Reptoman

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   Feb 25

Herp Photo of the Day: Python

Love this gorgeous Moluccan python, Morelia clastolepis, in all its shimmering beauty in our herp photo of the day, uploaded by kingsnake.com user krantz!
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   Feb 24

The Striped Whipsnakes, Desert and Central Texas

Desert striped whipsnakles may vary geographically in color intensity but are always busily striped.

Whipsnakes including coachwhips and the closely allied racers are a snake group that is all too often completely ignored by hobbyists. Although as adults many of the racers and coachwhips can be of dark and uniform color, many of the whipsnakes are colorful at hatching and remain so throughout their their lives. For example let’s take a look at the Striped Whipsnakes. The Central Texas subspecies, Masticophis taeniata girardi, ranges southward from Central Texas well into Mexico. In contrast the Desert subspecies, M. t. taeniata, ranges northwestward from western Texas and adjacent New Mexico to central Washington. Both subspecies are snakes of the thornscrub, shrubby western grasslands, rocky and scrubby deserts, and dry open forestlands.

Like all of the racers and whipsnakes, these two are oviparous and produce only a single clutch annually. Hatchlings measure about 15”; adults may attain a length of 5to 6 feet. Their slenderness and the speed with which they disappear between and behind desert shrubs often makes the adults seems smaller.

Of these 2, the Central Texas whipsnake is the darker, usually having only a single light ventrolateral stripe and light, elongate dorsolateral blotches on each side. The latter are most prominent anteriorly. Because it has numerous white stripes on each side the desert subspecies is much the lighter of the 2. Both have whitish chins, cream to yellowish bellies, and coral subcaudal scales. Hatchlings are much like the adults in color and pattern.

It seems probable that lizards are the primary prey of these whipsnakes, but they also eat insects, amphibians, birds, and small rodents.

When taken captive they are often nervous and should e provided with ample secure hiding areas. They soon quiet down but seem to always dislike being physically restrained.

Continue reading “The Striped Whipsnakes, Desert and Central Texas” …read more
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   Feb 24

Herp Photo of the Day: Tegu

The infamous “stink eye” is glaring here with this Tegu in our herp photo of the day, uploaded by kingsnake.com user MrSickle ! Be sure to tell them you liked it here!

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   Feb 21

Herp Photo of the Day: Happy Rattlesnake Friday!

We give all venomous species some love on Rattlesnake Friday, especially these baby Cobras in our Herp Photo of the day, uploaded by kingsnake.com user SouthernHerp !? Be sure to tell them you liked it here!

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   Feb 20

Herp Photo of the Day: Kingsnake

“You’re kingsnake.com, where are all the kingsnakes?” Right here in our herp photo of the day, uploaded by kingsnake.com user trevid ! Be sure to tell them you liked it here!

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   Feb 19

Herp Photo of the Day: Lizard

Uromastyx, uploaded by kingsnake.com user plietz

What amazing colors Uros come in, like this ornate in our herp photo of the day, uploaded by kingsnake.com user plietz! Be sure to tell them you liked it here.

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   Feb 18

Herp Photo of the Day: Skink

Some kids love kittens and puppies, but totes adorbs Kelsey shows off and her pet Blue Tongue Skink in this throwback pic from 2006 in our Herp Photo of the day, uploaded by kingsnake.com user danielle4girls4 ! Be sure to tell them you liked it here!

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   Feb 17

Axolotls

Cannibalism can occur even in axolotls of the same size.

For decades a fully aquatic (neotenic) Mexican relative of the tiger salamander has been laboratory bred for both laboratory and pet purposes. This is a species with the complicated Aztec name of axolotl (axe-o-low-tul). Scientifically it is known as Ambystoma mexicanum. These are permanent and nearly obligate neotenes, never voluntarily metamorphosing into the adult form unless water quality becomes totally untenable. Even then, many simply die, not ever beginning to metamorphose. Most that do metamorphose die a short time later. Although many are full grown at about 7 inches in total length, some attain the impressive length of nearly 10″.

In spite of the fact that it comes from a country that we consider tropical, the habitat of the big, bushy-gilled axolotl is cold mountain and plateau lakes. Preferred water temperature is between 65 and 75 F.

Axolotls now occur in many more than the normal olive-brown phase. Among others are the gold, albino (white with pink eyes), leucistic (white with dark eyes), and piebald (olive and white blotched with dark eyes).

Axolotls are able to consume comparatively large food items. Worms, small freshly killed fish, beef heart, and other such items are ravenously accepted and these salamanders are usually not at all reluctant to accept food from your hand. Not uncommonly, during a feeding frenzy, axolotls will grasp, dismember, and consume the leg or a chunk of the tail of a tankmate—or even the tankmate itself. In other words watch out for cannibalism. You may consider this disconcerting, but in an axolotl community it is a fact of life. Axolotls (and most other larval salamanders) are quite able, given time, to regenerate missing limbs and tail parts. And if all else remains normal you will soon see signs of regenerative growth.

Enjoy. These are wonderful salamanders.

Continue reading “Axolotls” …read more
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   Feb 17

Herp Photo of the Day: Frog

What a chunker of a tomato frog, uploaded by kingsnake.com user deLuxBuLLi, in our herp photo of the day! Be sure to tell them you liked it here.

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   Feb 14

Herp Photo of the Day: Sand Boa

Happy Valentine's Day, uploaded by kingsnake.com user Thera

This Kenyan Sand Boa is helping us at ks.com wish you all a Happy Valentine’s Day, uploaded by kingsnake.com user Thera, in our herp photo of the day! Be sure to tell them you liked it here.

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   Feb 13

Herp Photo of the Day: Turtle

This Box turtlle is loving life in our Herp Photo of the day, uploaded by kingsnake.com user Jen350 ! Be sure to tell them you liked it here!

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   Feb 12

Herp Photo of the Day: Bullsnake

That’s a whole lotta bull. Bullsnake that is! Loving the colors on the one here in our herp photo of the day, uploaded by kingsnake.com user orchidspider has never missed a meal! Be sure to tell them you liked it here!

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   Feb 11

Herp Photo of the Day: Python

This Tiger Jag Coastal Carpet python in our herp photo of the day, uploaded by kingsnake.com user reelmassacre looks like he is hoping for snacks! Be sure to tell them you liked it here.

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   Feb 10

Pacific Newts

This is a Red-bellied newt in its terrestrial stage.

Broadly speaking, there are two rather distinct groups of newts (family Salamandridae) in the USA. There are the small primarily aquatic species of the genus Notopthalmus that range in one or another of their 3 species from TX eastward and an equal number of the larger, rather terrestrial species in the genus Taricha. These latter, restricted to the Pacific Coast states are collectively referred to as the Pacific or the Western newts. The California and the Sierra newts are subspecies of T. torosa, the Rough-skinned and the Crater Lake newts are subspecies of T. granulosa, and the beautiful Red-bellied newt, T. rivularis, stands alone.

The Pacific newts are hardy and easily maintained, but not all are readily available.2 are protected by either state or federal mandates. If available to the pet trade at all Pacific newts are seasonal.

The Pacific newts are large (to 8″) salamanders that have a less complex life cycle than their eastern counterparts. In the winter to spring breeding season all are aquatic. Following the breeding season, the late spring, summer, and autumn all are terrestrial. Captives are far more comfortable in a semi-aquatic or a woodland terrarium with a small pool of water than in an aquatic setup.

Dorsally all Pacific newts are vary from a warm fawn to deep brown (rarely yellow). The venters of two species, the California and the rough-skinned newts, are a pretty, unspotted yellow. The color of the venter of the third species, the red-bellied newt, is aptly described by its common name.
Worms and suitably sized insects will be eagerly accepted by your captives. If the worms are large and your newts are small, worm sections impaled on a broomstraw can be offered your captives. You can often get your salamanders to accept small pieces of beef-heart by using the same method. Small feedings may be given daily. Larger feedings may be required only once or twice a week.

Wash your hands well after handling any Pacific newts. All produce very toxic glandular secretions.
Continue reading ” Pacific Newts” …read more
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   Feb 10

Herp Photo of the Day: Frog

The Northern Leopard frog (Lithobates pipiens) is an fairly widespread US Native species that get a spotlight in our herp photo of the day, uploaded by kingsnake.com user Terry_Cox!

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   Feb 07

Herp Photo of the Day: Happy Rattlesnake Friday!

In celebration of all things venomous, a photo of a bushmaster taken in the field graces our herp photo of the day uploaded by kingsnake.com user surgeon ! Be sure to tell them you liked it here!

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   Feb 06

Herp Photo of the Day: Indigo

It’s big, it’s black and it is beautiful! This Indigo seen in Williston, FL while herping earns it spot in our Herp Photo of the day, uploaded by kingsnake.com user ACO3124 !! Be sure to tell them you liked it here!

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   Feb 05

Herp Photo of the Day: Python

The name says it all. Check out this stunning Cherry Bomb Blood Python in our herp photo of the day uploaded by kingsnake.com user jsignoretti every once in a while! Be sure to tell them you liked it here!

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   Feb 04

Herp Photo of the Day: Gecko

Take a few moments today to follow the lead of this Giant Day Gecko in our Herp Photo of the day, uploaded by kingsnake.com user crazyrhacos and give yourself some time to relax! Be sure to tell them you liked it here!

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   Feb 03

Herp Photo of the Day: Turtle

What a lovely pair of Vietnamese Leaf Turtles in our Herp Photo of the day, uploaded by kingsnake.com user schroderal ! Be sure to tell them you liked it here!

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   Feb 03

Where Have all the Water Snakes Gone?

An adult female Florida green water snake.The Wetlands across the street from our house has been active and open for about 5 years now. It was developed from some old vacant but overgrown and tangled seasonal swampland. The tangles were primarily of plants intent on dissuading human passersthrough–catbrier, dodder, poison ivy and blackberry canes predominated. But one day “no trespassing” signs were erected. A few day’s later bulldozers and other earth moving machinery arrived and before our wondering eyes the “monkey-get-back-bushes” of all manner disappeared and we finally realized the full scope of the land manipulation. Acre after acre of shallow ponds had been bulldozed from the long-hidden surface area, the few existing trails were obliterated, a huge cache basin was dug and dammed to catch the debris (sofas to TVs and signs to clothing!) tossed by humans into a still existing but redesigned creek that fed waters to the affected area. Culverts were laid, dikes topped with graveled roads were built, a lengthy boardwalk was in place, and truckloads of emergent plants (from Juncus to Bulrushes) were brought in, unloaded and planted stategically in the pond-to-be basins that were finally being dampened by the water that was finally being allowed to trickle and accumulate—and accumulate—and accumulate. Sweetwater Wetlands Park was open to the public.

The first year as what I would consider normal for our native snake populations including, but not limited to, Florida banded, Nerodia fasciata pictiventris, and Florida green water snakes, Nerodia floridana. The next year was better for all herps, and the 3rd year even better but it was truly a banner was a banner year for the water snakes.

It was a warm year and by mid-February the snakes were breeding. Florida banded water and Florida green water snakes were present in virtually all patches of emergent vegetation in gender skewed ratios—to each female there would be 3 or 4 males in attendance. I noticed, the park rangers noticed, and the herons noticed. The snakes were commented on by the rangers and me—the snake became a major food source for the herons—especially the great blues and even more especially for the American bitterns. Until they migrated northward in April the bitterns parading through the shallow marshes almost always held a wriggling snake in their beak. It was obviously easier for the birds to go herping than to go fishing.

That summer a reduction in water snake numbers was expectedly inevitable. But by the next spring there had been no noticeable bounceback. And throughout the next year we saw only half a dozen green and about a dozen bandeds.

Last year (2019), I saw even fewer greens, but a few more bandeds. I’m wondering now whether the abundance seen in 2016 will again occur.

I can hope.

Continue reading “Where Have all the Water Snakes Gone?” …read more
Read more here: King Snake

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   Jan 31

Herp Photo of the Day: Happy Rattlesnake Friday!

Happy Rattlesnake Friday! Here’s lookin’ at you kid! Check out this gorgeous albino Southern Pacific Rattlesnake in our herp photo of the day uploaded by kingsnake.com user lichanura . Be sure to tell them you liked it here!

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   Jan 30

Herp Photo of the Day: Boa

What a stunning boa in our herp photo of the day, uploaded by kingsnake.com user Sharkman20 ! Be sure to tell them you liked it here!

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   Jan 29

Herp Photo of the Day: Skink

Gotta love the smile from this Monkey Tail Skink in our herp photo of the day, uploaded by kingsnake.com user sreps ! Be sure to tell them you liked it here!

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   Jan 28

Herp Photo of the Day: Hognose

Red and black? Black and yellow? Mimics in nature are clear with this pair of South American hognose from the same clutch in our herp photo of the day, uploaded by kingsnake.com user Longhitano!

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   Jan 27

Herp Photo of the Day: Turtle

This gorgeous closeup of a Painted Turtle also shows a bit of old fashion home grown cage decor in our herp photo of the day uploaded by kingsnake.com user trachemys ! Be sure to tell them you liked it here!

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   Jan 24

Herp Photo of the Day: Happy Rattlesnake Friday!

A great shot of a live (as they should be) Pygmy Rattlesnake on concrete in the field in our herp photo of the day uploaded by kingsnake.com user JARHEAD1969 ! Be sure to tell them you liked it here!

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   Jan 23

Herp Photo of the Day: Anaconda

This juvenile yellow Anaconda is ready for his close-up in our Herp Photo of the day, uploaded by kingsnake.com user mattf77 ,! Be sure to tell them you liked it here!

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   Jan 22

Herp Photo of the Day: Water Dragon

What a lovely looking pair of Chinese Water Dragons in our Herp Photo of the day, uploaded by kingsnake.com user Agata ! Be sure to tell them you liked it here!

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   Jan 21

Herp Photo of the Day: Bearded Dragon

Herp Keepers with cameras, annoying our eating pets for decades like this bearded dragon in our Herp Photo of the day, uploaded by kingsnake.com user jdertinger ! Be sure to tell them you liked it here!

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   Jan 21

White Rattlesnakes

A profile of the beautiful white rattlesnake.
Can white be a camouflage color? It sure can when it is peppered with tiny black flecks of color and sitting atop or amidst a number of rocks that are similarly colored.

And is there any such place?

There surely is. And Jake and I were amidst those rocks right now—or actually, right then. It was late on a night late in August in Arizona and even at well past midnight the heat was radiating from those black speckled white rocks as we searched for our target, a black fleckled white speckled rattlesnake. “Speckled” is the name of this snake, Crotalus pyrrhus, as well as its color.

It was Jake who had decided on this target, the speckled rattler. Then he had added the specific color. Sounded good to me, and after all, the locale was only 2000+ miles away from our homes. Heck. What’s 2000+ miles to dedicated herpers. I had dragged Jake farther than that to see a single species of bird. And neither of us make any special claim to our birding prowess.

So after borrowing and loading Patti’s car for the trip, off we went. A day and a half later we arrived and were searching the habitat. 4 days later, after finding a fair number of great herps and groggy from lack of sleep, we realized we had failed to find the target and since we still had a few semi-target species—rock rattlers, regal horned lizards and a stop at the wonderful Arizona Sonora Desert Museum– a few hundred miles to the east it was time to begin our multi-stopped retreat. Fortunately we were more successful on our list of semi-target taxa than we had been on the target.

Are we going to try again? You betcha! And the next time, in the famous last words of somebody (I think it was Jake!), “we shall succeed.”

But for now, Eastward-ho!

Continue reading “White Rattlesnakes” …read more
Read more here: King Snake

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   Jan 20

Herp Photo of the Day: Python

New beginnings and new life! A peek at a super dwarf Reticulated Python in our Herp Photo of the day, uploaded by kingsnake.com user jnemani! Be sure to tell them you liked it here!

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   Jan 17

Herp Photo of the Day: Happy Rattlesnake Friday!

Happy Rattlesnake Friday! How stunning is the red on this pygmy Rattlesnake (Sistrurus miliarius miliarius), uploaded by kingsnake.com user Tamers1 ! This guy was found in extreme northeast North Carolina.. Be sure to tell them you liked it here! As always on Friday, we celebrate all of our venomous reptiles for their contribution to the world.

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   Jan 16

Herp Photo of the Day: Cornsnake

Throughout the years, corn snakes remain one of our favorite for a great beginner snake! After seeing this one in our Herp Photo of the day, uploaded by kingsnake.com user cochran, it is pretty obvious why! Be sure to tell them you liked it here!

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   Jan 15

Herp Photo of the Day: Turtle

Not much cuter on the internet today than this hatching Eastern Box Turtle in our Herp Photo of the day, uploaded by kingsnake.com user terrapene ! Be sure to tell them you liked it here!

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   Jan 14

Herp Photo of the Day: Frog

According to this tomato frog in our herp photo of the day, uploaded by kingsnake.com user RaderRVT it must be dinner time! Be sure to tell them you liked it here!

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   Jan 13

Herp Photo of the Day: Lizard

Alert and always keeping his eye on you, this Basiliscus plumifrons shines in our herp photo of the day, uploaded by kingsnake.com user kus! Be sure to tell them you liked it here!

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   Jan 13

Red-lipped Snake

Although rear-fanged, the red-lipped snake was once common in the pet trade.
The Red-lipped or Herald Snake, Crotaphopeltis hotamboeia, is a rather small, nocturnal, rear-fanged, colubrine snake from Sub-Saharan Africa. It is adult at 3 feet or less, and has large rear-fangs that have been described as “blade-like.” It is oviparous.

When surprised it is a defensive snake species, flattening the head, distending the lips, and striking forcefully. If carelessly grasped it will bite. In other words, this little amphibian eater does all possible to appear formidable.

Despite producing a venom that is fully capable of overcoming the amphibians on which it preys, bites sustained by humans have shown no signs of toxicity. What isn’t known of course is whether the bites were sufficiently forceful or lengthy for the snake to bring its rear venom conducting teeth into play. When kept captive it quickly tames and once acclimated seldom attempts to bite.

The common name describes an identifying characteristic of red-lipped snakes from the southern part of the range—the upper lips (labial scales) are red. However, this species in the more northerly part of the range may have white, cream, or even dark upper lips.

The head of this species is nearly black with an iridescent sheen (the iridescence is especially notable when the snake has freshly shed its skin), is noticeably darker posterior to the eyes, and is darker than the brownish to olive dorsum. When the snake’s body is inflated as when it huffs and puffs in indignation, white interstitial flecks in the form of narrow bars are often visible. The venter is white.

This snake, once common and inexpensive in the pet trade, is now less frequently available.

Continue reading “Red-lipped Snake” …read more
Read more here: King Snake

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   Jan 10

Herp Photo of the Day: Happy Rattlesnake Friday!

Happy Rattlesnake Friday! We just love this close up of a Massasauga in our Herp Photo of the day, uploaded by kingsnake.com user venombill ! Be sure to tell them you liked it here!

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   Jan 09

Herp Photo of the Day: Milk Snake

This Milk snake is just hanging out our Herp Photo of the day, uploaded by kingsnake.com user gerryg . Be sure to tell them you liked it here!

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