Reptiles

Reptiles, or members of the class Reptilia, are air-breathing, cold-blooded vertebrates that have skin covered in scales as opposed to hair or feathers. They are tetrapods (having or having descended from vertebrates with four limbs) and amniotes, whose embryos are surrounded by an amniotic membrane. Modern reptiles inhabit every continent with the exception of Antarctica, and four living orders are currently recognized:

* Crocodilia (crocodiles, gavials, caimans, and alligators): 23 species
* Sphenodontia (tuatara from New Zealand): 2 species
* Squamata (lizards, snakes, and amphisbaenids (“worm-lizards”): approximately 7,900 species
* Testudines (turtles, tortoises, and terrapins): approximately 300 species



The majority of reptile species are oviparous (egg-laying) although certain species of squamates are capable of giving live birth. This is achieved, either through ovoviviparity (egg retention), or viviparity (offspring born without use of calcified eggs). Many of the viviparous species feed their fetuses through various forms of placenta analogous to those of mammals with some providing initial care for their hatchlings. Extant reptiles range in size from a tiny gecko, Sphaerodactylus ariasae, that grows to only 1.6 cm (0.6 in), to the saltwater crocodile that may reach 5.5 m in length and weigh over 1,000 kg. The science dealing with reptiles is called herpetology.



Venomous Lizards

Of all the lizards in the world that can be harmful, the only venomous lizards found native to north America are the Gila Monster, and the Mexican Beaded Lizard.

These lizards are classified in the family Helodermatidae. This family consists of 1 genus and only 2 species, the Gila Monster and the Mexican Beaded Lizard.


The Gila Monster and the Mexican Beaded Lizard are found in North America, specifically in south-western United States and Mexico. They have a stout body with a broad head, well developed limbs, a short fat tail. They are carnivorous (meat eaters).

The Gila Monster and the Beaded lizard have long been thought of as being the only venomous lizards, but today authorities do not rule out the possibility that others may be found. However as of yet, they are the only two lizards that are known as venomous.

Non-Native Species

In the world of today, we are seeing more and more imported “exotic” or “non-native” species brought to America, especially through the “black market” trade. With these, come inherent dangers that were not seen before in our native species … both to humans, and to the environment. Of these “non-native” species being introduced to North America are species such as Dragons, Monitors, and Goannas. Some of these are also venomous, and most all are carnivorous.


Crocodilian Species

Even though we offer services for the removal of the non-native or exotic species of lizards, we do not encounter them very often or on a regular basis in Oklahoma. We do however, encounter more frequently, a native and a non-native crocodilian species in Oklahoma … the American Alligator, and the South American Caiman.

Identification

The American alligator (Alligator mississippiensis) is the most common of two crocodilians native to the United States and is one of 22 crocodilian species worldwide. The other native crocodilian is the American crocodile (Crocodylus acutus). Caimans (Caiman spp.), imported from Central and South America, are occasionally released in the United States and can survive and reproduce in Florida. The American alligator is distinguished from the American crocodile and caiman by its more rounded snout and black and yellow-white coloration. American crocodiles and caimans are olive-brown in color and have more pointed snouts. American alligators and crocodiles are similar in physical size, whereas caimans are 40% smaller.

** Note: Misidentification of an American Alligator and subspecies occurs often, and mostly where beaver are present. When a beaver want to warn an intruder, it will dive, and while doing so, slap it’s tail on the surface of the water as a warning. This creates an audible noise that draws attention to it, but the tail is whats observed, and mistaken as an alligator. However, if you suspect an alligator in your waters or on your property, stay away from the area and contact us immediately. Thank you:


Food Habits

Alligators are exclusively carnivorous and prey upon whatever creatures are most available. Juvenile alligators (less than 4 feet [1.2 m]) eat crustaceans, snails, and small fish; sub-adults (4 to 6 feet [1.2 to 1.8 m]) eat mostly fish, crustaceans, small mammals, and birds; and adults (greater than 6 feet [1.8 m]) eat fish, mammals, turtles, birds, and other alligators. Diets are range-dependent; in Louisiana coastal marshes, adult alligators feed primarily on nutria (Myocastor coypus), whereas in Florida and northern Louisiana, rough fish and turtles comprise most of the diet. Recent studies in Florida and Louisiana indicate that cannibalism is common among alligators. Alligators readily take domestic dogs and cats. In rural areas, larger alligators take calves, foals, goats, hogs, domestic waterfowl, and occasionally, full grown cattle and horses.


Damage and Damage Identification

Damage by alligators is usually limited to injuries or death to humans or domestic animals. Most alligator bites occur in Florida, which has documented approximately 140 unprovoked attacks from 1972 to 1991, or about 7 per year. Since 1972, 5 deaths have been positively attributed to alligators. Historically, nonfatal attacks have also been documented in South Carolina (8), Louisiana (2), Texas (1), Georgia (1), and Alabama (1). Alligators inflict damage with their sharp, cone-shaped teeth and powerful jaws. Bites are characterized by puncture wounds and/or torn flesh. Alligators, like other crocodilians that take large prey, prefer to seize an appendage and twist it off by spinning. Many serious injuries have involved badly damaged and broken arms on humans and legs on animals. Sometimes alligators bite or eat previously drowned persons. Coroners can usually determine whether a person drowned before or after being bitten. Stories of alligators breaking the legs of full grown men with their tails are unfounded. Alligators sometimes excavate extensive burrows or dens for refuges from cold temperatures, drought, and predators (other alligators and humans). Burrowing by alligators can damage dikes in impoundments.


Legal Status

The American alligator is federally classified as “threatened due to similarity of appearance” to other endangered and threatened crocodilians. This provides federal protection for alligators but allows state approved management and control programs. Alligators can be legally taken only by individuals with proper licenses or permits. Florida, Louisiana, Georgia, South Carolina, and Texas have problem or nuisance alligator control programs that allow permitted hunters to kill or facilitate the removal of nuisance alligators. Other states use state wildlife officials to remove problem animals.



First of all … there are NO poisonous snakes in Oklahoma. There are however, seven venomous snakes commonly found in Oklahoma. A poison has to be ingested, and a venom has to be injected. However, even with a non-venomous snake, injury and infection can occur that can require medical treatment or even hospitalization. DO NOT attempt to capture or kill a snake. These two actions account for more than 75% of the snake bite cases reported in North America.

The Oklahoma Wildlife Control®, L.L.C. is very frequently called upon at all times of the year to remove snakes. Removals come from inside houses and structures … all the way to removals from ponds. There are some things that can be accomplished to keep unwanted snakes from frequenting your property. These methods are as follows:

  • Keep debris from accumulating on your property.
  • Keep your property mowed, bushes and hedges trimmed.
  • Assist your neighbor in maintaining their property the same way whenever possible.
  • Do not feed birds or other animals outside. The feed draws rodents, and that draws snakes.

Oklahoma Snakes

The most commonly found snakes in Oklahoma, are by no means “all inclusive” … and some exotic species can be encountered that have escaped captivity. Oklahoma Wildlife Control®, L.L.C. will provide solutions for all of your snake problems.

Those of special concern are as follows:

* Copperhead
* Western Cotton Mouth
* Western Diamond-backed Rattlesnake
* Western Pygmy Rattlesnake
* Timber Rattlesnake
* Western Massasauga Rattlesnake
* Eastern Coral Snake

Commonly found snakes of Oklahoma: Black (aka: Common or Texas) Rat-snake, Broad-banded Watersnake, Brownsnake, Bullsnake, Coachwhip Snake, Common Gartersnake, Copperhead, Diamond-backed Rattlesnake, Watersnake, Eastern Hog-nosed Snake, Flat-headed Snake, Graham’s Crayfish Snake, Great Plains Snake, Ratsnake, Groundsnake, Kansas Glossy Snake, Lined Snake, Marcy’s Checkered Gartersnake, Milksnake, Northern Red-bellied Snake, Northern Rough Greensnake, Northern Scarletsnake, Northern Water-snake, Orange-striped Ribbonsnake, Plain-bellied Watersnake, Plains Black-headed Snake, Plains Gartersnake, Plains Threadsnake, Prairie Kingsnake, Prairie Rattlesnake, Black Racer Snake,Ring-necked Snake, Rough Earthsnake, Speckled Kingsnake, Texas Long-nosed Snake, Texas Nightsnake, Timber Rattlesnake, WesternBlack-necked Gartersnake, Western Cottonmouth, Western Diamond-backed Rattlesnake, Western Hog-nosed Snake, Western Massasauga Rattlesnake, Western Mudsnake, Western Pygmy Rattlesnake, Western Smooth Earthsnake, Western Wormsnake, Black Ratsnake, Broad-banded Watersnake, Brownsnake, Bullsnake, Coachwhip Snake, Common Gartersnake, Copperhead, Diamond-backed Rattlesnake, Watersnake, Eastern Hog-nosed Snake, Flat-headed Snake, Graham’s Crayfish Snake, Great Plains Snake Ratsnake,Groundsnake, Kansas Glossy Snake, Lined Snake, Marcy’s Checkered Gartersnake, Milksnake, Northern Red-bellied Snake, Northern Rough Greensnake, Northern Scarletsnake, Northern Watersnake , Orange-striped Ribbonsnake, Plain-bellied Watersnake, Plains Black-headed Snake, Plains Gartersnake, Plains Thread-snake, Prairie Kingsnake, Prairie Rattlesnake, Black Racer Snake, Ring-necked Snake, Rough Earthsnake, Speckled Kingsnake, Texas Long-nosed Snake, Texas Nightsnake, Timber Rattlesnake, Western Black-necked Gartersnake , Western Cottonmouth, Western Diamond-backed Rattlesnake, Western Hog-nosed Snake, Western Massasauga Rattlesnake, Western Mudsnake, Western Pygmy Rattlesnake, Western Smooth Earthsnake, Western Worm-snake. And unknown imported exotic species found every day that have escaped captivity, or have been purposefully released into Oklahoma, including the elusive “rattleheadedcoppermoccasin”.


The turtles that we commonly remove, are the “Common Snapping Turtle”, “Soft Shell Turtle” and the “Red Ear Sliders” … all of which cause large and substantial losses to any fishery or fish populations, and are more than capable of breaking underwater lighting fixtures on ponds with fountains in them. If you are having a problem with any reptile species … whether in Tulsa ot another city, town or county in Oklahoma … contact us. Thank you.

The Oklahoma Wildlife Control® Limited Liability Company commonly recieves call about turle removals, or what this company can do for turtle problems. We do indeed offer solutions for turtles, and their removal. Some of the common calls we receive, are for the following reasons:

  • Turtles in stocked ponds eating fish.
  • Turtles in Koi ponds eating fish.
  • Turtles in fountain ponds, climbing up on fountain heads, and breaking lighting fixtures.
  • Turtles getting into gardens and eating fruits and vegetables.
Reptiles:

An estimated 3% of households in the United States own at least one reptile. Reptiles, including turtles, lizards, and snakes, can carry germs that make people sick. Of greatest importance is salmonellosis. An estimated 70,000 people get salmonellosis from contact with reptiles in the United States each year.

Learn more about salmonellosis associated with reptiles below.

Salmonella Infection (salmonellosis): A bacterial disease associated with reptiles, including lizards, snakes, turtles, and tortoises.

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Oklahoma Wildlife Control® Limited Liability Company 1-855-787-WILD (9453)