmed habitat such as forest or swamp are left.

Because some predators are absent in unfarmed patches, and food availability can be high, populations of some reptiles species can sometimes exceed those found in large patches of uncleared forest.