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Irian Jaya Native Habitat

Posted: Mon Jul 09, 2012 4:33 pm
by Dan
As everyone knows, Irian Jaya comprises the western portion of the island of New Guinea, one of the largest islands in the world. The island is known to hold a wealth of flora and fauna and to contain some of the largest remaining expanses of old-growth rainforest. The question I have is "what is the natural habitat for the blue tongue skinks who live there?"

Elevations range from sea level to over 4000 meters, and at that close to the equator, elevation and the rain shadows of the mountain ranges have a huge impact on the climate. As research, I have watched documentaries set in remote areas of New Guinea like Mysterious Mamberamo, Pururambo, and Carstensz: The Seventh Summit; the impression that I get is that it's hot and wet there year round. This strikes me as inconsistent considering that a skink can suffer respiratory infections at elevated humidity and goes into brumation at lower temperatures. It doesn't look like it ever really gets cold in that part of the world---unless you go up the mountains.

Does someone have a better idea of what sort of biome the skinks inhabit? Or someone who has visited New Guinea in person? I lived in Costa Rica for several years and I have seen situations where on the west coast it might go 3-4 months without rain; 30 km away in the mountains it might rain every day.Base don that experience of such varied climate in a very small area, I'm thinking that the Irian Jayas live in a dry tropical forest or something similar. Any information that you could share to satisfy my curiosity would be greatly appreciated.

Re: Irian Jaya Native Habitat

Posted: Tue Jul 10, 2012 7:28 am
by Linnea
I have not been there, but past the 2000 meters above the ocean line, not many reptiles, or animals, are seen if there is no strong vegetation to keep the moist.
especially if its above the lower layer of clouds that tends to flock around mountain tops. even more so if humans have used the ground for farming and left, sometimes because the ground no longer was fertile enough, making it very dusty and less natural vegetation.

so i assume if you were to find irian jayas, dont look too high up :lol: for humidity and cold reasons as well. quite dangerous.

(im basing my assumptions on observations of three of the canarian islands, and Sicily, which are the only islands ive been to that has both altitude and reptiles. the higher up the less reptiles were seen basking, at some point even the larger insects gave up due to the sand/lava rock masses)

based on these assumptions, i can give you an example of temperature differences.
the driest of the islands, even in summer (regular island temps of 20-35 C), just barely manages to melt the ice and snow on top of the mountain, and at the foot of Teneriffes volcano Teide, its barely 5 C in spring and autumn. i think its 3200 m high in total >.<
the island la gomera, is the opposite of the other islands mentioned, is overgrown with old trees that keep the rain and moist and fog like a constant layer over the whole island. its quite chilly there, but past ten C.

Re: Irian Jaya Native Habitat

Posted: Sun Jul 15, 2012 2:24 pm
by Dan
Thank you. I would imagine that paramo-like conditions would persist above 8000-9000 feet that close to the equator. Below that, I can see them inhabiting a fairly wide range of habitats, ranging from pre-montane rainforest to arid scrublands, occupying much the same niche in the ecosystem as five-linked skinks and swift lizards might in North America. Any location-specific anecdotes of Irian Jaya blue-tongues in the wild would simply help to fine-tune the conditions in my enclosure.

I have never been to Scandinavia but my grandparents hail from Norway. I would really like to visit sometime. We hear so many wonderful things about the people and natural beauty of the fjords. I would imagine that regulating photocycles for your captives would be more difficult that close to the arctic circle, but from your past posts you seem to have access to quality reptile husbandry equipment. Have you ever seen a movie called Trollhunter? It's both suspenseful and preposterous, and I believe it was set somewhere up in your neck of the woods.

Re: Irian Jaya Native Habitat

Posted: Thu Aug 02, 2012 3:39 pm
by critterguy
This might be of interest. It does focus on a man created habitat in an altered ecosystem but I bet just like it Aus blue tongues are found in a variety of environs. The necessity to maintain PBT with ease probably excludes them from the interior of dense woodland and high elevation cloud forest. ... 8-3bii.php

Re: Irian Jaya Native Habitat

Posted: Fri Aug 03, 2012 4:44 pm
by Richard.C
yeah they will inhabit differing climate zones,not just one zone,they are quite adaptable

some areas warmer,sone cooler,some dryer,some wetter,some wikk have big cooler times,others more consistant temps

some species seem to thrive in human disturbed areas to

Re: Irian Jaya Native Habitat

Posted: Sat Aug 04, 2012 6:17 pm
by Dan
Thank you. According to that website, tiliqua gigas lives alongside crocodile skinks, which are supposed to be more of a moist leaf-litter inhabitant;. I'd imagine that this an adaptable lizard here shown living at the damper end of its comfort range. An excellent glimpse into a rarely seen world.

Re: Irian Jaya Native Habitat

Posted: Sat Aug 04, 2012 10:48 pm
by Richard.C
whilst they may occupy croc skink habitat,unlike croc skinks they arent forced to occupy that habitat,you will find they are quite common in open areas,savanna type habitats and cleared areas for farming ect to

take eastern bluetongues for example,there range is vast,from the tropical north to sub alpine regions in the south,along the coast to quite far inland,dry areas to quite wet areas,just because they can be found for eg in sub alpine areas doesnt mean they should all be dealt as such,let alone kept as such

you want to find a niddle ground if your basing wild animals for the keeping of them in captivity,its so hard to mimick nature and offer them what nature provides in a small indoor enclosure

Re: Irian Jaya Native Habitat

Posted: Wed Aug 08, 2012 3:00 pm
by Spindown
Interesting thread!

I've seen trollhunter...that movie was ridiculous :P