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Water, Water, Everywhere

Most water eventually finds its way into our ponds, streams, and waterways. Rainwater travels through city streets, chemically treated farmlands, and tainted air-picking up pollutants that harm animals who live and reproduce in water. Even if you don't live near a body of water, your habits affect animals that do.

Testing the Waters

Reptiles and amphibians depend on clean water. Help keep their habitats healthy by watching what you put into the water. Here are four simple tests that you can do to monitor the condition of local rivers, streams, and estuaries.

Ph scale Measure pH or acidity—a change in litmus paper color may indicate acidic water that eats away a turtle's skin and shell.

Thermometer Take a temperature—like other cold-blooded animals, a turtle's temperature changes with that of its surroundings. Water that's too hot—or too cold—disrupts a turtle's metabolism.

Disk for checking water clarity Watch water clarity—if the Secchi disk "disappears" when it's lowered to a set depth below the surface, the water may be too cloudy for underwater grasses—and turtles that feed on them.

Dissolved oxygen meter Check oxygen levels—freshwater turtles take in oxygen through their skin and throat linings-as well as their lungs. Help them breathe easier by tracking the amount of dissolved oxygen in the water.

 

Watch a Video Clip: Rock Creek Water Testing

We conduct water quality tests in Rock Creek, which flows right through the Zoo. We check oxygen levels, measure pH, and check water clarity.

African pancake tortoise
African pancake tortoise
Malacochersus tornieri
Aldabra tortoise
Aldabra tortoise
Geochelone gigantea
Alligator snapping turtle
Alligator snapping turtle
Macroclemys temminckii
Australian snake-necked turtle
Australian snake-necked turtle
Chelodina longicollis
Black ratsnake
Black ratsnake
Elaphe obsoleta (obsoleta)
Boa constrictor
Boa constrictor
Boa constrictor
Brazilian rainbow boa
Brazilian rainbow boa
Epicrates cenchria (cenchria)
Burmese python
Burmese python
Python molurus (bivittatus)
Cottonmouth
Cottonmouth
Agkistrodon piscivorus
Cuban crocodile
Cuban crocodile
Crocodylus rhombifer
Eastern box turtle
Eastern box turtle
Terrapene carolina
Emerald tree boa
Emerald tree boa
Corallus caninus
Emperor newt
Emperor newt
Tylototriton shanjing
European glass lizard
European glass lizard
Ophisaurus apodus
Everglades ratsnake
Everglades ratsnake
Elaphe obsoleta rossalleni
Eyelash palm pitviper
Eyelash palm pitviper
Bothriechis schlegelii
Florida softshell turtle
Florida softshell turtle
Apalone ferox
Gaboon viper
Gaboon viper
Bitis gabonica
Gharial (Gavial)
Gharial (Gavial)
Gavialus gangeticus
Gila monster
Gila monster
Heloderma suspectum
Grand Cayman iguana
Grand Cayman iguana
Cyclura lewisi
Greater siren
Greater siren
Siren lacertina
Green anaconda
Green anaconda
Eunectes murinus
Green iguana
Green iguana
Iguana iguana
Green tree python
Green tree python
Morelia viridis
Inland bearded dragon
Inland bearded dragon
Pogona vitticeps
King cobra
King cobra
Ophiophagus hannah
Leopard gecko
Leopard gecko
Eublepharis macularius
Mangrove snake
Mangrove snake
Boiga dendrophila
Matamata turtle
Matamata turtle
Chelus fimbriatus
Northern blue-tongued skink
Northern blue-tongued skink
Tiliqua scincoides
Northern pine snake
Northern pine snake
Pituophis melanoleucus
Oriental fire-bellied toad
Oriental fire-bellied toad
Bombina orientalis
Red-tailed ratsnake
Red-tailed ratsnake
Gonyosoma oxycephala
Timber rattlesnake
Timber rattlesnake
Crotalus horridus
Tokay gecko
Tokay gecko
Gekko gecko
Veiled chameleon
Veiled chameleon
Chamaeleo calyptratus
White's tree frog
White's tree frog
Pelodryas caerulea
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Snake Habitat
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Lizard Defense
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Snake Skin
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Reptile Diet
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Crocodilian
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Reptile Moves
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Gharial Conservation
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Zoo Breeding
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Crocodile Conservation
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Reptile Vision
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Boas
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Iguana Conservation
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Constriction
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Reptile Conservation
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Venom
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Turtle Conservation
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Amphibian Conservation
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Aldabra Tortoise
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Water Quality
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Quiz

 

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