Reptiles & Amphibians Of Niumi Park, Gambia, Africa
Nile Crocodiles Crocodylus niloticus, appear to inhabit Niumi National Park in relatively fair number, with specimens of up to 4m in length resident in Niji Bolon (Ramsar Wetland Study The Gambia, 1997).
Green Turtles Chelonia mydas, Olive Ridley turtle Lepidochelys olivacea and loggerhead turtle Caretta caretta occur on the coastline of Jinack Island, where they probably feed on the offshore sea-grass beds. They also use the 11km of beach on Jinack Island as a breeding site, but to what extent is also far unknown.
Bells Hinged Tortoise Knixys belliana, may be present in the coastal strip (Ramsar Wetland Study The Gambia, 1997).
Marsh Terrapin Pelomedusa subrufa, and pan hinged Terrapin Pelusios subniger, are likely to occur in the upper reaches of the bolons in Niumi.
Lizards known to occur in Niumi National Park, include the Agama Agama agama, Brook’s House Gecko Hemidactylus brooki anulatus, Fig-tree Gecko Tarentola ephippiata, Orange-sided Skink Mabuya perrotetii, Orange-throated Skink M. affinis, Senegal Chameleon Chamaeleo senegalensis, Bosc’s Monitor Varanus exanthematics and the Nile Monitor V. niloticus.
All of these species are relatively common, especially the smaller species. The Nile Monitor is still found in good numbers and large specimens are regularly encountered. The Chameleon Chamaeleon gracilis occurs.
Snakes that have been recoded in Niumi include African Rock Python [ Python S. sabae,] African Beauty Snake Psammophis elegans, olive Sand Snake P. phillipsi, Bush Snake Philothamnus irregularis, Black-necked Spitting Cobra Naja nigricollis, Forest Cobra N. melanoleucha, Wolf Snake Lycophidion semicinctum albomaculatum, Hose Snake Lamphropsis fuliginosus, Spotted Blind Snake Typhlops punctatus and Puff Ader Bitis ariens.
Other species that are likely to be 45 present but have not been confirmed are Burrowing Vipers Atracaspis spp., Royal Python P. regius, Green Mamba Dendroaspis virdis hallowelli and Night Adder Causus rthombeatus.
Snakes are generally killed on sight by Gambians, so very large specimens, especially of the Pythons and Cobras are rarely seen
Amphibians: The amphibian fauna of Niumi is largely unknown. Common African Toad Bufo regularis, Savanna Toad B. xeros, Rocket Frogs Ptychadena spp. and Puddle Frogs Phyrnobatrachus spp. have been identified so far (Ramsar Wetland Study The Gambia, 1997).
However, the seasonality of many species poses problem to their survey. More over surveys are not currently organized for this purpose.
As such, many more amphibian species may be unknown within Niumi.