By Mark McConville
STUNNING PICTURES of some of the world’s most dangerous, surprising and endangered cold blooded animals have been showcased in a new book.
The incredible images show the bright eyes of an albino alligator, the well camouflaged Satanic Leaf-Tailed Gecko and the luminous underbelly of the Purple Harlequin toad.
Other striking shots show the omnivore Western Blue-Tongued Skink lizard, the plant-like Vietnamese mossy frog and a two-headed cornsnake.
The remarkable photographs are showcased in world renowned amphibian and reptile photographer Matthijs Kuijpers’ new book, Cold Instinct, which is currently crowdfunding on Kickstarter.
He has spent the last 30 years travelling in search of these species and there are 72 diverse creatures featured in the new book.
“Amphibians might look scary at first, but they are much more vulnerable than they appear,” states the info on the Kickstarter page.
“Their survival is challenged daily by threats of climate change, pollution and poaching. Habitat loss is the greatest threat to cold species in Europe.
“Some reptiles and amphibians have cleverly adapted to the threatening conditions, but they are in constant need of protection. Our hope is to create awareness of just how much these little guys need our attention. We need to know how we can help protect them; but for that, we must learn more about them.
“Did you know that about 86 per cent of species on Earth are still waiting to be found? Most of those creatures could become extinct before we get a chance to spot them. Every year, approximately 18,000 new species are discovered and classified. We believe that about 20,000 species go extinct annually.”
During this photographic project, Matthijs has a mission: he wants to counteract the common stereotypes associated with these colourful animals.
He would like us to abandon the fear and negative thoughts that often surround them. What’s left is the bizarre beauty of the reptiles and amphibians, in their simplest form, no backgrounds and no distractions.
Fuelled by his childhood passion, Matthijs left school to go to Madagascar and work with reptiles and amphibians; 27 years on Matthijs has become an expert photographer in his field. He is relentless, never failing to pick up his camera despite the number of dangerous encounters he has incurred.