Although Papua New Guinea occupies a small land surface, the tropical island is home to a vibrant and outstanding diversity of reptiles, many of which are endemic and unique to the island.
Native Reptiles Of Papua New Guinea
Bumblebee slender-toe gecko (Nactus kunan)
The bumblebee slender-toe gecko is an indigenous species to the Admiralty Islands of Papua New Guinea. The species has also been located in the highlands of Manu Islands where their occurrence is widespread. The species is brightly colored with broad alternating patterns of black or dark brown with yellow bands on the neck, trunk, and tail. The head has unique patterns with a yellow crown and eyelids against a black background.
The spiny-headed sea snake (Acalyptophis peronii)
The spin-headed sea snake is a venomous species of sea snake indigenous to the western tropical Pacific Ocean. The snake has a small, laterally flattened head with spikes. Its habitats include sandy beds and coral reefs, and the snake’s diet is primarily composed of small fish.
The mysterious tree monitor (Varanus telenesetes)
The mysterious tree monitor is a native reptile of Papua New Guinea found on Rossel Island. The body is slender with a long prehensile tail with a blackish background color. The total length of the body is about 2ft with some reaching about 3ft. The underside has a cream color with deep brown spots, a banded neck, and a yellow tongue.
The brown tree snake (Boiga irregularis)
The brown tree snake is an arboreal rear-fanged colubrid native to Papua New Guinea. Though the venom is poisonous, it is not a threat to human adults as it is weak and the fangs are positioned in a way that makes it non-feasible to deliver sufficient amounts of poison to adults. The tree snake uses visual and chemical cues to hunt in the tropical forest canopies. The snake has vertical cat-like eyes and can grow to about 6ft in length. The body is slender and long, an adaptation for climbing as well as maneuvering small spaces. The snake feeds on lizards, birds, bats, rats, and other small rodents.
Other Reptiles of Papua New Guinea and threats
Papua New Guinea is impressive for its biodiversity, and has a large amount of endemic species. Despite efforts for conservation, climate change and the subsequent rise in sea level remain threats to the ecosystem.