Non-Native 2

This additional page is also for non-native species of wildlife that I've photographed in captivity.

Humboldt Penguins  -  (Spheniscus humboldti)

The Humboldt Penguin is a small penguin growing to a maximum length of 70cm and found in South America. They are declining in numbers due to climate change and over fishing.

Atlas Moth  -  (Attacus atlas)

The Atlas Moth is found in South-East Asia and is generally considered to be the largest moth in the world with a wingspan reaching over 25cm. Females are larger and heavier than the males. In adult form these moths do not feed as they possess no mouth parts. They live for just 5-10 days.

Forest Giant Owl Butterfly. Photographed at a now closed butterfly house in Kent. 2014

Forest Giant Owl Butterfly  -  (Caligo eurilochus)

The Forest Giant Owl is a large butterfly found in Mexico and North, Central and South America with a typical wing-span of 100-160mm. As with all the 15 species of Owl Butterflies the name comes from the owl-like eye-spots on the underside of the wings. Adults live for just 21 days and are crepuscular, meaning they're usually most active early in the morning and late in the evening.

Forest Giant Owl Butterfly. Photographed at a now closed butterfly house in Kent. 2014


Tiger Longwing Butterfly. Photographed at a now closed butterfly house in Kent. 2014

Tiger Longwing Butterfly / Golden Longwing  -  (Heliconius hecale)     

The Tiger Longwing Butterfly can be found in tropical regions from Mexico to Peru, but is mostly associated with South-American forests. This is a medium / large sized butterfly with a wingspan of 65-75mm. Adults live for around 30 days. Once mated the adult female lays groups of eggs on Passiflora Vines. Once hatched the caterpillars will remain feeding on the new shoots of the vines until they pupate.

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Chinese Water Dragon. Photographed in captivity 2012

Chinese Water Dragon  -  (Physignathus cocincinus)

The Chinese Water Dragon originates from South-East Asian countries such as China, Thailand, Malaysia, and Cambodia. The males grow to a length of up to 100cm (females 70cm), although much of this length is tail. These bright green lizards are diurnal omnivores feeding mainly on insects but will also eat small mammals. Although predominantly an arboreal species the Chinese Water Dragons as their name suggests love water and are excellent swimmers. In captivity the Chinese Water Dragon can live for 10-15 years.

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Chinese Water Dragon. Photographed in captivity 2012

Chestnut-backed Thrush, photographed in captivity 2012.

Chestnut-backed Thrush  -  (Geokichla dohertyi)

This Chestnut-backed Thrush is a beautiful little song bird from the forests of Indonesia, where it is often seen at ground level. It is considered uncommon / rare, and the small fragmented populations in Indonesia could be in decline due to trapping and de-forestation. 

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Ringed Teal Duck, photographed in captivity 2012.

Ringed Teal Duck  -  (Callonetta leucophrys)

This Ringed Teal is a small duck found in the tropical forests and swamps of South America. These ducks are often kept as pets in the UK because both sexes are very attractive birds that retain their bright colours all year round. The male here showing a pinkish chest plumage with black spots.

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Crested Gecko, photographed in captivity, 2012.

Crested Gecko  -  (Correlophus ciliatus)

The Crested Gecko is found living in the wild in the tree tops of the rainforests of New Caledonia (930 miles east of Australia). This placid-natured lizard was thought to be extinct in the wild until it was rediscovered in 1994. It is now commonly kept in the reptile pet industry because of its beautiful colours and excellent temperament. It is also known as the 'Eyelash Gecko' because of the hair like crests above each eye. The Crested Gecko is primarily a nocturnal species feeding on both insects and fruit.

 Panther Chameleon, photographed in captivity, 2012.

Panther Chameleon  -  (Furcifer pardalis)

The Panther Chameleon is native to the tropical forests of Madagascar where the male can grow to lengths of up to 20 inches including its tail. These fascinating lizards can be incredibly colourful especially the males ranging from blue to green to orange and red.. Chameleons change their body colour to exhibit mood changes such as stress, fear or excitement. They can also use this colour changing ability to help blend in with their surroundings. Chameleons have unique eyes that are located in turrets on either side of their heads. These eye turrets can rotate independently to give the chameleon almost 360 degree vision. The Panther Chameleon has a relatively short lifespan for a reptile and rarely lives past 10 years of age.

 Waxy Monkey Tree Frog, photographed in captivity, 2012.

Waxy Monkey Tree Frog   -  (Phyllomedusa sauvagii)

These are medium sized arboreal frogs from the centre of South America. They are green in colour and their skin is covered in a wax-like substance that allows the frog to bask in the sun during the day without its skin drying out. At night these frogs actively hunt for insects. Although perfectly capable of jumping these frogs usually get about by climbing hence the 'monkey' part of their name. The Waxy Monkey Tree Frog doesn't need to leave the safety of the trees during its mating season either. Instead they make a nest from leaves in the branches overhanging water where the female will lay her eggs. Once hatched the tadpoles will simply drop from the nest into the water below.

White's Tree Frog, photographed in captivity, 2012.

White's Tree Frog  -  (Litoria caerulea)

The White's Tree Frog is found in Australia, New Guinea and now New Zealand. They are a very placid natured frog and even in the wild they can exhibit little fear of Humans. Like the Monkey Wax Tree Frog the White's Tree Frog secretes a waxy substance that it rubs over its skin to prevent moisture from escaping. In captivity one easy way to tell the two species apart is to look at the pupils of the eyes. The White's Tree Frog is one of the few tree frogs to have vertical pupils. These frogs have an average lifespan of 16 years in captivity but they have on occasion lived for over 21 years.


Cuban Tree Frog, photographed in captivity, 2012.

Cuban Tree Frog  -  (Osteopilus septentrionalis)

The Cuban Tree Frog is the largest Tree Frog found in North America and is a high invasive species that has adapted well to living around Humans and will eat almost anything it can catch and fit in its mouth. They are readily available in the pet trade but they secrete a mild toxin from their skin which can be irritant to those handling these frogs especially if allowed near the eyes. Cuban Tree Frogs are rapid breeders and populations spread quickly making them a serious threat to other species. In captivity they tend to live for 5-10 years.

Golden Mantella Frog, photographed in captivity, 2014.

Golden Mantella Frog  -  (Mantella aurantiaca)

The Golden Mantella Frog is one of many frogs found in Madagascar that are facing possible extinction in the wild due mainly due to habitat loss but they are also suffering from collection for the pet trade.

These frogs are bright orange in colour which serves to warn would-be predators that they are highly poisonous. With a maximum size of just 2.5cm in length (usually smaller) these little frogs would be an ideal food source for many predators if it wasn't for the toxins secreted by their skin. Their main food source is ants and termites. Golden Mantella Frogs lay their eggs under damp moss or tree bark found next to water. Once laid the eggs are left completely unattended and newly hatched tadpoles must find water immediately to survive.

Dyeing Poison Frog, photographed in captivity, 2014.

Dyeing Poison Frog    (Dendrobates tinctorius)

The Dyeing Poison Frog is one of the largest poison dart frogs found in South America and usually grows to a length of around 50mm but some can reach 70mm. These are primarily a ground dwelling frog and spend much of their time exploring leaf litter hunting for insects in tropical rainforests. Eggs are laid out of water often attached to leaves. The tadpoles are then carried by the males to puddles (tree holes, etc) where they can develop further.  In captivity these colourful frogs are known as "tincs" and can live for over 20 years. They are considered to breed easily in captivity. Different locales have different morphs but the Dyeing Poison Frog is usually a combination of blue, yellow, and black colours.

Praying Mantis - Mantodea
There are over 2,400 species of Praying Mantis, in about 460 genera spread across 33 families throughout the world in temperate and tropical habitats. All Mantids are predatory. Whilst most are ambush predators, some will actively hunt their prey. Some species have wings, some do not. Mantids are ancient creatures and fossil records indicate that Mantids have been on the earth for over 140 million years. Most species of Mantid are diurnal and rely on their excellent eye-sight to hunt their prey. Whilst most Mantids feed on other invertebrates larger Mantid species will also tackle small vertebrates, including lizards, frogs, fish, rodents and even small birds.  LINK

Praying Mantis are not just ferocious predators, they will also fiercely defend themselves against perceived threats from other much larger predators, including birds and even humans. This video shows a Praying Mantis defending itself from a House Sparrow - LINK

Orchid Praying Mantis,  photographed in captivity, 2012.

Orchid Praying Mantis / Walking Flower Mantis / Pink Orchid Mantis  -  (Hymenopus coronatus)

Native to Malaysia the female Orchid Praying Mantis grows to a size of about 60-70mm in length. The male is much smaller at around 30mm. Both are prolific hunters and feed mainly on flying insects but they will also eat crickets, butterflies and other insects as well as small geckos. They have been known to eat small quantities of banana as well. Because of the vast difference in size the male risks being eaten whenever he attempts to mate with the female, and even if mating is successful the female will sometimes begin eating the male before the mating is finished.

Orchid Praying Mantis, photographed in captivity, 2012.

Despite its name the Orchid Praying Mantis is not usually found on orchids. It is normally found on plants with white or pink flowers and the mantis' flower-like colours and leg shape give it amazing camouflage.  The average lifespan of an adult mantis is just 3-9 months depending on the species and sex.

Unlike many other insects the mantis does not start life as a grub. Instead it starts off as an exact replica of a full size mantis. As it grows it periodically sheds its complete exoskeleton. This process will take place several times before the mantis reaches adulthood.

Female Madagascan Marbled Mantis
Madagascan Marbled Mantis  -  Polyspilota aeruginosa
The Madagascan Marbled Mantis is a large species of mantis. Females grow to around 80-90mm in length and live for about 12 months. The males are more slender in build and reach about 60-80mm in length. The Madagascan Marbled Mantis gets its name from the marbled effect on both its body and wings. This species is found in Madagascar, East Africa, in bushes and trees in areas of sparse vegetation. This species is cannibalistic and females will eat males before, during or after attempts to mate. Madagascan Marbled Mantis are not fussy eaters and they'll readily feed on any invertebrates they can catch. This mantis shows great variation in colour and specimens can be found in varying shades of orange, brown, blue and green.

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Spiny Flower Mantis
Spiny Flower Mantis  -  Pseudocreobotra wahlbergii
The Spiny Flower Mantis is a small, but incredibly beautiful species of mantis that grows to around 40mm. The common name comes from the spiny structures on the underside of the mantis. The Spiny Flower Mantis is usually very pale green in colour, but pale pink or yellow specimens can also be encountered. This species is native to southern and eastern Africa, and is easily identified as an adult by its prominent eye-spots on forewings. The eyes are pale lilac to purple in colour. This species hunts as an ambush predator. It remains motionless amidst flowers and waits for pollinators, or other insects, to come within range and then seizes its prey with its powerful arms. When threatened this species will often raise its wings to reveal its eye-spots in a defensive display. Early nymphs are black in colour.

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Giant Vietnamese Ghost Mantis

Giant Vietnamese Ghost Mantis / Darth Vader Mantis  -  Parablepharis kuhlii
The Giant Vietnamese Ghost Mantis is a large and slow-growing species that typically reaches around 60-70mm in length for females, and 45mm for males. This mantis is found in India, Myanmar, Vietnam, China, Borneo and other Asian countries. Parablepharis kuhlii is monotypic, meanings it's the only species in the Parablepharis genus. There are two sub-species though, Parablepharis kuhlii kuhlii and Parablepharis kuhlii asiatica. Parablepharis kuhlii asiatica has a wider pronotum in both sexes. Parablepharis kuhlii is a species of Leaf Mantis and is usually found in varying shades of brown but occasionally entirely black specimens are seen.

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Jewel Flower Beetles (Protaetia aeruginosa)
European Jewel Flower Beetle  -  (Protaetia aeruginosa  /  sometimes referred by the synonyms: Protaetia speciosissima / Cetonischema aeruginosa)
The European Jewel Flower Beetle is a beautiful species of Scarab Beetle that's found across central and southern Europe. Adults usually reach 22-28mm in length, but they can range in size from 15-30mm. Adults of this harmless, arboreal beetle can be seen feeding on tree sap, as it oozes from the tree, and rotting fruit. In captivity they will feed on a wide variety of fruit. In the wild the larvae usually feed on rotting wood from dead Oak Trees, or in large cavities of old trees. They have also been recorded feeding on dead Poplar, Willow, Horse-Chestnut, Ash and fruit trees as well. In captivity the larvae will feed on a variety of decaying organic matter, including rotting wood and leaf litter. The larvae can take around three years to fully develop in the wild. In captivity, where the temperature and quality of food can be better regulated, they can develop as quickly as 6-8 months.

In the wild adults usually live for several months, but in captivity they can live for up to a year. In their native countries they can be seen flying around the tops of Oak Trees, at sunny woodland edges, from April to September, with a peak from June to August. The colour of the adult beetle can vary from green to red to gold. With their bright iridescent sheen they can be a combination of all three colours depending on which angle they are viewed from. In many countries the European Jewel Flower Beetle is regarded as an endangered species, due largely to loss of habitat. The European Jewel Flower Beetle is sometimes referred to as the Large Rose Chafer, or Greater Rose Chafer, and is actually quite similar in appearance to our own native Rose Chafer, Cetonia aurata. However, our native Rose Chafer is smaller, and only reaches 21mm in length. Our Rose Chafer exhibits rows of punctuations on the elytra, that are not present on the smooth wing-cases of the European Jewel Flower Beetle. The Rose Chafer is also far hairier, especially underneath, than the larger European Jewel Flower Beetle. There are over 300 different species of Scarab Beetle in the Protaetia genus, although most species are found in Asia.

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35mm sub-adult female Dubia Roach, Blaptica dubia.

Dubia Roach  -  (Blaptica dubia)
The Dubia Roach is a medium-sized South American species of cockroach that grows to a length of around 40-45mm. They are found in Brazil, Argentina and Uruguay. These roaches are sexually dimorphic and the adult males can easily be distinguished by their full length wings, which exceed the length of the abdomen. The females only have very short wings. Sub-adult specimens can also be distinguished by the length of the wings. Despite their fully developed wings the males are very rarely known to fly. When they have been observed in the air it is only for very short distances. It is possible that the males are not actually capable of full flight but they use their wings to control a mid-air decent to lower levels, such as flying down from tree branches to the ground. Males can also be distinguished by their more slender and streamlined abdomen, when compared to the stockier females.

The Dubia Roach requires temperatures of around 24°C - 35°C, and is incapable of breeding at temperatures lower than 20°C. The adult females give birth to live young in batches of around 20 nymphs, and sometimes up to 40 nymphs in ideal conditions. The preferred food sources are fruits and grain, but some vegetables, including lettuce and carrots, are sometimes eaten too. In the wild the Dubia Roach often feeds on decaying plant matter. The Dubia Roach is frequently bred in captivity as a source of food for the exotic pet trade. Dubia Roaches can live for 1-2 years in ideal conditions. Dubia Roaches are not usually considered to be a pest species and don't infest homes like German and American Roaches can.

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Yellow-Bellied Slider, , photographed in captivity, 2016.
Yellow-Bellied Slider  -  (Trachemys scripta scripta)

Deliberately released terrapin specimens can now be found at many bodies of freshwater throughout the UK. As of yet there are no confirmed cases of terrapins successfully breeding in the UK. Some individual specimens found living in ponds, lakes and rivers in the UK are reported to have been surviving in our freshwaters for many years, but as of there is still no proof of successful breeding here. It seems although terrapins are hardy and adaptable species, and have climatized well to British freshwater bodies, it would appear that our summers just don't stay hot and dry for long enough for the eggs of terrapins to develop properly. Even though they are not yet breeding here the Government has still classed terrapins as invasive species, due to the negative impact they have on native species. Since 2016 it has been illegal to buy or sell terrapins in the UK. Eventually this should put a stop to finding terrapins in ponds, lakes and rivers in the UK. Terrapins can live for many years though so we may have to be patient before we see an end to these aquatic invaders in our freshwaters.

Around 70% of introduced specimens that are found in the UK are from two sub-species of the Sliders, Trachemys scripta. Either the Red-eared Slider, Trachemys scripta elegans, or the Yellow-bellied Slider, Trachemys scripta scripta. We also find the Cumberland Slider, Trachemys scripta troostii in the UK as well sometimes. These are species sourced from the USA for the British pet trade, and are very common in the UK, or they certainly were during the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle years. The European pond terrapin, Emys orbicularis, is another occasional find in our waters.

Yellow-bellied Sliders are frequently found living wild in the UK, in rivers, streams, ponds and lakes. Many are bought as cute pets but owners can lose interest as the Terrapin grows and it requires a much bigger enclosure. Adult males usually grow to a length of 19-23cm, but females usually grow to around 20-33cm. As hatchlings, they are almost entirely carnivorous but as they age their diet requires less and less meat. Adult Terrapins have a 95% herbivorous diet, but they are still considered a serious risk to our native wildlife when released into the wild from captivity. This link shows an adult Terrapin successfully preying on a bird:    Terrapin strikes!

To help track their distribution, and to monitor the effects terrapins are having on native species, please report all turtle / terrapin sightings here:  LINK

Red-Eared Slider, photographed in captivity, 28th February 2018.
Red-Eared Slider   (Trachemys scripta elegans)

Red-Eared Sliders and Yellow-Bellied Sliders are sub-species of semi-aquatic turtle. They are known as "sliders" due to their ability of quickly sliding off of rocks and logs into water if disturbed. They originate from southern USA but due to the pet industry they can now be found right across the USA and regularly turn up living wild in many other countries too.

Bald Eagle   (Haliaeetus leucocephalus)
The Bald Eagle is a large and powerful raptor growing up to just over 1 metre in height and having a wingspan of 2.3 metres. They are found in Northern America, Canada and Mexico. They are powerful fliers and can reach 43mph in a straight line and up to 100mph in a dive. They are found near large bodies of open water and only migrate if the water freezes.

Tawny Eagle   (Aquila raptax)
The Tawny Eagle is found in Africa and tropical south-west Asia to India. They feed largely on carrion but will also kill reptiles and mammals up to the size of a rabbit. The grow to a height of 75cm with a maximum wingspan of 1.9 metres. Their preferred habitat is open dry ground such as desert or plains and their status in the wild is considered to be common.

Hooded Vulture   (Necrosyrtes monachus)
The Hooded Vulture is found on African Savannah / open country, where it feeds on carrion and large insects. These scavengers play a vital role in clearing up dead carcasses and preventing the spread of disease. Growing to a height of 70cm with a wingspan of 182cm. The faces of these large birds can appear white, but when excited they blush to a very bright pink.

Great Grey Owl, photographed in captivity, 18th November 2022.

Great Grey Owl  -  Strix nebulosa

The Great Grey Owl is not native to, or established in, the UK, but is native to North America, Canada, and much of northern Europe and northern Asia. The Great Grey Owl is the largest species of owl in the world and grows to a length of up to 84cm, with a wingspan of up to 152cm. However, much of this height is just the feathers and the Great Grey Owl is exceeded in weight by several other owl species including the Great Horned Owl and the Snowy Owl.

Great Grey Owl, photographed in captivity, 18th November 2022.

Great Grey Owl, photographed in captivity, 18th November 2022.

Adult male Frilled Lizard, Chlamydosaurus kingii, photographed in captivity 18th April 2023

Frilled Lizard  -  (Chlamydosaurus kingii)
The Frilled Lizard has several common names including the Frilled Dragon and the Frill-necked Lizard. These large and impressive lizards grow to around 90cm in length, although much of this length can be the tail. Males tend to be far larger and stockier than the females. Frilled Lizards vary in shade and colour from grey to brown or orange. Some dark specimens can look black from above. The underside tends to be pale white, grey or yellow. This diurnal species is from the agamidae family of lizards, and is native to northern Australia and southern New Guinea. This is a largely arboreal species that spends much of its time in trees.

This lizard gets its name from its defensive behaviour. When theses lizards feel threatened they have the ability to raise its orange / brown frill around its neck to warn off any potential predators. This threat display is usually accompanied by an open mouth, puffing and hissing. When at rest this frill is lowered and sits as a cape of loose skin around the lizard's neck. The Frilled Lizard is omnivorous and often comes to the ground to feed, largely on insects and other invertebrates. This threat display is largely a bluff and should any predator not be deterred by this behaviour then the Frilled Lizard uses its speed to run to safety up the nearest tree. Frilled Lizards are known for their good temperament, which makes them popular in the exotic pet trade.

Both males and females tend to move around often and males in particular can have quite a large home range. Frilled lizards can run bipedally, meaning they run in an upright position, entirely on their back legs, using there forearms for balance. Running on its hind legs allows the Frilled Lizard to reach speeds of around 30mph.

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Adult male Frilled Lizard, Chlamydosaurus kingii, photographed in captivity 18th April 2023

 Photos on this page were taken using the Canon 7D and the Canon 40D Cameras, (Some using the Canon 580ex Flash unit) and the following lenses:

  Canon EF 100mm Macro 2.8 L IS,   Canon EF 70-300mm f/4-5.6 IS L  USM,   Sigma 14mm f/2.8 Wide-Angle