7 Creepy, Crawly, Endangered Reptiles With Weird Genetic Traits

5. Yellow Blotched Map Turtle

Photo via poplinre @ flickr

You can pick out the Mississippi-based yellow-blotched map turtle by its bright shell markings and pointed central keel--it almost looks like a tiny, sunny stegosaurus, if you see it from the proper angle. The map turtle makes its home in the Pascagoula River, where it eats insects, small fish, and crustaceans, and faces major threats from water pollution and fishermen.

6. San Francisco Garter Snake

Photo via Just Chaos @ flickr

Considered endangered in California since the 1960s, the San Francisco Garter snake faced its biggest dangers from commercial development, pollution, and collectors who prize the snakes for their rainbow skin: An orange head, stripes of red and black, and a pale blue belly make this reptile different from your common garden snake. It lives only in San Mateo County on a diet of small frogs and the occasional newt, while the Center for Biological Diversity is working to reclaim habitat for the snake.

7. Bluetail Mole Skink

Photo via Round Rock Journal

This tiny lizard--which grows to just over five inches--keeps the striking blue on its tail until it's full-grown (and then adult males develop orange patterns during mating season). But the bluetail mole skink, which lives only in Central Florida, also forages for small insects--like roaches, crickets, and spiders--though it faces its most prominent threats from deforestation, habitat destruction, and commercial and residential development.

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Tags: Animal Planet | Animals | Biology | Conservation | Deforestation | Endangered Species | Extinction | Oceans | Pesticides | Rivers | Turtles