Cold Blooded Animals + Warming Planet = Not Good


A new study warns that cold-blooded land animals like lizards and insects in the tropics may wither as the world warms. “Cold-blooded” is the layman’s term for ectotherms–animals whose body temperature is contingent on the surrounding environment, rather than internally regulated like that of warm-blooded creatures. They thrive in temperatures ranging from 68 degrees to 104 degrees Fahrenheit (20 to 40 degrees Celsius), above which they overheat. As the globe warms, researchers warn they may be forced to swelter in burrows and under bushes with little time to eat, find mates or rear young.

“Our models suggest that for many reptiles, the room to move may be pretty small,” says Rick Shine, an evolutionary biologist at the University of Sydney in Australia

Scientific American

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0 thoughts on “Cold Blooded Animals + Warming Planet = Not Good

  1. This is very sad, I love reptiles. Some people might think ‘oh well, a few less snakes in the world.’ but they really are amazing creatures.

  2. There are large ares of the world (like my yard) where temperatures above 104F are common, yet many reptiles live there. They have figured out how to thrive in such an environment. No doubt there are many poikilotherms who do not know how to thrive under such temperature extremes, but to state this as a universal problem is overblown hype.

  3. I call bullshit on Jim Thomerson. Even if he lives in Death Valley the average temperature is only over 104F 4 months a year and the majority of ectotherms would be sheltering from the heat when it reaches those temperatures and most active in the morning and afternoon.

  4. I’m confused. I grew up near Lake Havasu City, and 104 degrees is NOT HOT–it’s a little warm. Sometimes it’s that hot at 2am.

    We certainly did NOT have a problem with snakes and lizards. We had plenty. Everywhere.

  5. I thought reptiles liked it warm. I thought the fossil record reflects that. I thought reptiles were common only in hot and warm climates. Why do reptiles always hang out around dense, dark colored bodies? Don’t reptiles actually require warmer temperatures then exclusively subterranean habitats? Isn’t the ground always the same temperature a couple of feet below the surface of the soil? Doesn’t the fossil record reflect a larger size of average reptile like biota during the historically warmer, more productive phases of Earth climates?
    I must be delusional since this guy is an authority on the subject. Everything I thought about reality is now changed because of this report.

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