Reptoman

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   Jul 22

New venomous snake discovered in Costa Rica

By Herp News

An international team of scientists has solved a case of mistaken identity and discovered a new species of venomous snake.The newly discovered Talamancan Palm-Pitviper is a striking green-and-black snake living in some of the most remote regions of Costa Rica.

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Read more here: herpetofauna.com


   Jul 22

Big Bend or Bust!


A Texas patch-nosed snake made a cameo appearance then retreated.
It was 3PM when Jake finished loading his necessities in the Honda. This would be the first long trip for the CRV and I was hoping it would prove as trusty as the old ’96 RAV that had only recently “bitten the dust.” I-10 was only an hour away and once in the westbound lanes of that highway we would really be on our way. By the time we had reached the Alabama state line dusk was nigh. Traffic was fast through Mississippi, then Louisiana followed. Over the Mississippi River and across the 18+ mile long causeway that spans the Atchafalaya Basin. Finally we rolled into Texas, made it uneventfully through Houston and continued on to San Antonio—and beyond. The world turned, the sun rose then disappeared behind an ever thickening layer of clouds. A short foray in Kinney County produced a pretty and feisty bullsnake and followed by a fleeting view of a Texas patchnose. Under the cloud cover we again moved westward. Del Rio was behind us and finally Comstock, our first real destination was on the horizon. The motel beckoned. Lunch at the C&J beckoned equally persistently. Then it was time for a long overdue nap.
Continue reading “Big Bend or Bust!” …read more
Read more here: King Snake


   Jul 22

Herp Photo of the Day: Rattlesnake Friday!

Happy Rattlesnake Friday! A glorius shot of a Great Basin Rattlesnake in central Utah brings us some serenity for our Herp Photo of the day, uploaded by kingsnake.com user crocman6594 ! 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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   Jul 21

New research gleans climate change insight from lizard genome

By Herp News

Using genomic data from three lizard species, researchers gleaned insights not available before on the impact of climate change on the distribution of animal populations in South American forests. The findings improve ways of modeling the distribution of biodiversity in the past and future.

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Read more here: herpetofauna.com


   Jul 21

Herp Photo of the Day: Box 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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   Jul 20

Herp Photo of the Day: Python

This Reticulated Python has a supermodel’s pose down in our Herp Photo of the day, uploaded by kingsnake.com user eschmit04 ! Be sure to tell them you liked it here!

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   Jul 20

Disappearing Leopard Frogs


A southern leopard frog in our backyard pond.As it lifted out of the backyard its voice identified it. Waaawk. Waaaaawk. Waaaaawk. A flapping of “wooshing” wings. Black crowned night heron. It had been startled away from the edge of our little goldfish and frog pond by one of our dogs. Knowing that the dogs are proficient at deterring marauding raccoons, I had been wondering for more than a month where the occasional goldfish had disappeared to and why our resident population of Florida leopard frogs, Rana s. sphenocephala, had dwindled to near zero. At least one of the reasons, the nocturnal one, became instantly clear. The solution was equally clear. By nightfall Patti and I had stretched “bird netting” over the little pond. Although this could easily be torn asunder by raccoons, we hoped that the dogs would continue to keep them away. And if the netting would deter a bird the size and weight of a night heron…

It would, it did, and it has continued to do so. If only all problems were this easily solved.

Continue reading “Disappearing Leopard Frogs” …read more
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   Jul 20

Matamatas – The Wonderful Fringed Turtle


Adult matamatas, like this 10 incher, are darker in color than the hatchlings.I was walking and netting slowly in the shallows of the Rio Orosa (Amazonian Peru) hoping against hope to find young marbled swamp eels, Suriname toads, aquatic caecilians, or baby electric eels. So far I had found only a few tetra and cichlid species but it was getting late and I was getting tired. Lightning rent the sky and illuminated the towering cumulus clouds miles distant, closer to the Rio Amazonas. Another scoop produced a few more fish and a 3” long rock. Whoops. There are no rocks like that in the Amazon. I had scooped a baby matamata, Chelus fimbriatus, from the grassy shallows. And after 20+ years of scooping it remains the only one I have ever personally found.

There is no other turtle in the world that even approximates the appearance of the matamata. The mud-colored, rough textured, flattened, oblong, carapace bears 3 prominent keels. The plastron is small and provides virtually no protection to the underside of the limbs or neck. The neck is horizontally flattened and prominently fringed. The head is flattened, bears triangular temporal lobes, a snorkel like nose, small eyes, and a wide curved jaw. Neck and head are mud-brown dorsally. Ventrally the head and neck of adults (they can reach a length of 16”) are usually dark but young examples have a pinkinsh chin and 3 very pink, broad, throat stripes .

But enough words. The accompanying pix will better explain the overall appearance of this remarkable turtle. Enjoy.
Continue reading “Matamatas – The Wonderful Fringed Turtle” …read more
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   Jul 19

Herp Photo of the Day: Chameleon

This little African Stump-tailed Chameleon (Ri. brevicaudatus) is waiting for his snack in our Herp Photo of the day, uploaded by kingsnake.com user pardalisberlin ! Be sure to tell them you liked it here!

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   Jul 19

Real reason turtles have shells: Burrowing tool

By Herp News

Scientists have discovered the real reason turtles have shells. While many thought turtle shells were for protection, new findings show that the shells were actually for digging underground to escape the harsh South African environment where these early proto turtles lived.

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Read more here: herpetofauna.com


   Jul 18

Herp Photo of the Day: Milk Snake

We are loving this shot of a Black Milk Snake in 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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   Jul 18

The Spotted Turtle in Florida

Hatchling spotted turtles usually have only a single spot in each carapacial scute. These may increase in number as the turtle ages.
Strange though it may seem, the beautiful and aptly named spotted turtle, Clemmys guttata, has been hiding in many of its disjunct Florida ranges pretty much in plain sight. Now the lone species in the genus Clemmys, the spotted turtle has an immense, but disjunct, range that reaches on one leg of the range from southeastern Canada westward to eastern Illinois and on the other leg southward from southeastern Maine through the eastern seaboard states to central Florida. Everywhere secretive, it is nowhere more so than in Florida.

Because of examples found along Interstate 4, what is thought to be the southernmost population (Polk County) is rather well documented. From there it jumps spottily northward along the east coast to Duval County and westward to Hamilton and Wakulla counties. Long known to occur in north central Florida, the Alachua County population is currently being tracked and documented by FWC biologists. There they are finding that the population is more robust than was expected. This is encouraging in a world where so many other herp species are being extirpated or actually becoming extinct. And if you happen to find a spotted turtle, either dead or alive, in Florida, please take a moment to contact and advise the Florida Fish and Wildlife Commission.
Continue reading “The Spotted Turtle in Florida” …read more
Read more here: King Snake


   Jul 16

Herp Photo of the Day: World Snake Day!

Our Herp Photo of the day runs Monday through Friday, but seriously, did you think we would skip today? It is World Snake Day, a day to celebrate snakes around the world and educate to alter perceptions of these misaligned creatures! This photo from Reptile Gardens shows a scene few will ever see, the view from behind the scenes at a zoo looking out at the awe in the eyes of a child willing to learn, uploaded by kingsnake.com user PHFaust! Be sure to tell them you liked it here!

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   Jul 15

Herp Photo of the Day: Rattlesnake Friday!

Happy Rattlesnake Friday! To end the week, this Jackson’s Tree Snake (Thrasops jacksonii) comes in to represent rear-fangs for our Herp Photo of the day, uploaded by kingsnake.com user Claus ! 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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   Jul 15

The Colombian Red-eared Slider


Adult Colombian red ears may attain 10″ in length and the pattern becomes suffused with melanin.
No doubt worse for the baby turtles than for the humans who bought them, there was a time- span of several decades (until 1975 when the sale of turtles having a carapace length of less than 4” became illegal) when hatchling red-eared sliders, Cumberland sliders, and Mississippi map turtles were sold over the counters of almost every five and dime store in the nation. In that time frame the little turtles were hatched in Gulf Coast turtle farms by the tens of thousands. But it was soon apparent that despite the immense numbers produced, the little reptiles became unavailable for several months each year. To the rescue of the industry came the South American country of Colombia.

Their baby turtles, both red-eared sliders and Amazon sidenecks, hatched at a different time of the year and became available as a “fill in” for the months when the American species were not available.

Thus, we were introduced to the Colombian red-eared slider. Then (when subspecies were in vogue), this pretty turtle was known as Pseudemys scripta callirostris. Today this same species is known as Trachemys callirostris, and it, like many other once common pet trade species, is no longer often seen.
Continue reading ” The Colombian Red-eared Slider” …read more
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   Jul 14

Herp Photo of the Day: Caiman

Today a beautiful head shot of a Schneider’s dwarf caiman in our Herp Photo of the day, uploaded by kingsnake.com user cpipes ! Be sure to tell them you liked it here!

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   Jul 13

Boomslangs


Boomslangs are variably colored. Greens, blacks, and grays are most common.
Are you old enough to remember the term “junk” or “trash” snakes? No?

Well these were terms once used by importers for the “unordered” snake species that they received (and were expected to pay for) on each order of imports. They were usually common, often rear-fanged species (such as guarda caminos (road guarders)), tree snakes, genera Philodryas and Ahaetulla, cat-eyed snakes (Leptodeira and Boiga) and if the order was from Africa, boomslangs!

The boomslang (boom=tree, slang=snake in Afrikaans), Dispholidus typus, is a wide spread, very common, arboreal species that African dealers tried desperately to sell with each and (almost) every valid order from each and (almost) every American dealer. The boomslang, a rear fanged colubrine taxon, has a complex and dangerous venom. This was learned in the hardest and most indelible way by herpetologist Karl P. Schmidt, who suffered a bite from one and documented the effect of the venom that proved lethal 24 hours later.

Of variable color and pattern, the 3 ½ to 6 foot long boomslang may be black, gray, green or more rarely brick red. The green(ish) eyes of this lizard and frog eater are proportionately large, and especially so on juvenile examples.

The boomslang is no longer a commonly imported species, and rather than being a “disposable” taxon are now coveted by many venomous keepers.

My how the times have changed!

Continue reading “Boomslangs” …read more
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   Jul 13

Herp Photo of the Day: Turtle

This false map turtle is just hanging out in situ in a pond in our Herp Photo of the day, uploaded by kingsnake.com user Serpentin ! Be sure to tell them you liked it here!

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   Jul 12

Gecko clearance sale: Pet trade is jeopardizing survival of rare reptile species

By Herp News

Reptiles are exceedingly popular as pets, trade is booming. Between 2004 and 2014, official imports to the EU came to just under 21 million live specimens, more than six million of these ended up on the German market.

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Read more here: herpetofauna.com


   Jul 12

Gecko clearance sale: Pet trade is jeopardizing survival of rare reptile species

By Herp News

Reptiles are exceedingly popular as pets, trade is booming. Between 2004 and 2014, official imports to the EU came to just under 21 million live specimens, more than six million of these ended up on the German market.

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Read more here: herpetofauna.com


   Jul 12

Herp Photo of the Day: Salamander

Sonoma County has some beautiful Black Speckled Salamanders, just like this one in our Herp Photo of the day, uploaded by kingsnake.com user skyserpent ! Be sure to tell them you liked it here!

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   Jul 11

Herp Photo of the Day: Python

This gorgeous Bredli’s Python is coming up for a closer look in our Herp Photo of the day, uploaded by kingsnake.com user sincitydragons ! Be sure to tell them you liked it here!

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   Jul 11

Mt. Kenya Bush Viper


Adult Mt. Kenya bush vipers are clad in a contrasting pattern of black and yellow.

It was back in the 1970s I acquired my first Mt. Kenya bush viper, Atheris desaixii. I hadn’t been looking for the taxon and I’m not even sure that I was aware of the existence of this viperine species until then.

Even then the acquisition was happenstance. I got a phone call one night from Hank Molt. It was back in those old those old days when Hank was “king of the herp rarities.”

“Dick. I know you like bush vipers and I’ve got one here that you just have to see.” It’s from Mt. Kenya and you’ve got to see it. C’mon up.” The fact that I was in Tampa and Hank was in Philadelphia was of small consequence. I hopped on the next northbound Delta and was soon in Philadelphia.

Hank met me at the airport and an hour later I was staring at one of the prettiest snakes I had until then seen. About 2 feet long, the ground color was charcoal and besides almost every dorsal and lateral scale bearing a tiny dot of butter yellow, the yellow was carried over into an intricate pattern.

When I asked Hank the price of the snake I was taken aback. Back in those days herps were usually quite affordable. This one teetered on the brink of being non-affordable. But I wanted the snake, Hank wanted to sell it, and after a bit of bargaining, it became mine. Ahhhh. Those were the good old days!
Continue reading ” Mt. Kenya Bush Viper” …read more
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   Jul 08

Herp Photo of the Day: Rattlesnake Friday!

Happy Rattlesnake Friday! To end the week, flash back to this Albino Eastern Diamondback from 2003 for our Herp Photo of the day, uploaded by kingsnake.com user ShawnHeflick ! 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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   Jul 08

Scarlet Kingsnake!


Scarlet Kingsnake! Need I say more?
Levy County is huge and still relatively untrammeled in many areas. Lately I have been spending less and less time fieldherping and more time birding, pursuits said by some to be relatively similar but that I find vastly different.

It was not until I had turned and was well on the way out that I noticed the remains of a huge long dead pine. But it was not the standing pine, itself well hidden in a canopy of green, that had caught my eye. Rather it was a huge fallen limb, a foot or more in diameter, that beckoned.

I slowed the car, passed, continued about 100 yards then decided to stop. Backing up that final 100 yards took only a few seconds. Shift lever in park, I stepped from the car and walked the couple of dozen few feet to the limb, shifted one end of it an inch or two, stepped back, looked down, and found myself staring at what until that moment been a well-hidden partial coil—red, black, yellow, black red—a beautiful, adult, scarlet king, Lampropeltis triangulum elapsoides. A worthwhile stop indeed.

Continue reading ” Scarlet Kingsnake!” …read more
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   Jul 07

Frogs that can take the heat expected to fare better in a changing world

By Herp News

Amphibians that tolerate higher temperatures are likely to fare better in a world affected by climate change, disease and habitat loss, according to two recent studies.

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Read more here: herpetofauna.com


   Jul 07

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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   Jul 06

Herp Photo of the Day: Boa

Love this gorgeous Santa Isabella ground boa in our Herp Photo of the day, uploaded by kingsnake.com user simonebrito ! Be sure to tell them you liked it here!

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   Jul 06

Gulf Saltmarsh Snakes


Body color can vary to blend with the substrate.
It was just past sunup and I was walking a boardwalk over a saltmarsh in Levy County when I noticed the chunky, charcoal-on-gray snake lying loosely coiled on some bent over marsh grasses. A little further on there was another in what seemed an easily duplicated scene and then a third. In fact, the only divergence from this snake-on-the-grass format, from what I had begun to think of as the “norm” after seeing it over and over on the last 2 trips occurred almost at the end of my stroll where the elevated walkway passed through a stand of mangroves. There, a slender, more alert, and more brightly colored yearling Gulf salt-marsh snake, Nerodia clarkii clarkii, took immediate notice of my not so stealthy approach and with alacrity moved from its sunny position on the walkway into the darkness and obscurity of the mangrove branches.

Simple statistics: Since being described in 1853, this small water snake has had an unsettled nomenclatural history (Regina clarkii – Baird & Girard 1853, Tropidonotus clarkii – Cope 1861, Natrix clarki – Allen 1932, Natrix sipedon clarki – Conant 1958, Natrix fasciata clarki – Conant 1975, Nerodia clarkii clarkii – Conant & Collins 1991). When healthy this snake is of moderate girth, seldom exceeds 30” in adult length but is often 21 to 25 inches, with females being the larger sex. Dorsal ground color can vary between tan or pale gray to charcoal and there are 4 darker stripes, 2 dorsal and 2 lateral. There are from one to 3 rows of lightspots on the belly.
Continue reading “Gulf Saltmarsh Snakes” …read more
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   Jul 06

Turtle power: How hatching together avoids capture

By Herp News

Green turtles hatching en masse from their nests ‘swamp’ predators, allowing more individuals to reach the safety of the sea, new research concludes.

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Read more here: herpetofauna.com


   Jul 05

Researchers tally huge number of venomous fishes, tout potential for medical therapies

By Herp News

A new article catalogs instances of venomous aquatic life, for the first time showing that venom has evolved 18 separate times in fresh and saltwater fishes.

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Read more here: herpetofauna.com


   Jul 05

Herp Photo of the Day: Newts

Now that’s a handful! A handful of Peninsular Newts in our Herp Photo of the day, uploaded by kingsnake.com user avidoutdoorsman ! Be sure to tell them you liked it here!

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   Jul 04

Herp Photo of the Day: Collared Lizard

An all American, this Baja black-collared lizard basks in it’s own freedom in our Herp Photo of the day, uploaded by kingsnake.com user Brockn ! Be sure to tell them you liked it here!

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   Jul 04

The Waaaaaaa-mooch


A burrowing frog floating quietly between the bleating calls.
So What’s a Waaaaaaaa-mooch?

It was probably about 1949 or 1950 when I learned of the “waaaaaaa-mooch.” A couple of my favorite childhood books were by naturalist Ivan T. Sanderson. And it was in his “Living Treasure” (published in 1941) that he discussed his first encounter with this, the tropical Mexican burrowing frog Rhinophrynus dorsalis. He perceived its vocalizations as a series of long, mournful, “waaaaaaa-moooooch” cries

Despite its name, this frog may actually be found well beyond Mexico. It is known to range from Costa Rica northward to southern Texas, but its distribution is spotty. Additionally, the frog is very secretive, usually emerging from its burrows to forage only during heavy rains, and to breed only during sustained torrential rains.

It was during a hurricane event in Texas’ LRGV that I finally met this anuran in the state. It had been pouring for 2 days and the countryside was awash. Gusty rain was driven in through the cracked windows. I was soaked. A flooded ditch and beyond that a flooded pasture… Then a chorus of waaaaaaaAAAHHHHS.

Different dialect but the very same eagerly sought frog.

In the ditch were a number of triangle shaped faces. As I watched I saw that those tiny frog faces were attached to inflated bodies that bobbed up in down in time with their calls, a bit like a flattened carousel where the horses go up and down in time to the music.
Success.
Continue reading “The Waaaaaaa-mooch” …read more
Read more here: King Snake


   Jul 01

Herp Photo of the Day: Rattlesnake Friday!

Happy Rattlesnake Friday! To end the week, flash back to this patternless Nitsche’s bush viper (Atheris nitschei) from 2006 for our Herp Photo of the day, uploaded by kingsnake.com user reptilelocators ! 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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   Jul 01

Bahamian Curly-tailed Lizards


Curly-tails are alert and very fast.
The curly-tailed lizard, Leiocephalus carinatus, looks superficially like a heavy bodied swift (fence lizard) with an unruly, upcurled, tail. Present in Florida since the mid-1930s when it was deliberately introduced in the hope that it would consume unwanted insects in the sugarcane crops, this active diurnal Bahamian native is now seldom seen in the cane growing regions but has become common to abundant along the east coast of Florida from Martin to Miami-Dade counties and in lesser numbers in Monroe County. There it may be seen displaying on curbstones, parking barriers, and garden ornaments in locales as varied as sea-dunes to inland parks and urban neighborhoods.

The genus Leiocephalus is large and diverse. Alone, the species L. carinatus¸ the taxon present in Florida, contains 13 Bahamian and Cuban subspecies. Most are of quite similar appearance and the subspecies are best differentiated by range. Although over the years at least 3 subspecies (L. c. armouri, L. c. coryi, and L. c. virescens) have been introduced to Florida, only the first of the 3, the northern curly-tailed lizard, has become firmly established.

Although not particularly inclined to do so, this lizard would much prefer to bask or dart actively about at ground level as it forages for insects in piles of building rubble or oolitic limestone.

Continue reading “Bahamian Curly-tailed Lizards” …read more
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   Jun 30

Herp Photo of the Day: Turtle

This Sulawesi forest turtle seems like he has zero cares in our Herp Photo of the day, uploaded by kingsnake.com user andystorts ! Be sure to tell them you liked it here!

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   Jun 29

Herp Photo of the Day: Gharial

The always fascinating Gharial graces us today in our Herp Photo of the day, uploaded by kingsnake.com user Lucky_7 ! Be sure to tell them you liked it here!

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   Jun 29

The Marbled Salamander


Most adult male marbled salamanders are precisely marked in black and white.
The beautiful marbled salamander, Ambystoma opacum, ranges southward from extreme South Eastern New Hampshire and Southern Michigan to East Texas and Northern Florida. Interestingly and sadly, the Florida range of this pretty autumn breeding mole salamander once extended as far south on the FL peninsula as Hillsborough County (Tampa Bay). I know this as a fact, for back in the mid-60s Ron Sayers and I found both adult and juvenile marbled salamanders beneath weathered ties under railroad bridges near Lithia Springs.

I am not sure when this population of marbled salamanders disappeared from that area. Nor do I know the whys of its disappearance. Having moved northward, it was not until 1979 that I returned to Florida and was able to return to the locale. By then everything about the area had changed. The area was dustbowl dry, the discarded ties were gone and the railroad itself was little more than a memory.

Now, when I hope to see one of these autumn breeding, light banded, black salamanders, I start my search in woodland locales about 200 miles northwestward of Tampa. But as I search I can’t help but reminisce about the Florida, the herping, of the last half of the 20th century and thinking that the changes herpers see now are not for the better.
Continue reading “The Marbled Salamander” …read more
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   Jun 28

Herp Photo of the Day: Frog

Gotta love this big ole bullfrog in our Herp Photo of the day, uploaded by kingsnake.com user coluberking25 ! Be sure to tell them you liked it here!

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