Reptoman

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   May 14

Herp Photo of the Day: Python

Laying in wait, this blood python is stunning in our herp photo of the day, uploaded by kingsnake.com user ross_rutner ! Be sure to tell them you liked it here!

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   May 13

Herp Photo of the Day: Lizard

This male Lacerta has his eye on you in our herp photo of the day, uploaded by kingsnake.com user danielk! Be sure to tell them you liked it here!

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   May 13

A Snakey Kind of Evening

Formerly Seminatrix. Now Lithodytes. Somebody needed a paper! North Florida black swamp snake.
The sun was already low in the sky when Patti and I decided to scoot on over to Sweetwater Wetlands Park for a short walk We figured we had an hour or so before the rangers would shepherd us out for the evening’s closing. A barred owl was already calling in the distance, but our target was actually a fulvous whistling duck that had flown in a couple of hours earlier. We met and chatted with another couple of strollers and rather than birds their comments were almost entirely about the number of snakes that they had “just seen” on the trails. Well, what the heck. We could do a duck AND check out a few snakes as well. Good thing we decided that, because the duck ducked us, but the snakes were active on all of the berms and trails.

There were no rarities, but there was a lot of color variation. The snakes were all natricines—water snakes, ribbon snakes, and red-bellied swamp snakes. The hand’s down winner as far as numbers were the 25 or so Florida banded water snakes, Nerodia fasciata pictiventris. They were present in all sizes from 3 foot long adults to last year’s neonates that had hardly grown an inch during the long winter dormancy. Next in number were the Florida green water snakes, Nerodia floridana. They, too, were seen in many sizes, from 3 ½ foot long adult females (the days of the 6 footers are long gone!) to 1 foot long youngsters. The ribbons numbered 2, both adults of the Peninsula persuasion, Thamnophis sauritus sackenii, the only subspecies found here. And last, but definitely not of the least interest was the single adult female North Florida black swamp snake, Liodytes (formerly Seminatrix) pygaea pygaea. Although only a foot long she was heavily gravid and nearing her parturition date. So the score was ducks zero, natricines about 35. No question about the winner there.
Continue reading “A Snakey Kind of Evening” …read more
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   May 10

In Memoriam: Jim Fowler


inset photo Mr. Fowler and Peter Gros in 2002. (Nati Harnik/AP)

I never met Jim Fowler in my entire life, but I can attribute a lot of who I am to our weekend mornings spent in my childhood. My breakfast bowl of Apple Jacks, cross legged on the floor of my living room, I would stare at the TV with rapt attention waiting to learn about the animals in our world. He inspired me to learn and read more about animals. He along with his long time co-host, Marlon Perkins, taught me about conservation. They taught me that beauty was simple to find and hard to hold on to.

Jim’s message on nature was simple and I hope he knew this difference it made in so many lives.

“What we have to do is ask ourselves, ‘What’s in it for me?’ Only then will we realize that the continued existence of wildlife and wilderness is ultimately important to the quality of life of humans.”

To learn a bit more about Jim’s life and hear why the environment is so very important to protect, pop over to The Washington Post obituary here.

Thank you Jim for inspiring a little girl who dreamed of going to see alligators in the wild, she did that and so much more. You inspired me to learn more about our natural world and gave me the desire to help protect it.

…read more
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   May 10

Herp Photo of the Day: Happy Rattlesnake Friday!

Happy Rattlesnake Friday! While not venomous, this little broad banded Water Snake, uploaded by kingsnake.com user cochranis often confused with the cottonmouth, one of the venomous snakes we hope to protect! 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. It is our goal to help dispel the fears surrounding our beloved venomous creatures.

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   May 09

Herp Photo of the Day: Snake

Got Milk? We do with this Sinaloan Milk Snake in our herp photo of the day, uploaded by kingsnake.com user Kingzilla! Be sure to tell them you liked it here!

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   May 08

Herp Photo of the Day: Lizard

Destroy Wednesday like this little Frilly wants to in our herp photo of the day, uploaded by kingsnake.com user mizzy! I think someone is planning world domination! Be sure to tell them you liked it here!

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   May 07

Herp Photo of the Day: Lizard

Not something you see every day, this cute little long nose leopard lizard (Gambelia wislizenii) in our herp photo of the day, uploaded by kingsnake.com user pek296 is totes adorbs! Be sure to tell them you liked it here!

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   May 06

Herp Photo of the Day: Lizard

This Thorny Devil (Moloch horridus) in our herp photo of the day, uploaded by kingsnake.com user frilly is certainly an awesome field find!! Be sure to tell them you liked it here!

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   May 06

The Common Map Turtle

Mussels and crayfish beware. You are being searched for.
Rapids, calm, more rapids then more calm. Kelly and I were on the 7-Point River, now searching for, among other things, common map turtles, Graptemys geographica. Still an hour or so before dusk, robins were already chirruping their evening songs and red bats were flitting in quest of insects just a few feet above the water.

Thanx to Kelly and another AR GFC biologist, both of whom dove deeply to check on Ozark hellbenders, Cryptobranchus bishopi, I had already had an opportunity to see and photo one of these huge salamanders. Throughout that float we had been watched by raccoon, a mink, and taunted by common map turtles that rose from the depths almost, but not quite, in reach from the boat.

But now we had a longer net that I hoped would increase our chance of getting up close and personal with one of these chelonians. It didn’t. They continued to surface but as if divining our intent, all were now even more distant. Well, darn.

While not the largest of the genus, the common map turtle is big. Females attain a 10” carapace length and males are between 4 and 6” in shell length. Females, mollusk and crustacean eaters, develop the enlarged head associated with such a diet. IOW, they are an impressive turtle. And I had just about decided I was going to have to leave with no photo.

But Lady Luck was with us. Just as we beached a big female map turtle came trudging down the sandy bank. Probably returning to the river from a nesting, pix were taken, and we, turtle and humans, went merrily on our individual ways.

Thanx again, Kelly. Yours is a beautiful region.
Continue reading “The Common Map Turtle” …read more
Read more here: King Snake

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   May 03

Herp Photo of the Day: Happy Rattlesnake Friday!

Happy Rattlesnake Friday! The icon, The western diamondback, uploaded by kingsnake.com user kevinjuddassumes the position! 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. It is our goal to help dispel the fears surrounding our beloved venomous creatures.

Upload your own reptile and amphibian photos at gallery.kingsnake.com, and you could see them featured here! …read more
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   May 02

Herp Photo of the Day: Snake

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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   May 01

Herp Photo of the Day: Python

Loving this little carpet python our Herp Photo of the day, uploaded by kingsnake.com user zmarchetti ! Be sure to tell them you liked it here!

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   Apr 30

Herp Photo of the Day: Frog

What a chunker! I’m just gonna go out on a limb and say that the Barking Tree Frog in our herp photo of the day, uploaded by kingsnake.com user saltycity has never missed a meal! Be sure to tell them you liked it here!

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   Apr 29

Herp Photo of the Day: Gecko

How small are Viper Geckos when they are born? As you can see in our herp photo of the day, uploaded by kingsnake.com user JohnRobinson VERY small! Be sure to tell them you liked it here!

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   Apr 29

The Rich mountain salamander

This is an example of one of the less colorful Rich Mountain salamanders.
If discussions about salamanders come up at all, it is often the big mole salamanders, newts, hellbenders, or the Appalachian group of plethodontids that have brought the discussion about. All too often the caudates of the central states are completely overlooked. This is sad because there are some noteworthy salamander taxa in the montane regions of Missouri and Arkansas. On more than one occasion I’ve hopped in the car and headed westward, photos of the grotto salamander, the ringed salamander, or the beautiful and variable Rich Mountain salamander, Plethodon ouachitae,

As I mentioned above, the Rich Mountain salamander, a very typical plethodontid, is a variable taxon. Adult at a robust 5 to 6 inch length, in some populations this salamander may simply be black and marked dorsally and laterally with a variable number of white and bronze flecks. Elsewhere it may retain the variable flecking on black sides but have a have a beautiful, rich, chestnut dorsum, it too being flecked. On some examples the flecking may be so reduced that it can be overlooked at first glance, and on others, as mentioned, it may be the chestnut coloring that is reduced.

At the eastern end of its range the Rich Mountain salamander may hybridize with the closely related Fourche Mountain salamander, Plethodon fourchensis. This latter was long considered a subspecies of P. ouachitae, and probably should have remained so.

The pretty Rich Mountain salamander occurs in a variety of habitats. Some populations seem to prefer the cover of leaf and moss covered rock slides. Others may be found beneath damp logs or trash.

But one thing is certain. If you like caudates the Rich Mountain salamander is well worth the time you spend in your search, but be certain you do photograph enough to display at least some of the wide variations in color.

Continue reading “The Rich mountain salamander” …read more
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   Apr 25

Herp Photo of the Day: Boa

Got Boa? We do! This stunning Dumerils shows off in our Herp Photo of the day, uploaded by kingsnake.com user biophiliacs !! Be sure to tell them you liked it here!

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   Apr 24

Herp Photo of the Day: Lizard

Climbing to greet the morning is this beautiful green tree monitor in our herp photo of the day, uploaded by kingsnake.com user roadspawn!

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   Apr 23

Herp Photo of the Day: Alligator

This alligator is just chilling in the Peace River in Florida in our Herp Photo of the day, uploaded by kingsnake.com user JonathanH . Be sure to tell them you liked it here!

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   Apr 22

Herp Photo of the Day: Happy Earth Day!

On Earth Day, I want to share the first animal I worked a conservation program with. The Utila Island Iguana (Ctenosaura bakeri) in our herp photo of the day, uploaded by kingsnake.com user s4sainz! What a STUNNING male! Be sure to tell them you liked it here! That program work lead to working with programs that assisted Grand Cayman Iguanas and Massasauga Rattlesnakes. From there I began helping where I could. Let’s celebrate conservation and the envirnoment today!

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   Apr 22

Come and Meet Bob.

Newly metamorphosed “Bobs”,
Phyllomedusa bicolor

Meet Bob. Bob, you ask? Who’s Bob. Just wait a few minutes and you’ll see. Well, at least we call him Bob. In fact, we call them all Bob. There ya go! Hear that? That’s Bob. Yep. He croaks his name. Time and again, from dusk til about midnight, Bob—in fact all the Bobs, let us know that all is well.

Let’s track him down so you can really meet him. We’ll start by walking out in back to the banks of the reservoir. OK. Now let’s just stand in the dark for a few minutes. He’ll call again. “Bobbb!” That’s him. Shine your light into the tops of the banana trees and look carefuilly. Ah ha. Right next to us, seemingly undisturbed by the flashlight, is a Bob—a Bob still silent. But next tree down is another—right there—top leaf about a foot from the apex. And he’s a big one.

We watch quietly, our light on low beam, and Bob straightens a little, his throat puffs up just a bit, and “Bobbbbbbb.” Well, it was either a Bob or a burp that time, but I’ll go for the former.

So what are Bob and his brethren? They’re big, beautiful, green hylids, the largest of the phyllomedusine treefrogs. Bob is Phyllomeduas bicolor, a giant monkey frog. We were on the banks of our little man-made reservoir, an area of perpetual moisture. Over the years we had searched various areas of the Peruvian rainforest for these frogs and were delighted when we were lucky enough to find one or 2. Then came Santa Cruz Forest Preserve, the reservoir, and rather than us looking for them, the monkey frogs, at least 3 species of them, came to us.

That night was nearly the beginning of the monkey frog breeding season. The seasonal rains had ushered in the Amazonian summer and bicolors were moving in in numbers. Within a day or so, or perhaps even within the hour, the females would be moving our way and within a week bicolor tadpoles would be schooling in the shallows of the reservoir. Another couple of weeks and the first of the tads, little blue-gray metamorphs, would be emerging.

Mother Nature at her best!

Continue reading “Come and Meet Bob.” …read more
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   Apr 19

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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   Apr 18

Herp Photo of the Day: Lizard

Despite their reputation of being angry, the beauty of a Tokay gecko puts it front and center in our herp photo of the day, uploaded by kingsnake.com user stingray! Be sure to tell them you liked it here!

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   Apr 17

Herp Photo of the Day: Kingsnake

We might be biased but this is one sexy greyband 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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   Apr 16

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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   Apr 16

To Cuba, Again

A Cuban racer, Caraiba andreae
Three months to go. In late June Jake and I will be airborne—on the short flight from Central Florida to Havana. As quickly as we can rent a car and rendezvous with our guide, Tomas, we’ll be headed to who knows where for a week of herping and birding with various friends on this wonderful island.

So far I have been to Cuba twice, both times basically for birding. However on the last occasion Lloyd and I managed to sneak away while everyone else was searching for owls and do a little nighttime herping. We walked a long way, but for our efforts saw several Cuban giant toads, Bufo peltocephalus, several species of tropical eleutherodactyline frogs, all of confusingly similar appearance, and distressingly, a few American bullfrogs, Rana catesbeiana. On shorter jaunts we crossed paths with 2 examples of the island’s largest dwarf boa (aka “wood snake”), Tropidophis melanurus, and several pygmy racers, Caraiba andreae.

When I returned from that trip I began to think about making a herping trip a priority and mentioned it to Jake. His answer was “let’s go.”

So I contacted Tomas, a herper, birder, and all around biologist, and plans were made. We’re hoping for photos of several species each of dwarf boas, a Cuban water snake or two, more racer taxa, anoles, curly tails, and anurans. Not to mention the big Cuban boa. Oh yes—and a stygian owl! Please wish us luck.
Continue reading “To Cuba, Again” …read more
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   Apr 15

Herp Photo of the Day: Lizard

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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   Apr 12

Herp Photo of the Day: Happy Rattlesnake Friday!

Happy Rattlesnake Friday! It may not be a rattlesnake, but it is a venomous snake that needs a little extra love! What a stunning copperhead, uploaded by kingsnake.com user HerpLverassumes the traditional cobra pose for this photo! 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. It is our goal to help dispel the fears surrounding our beloved venomous creatures.

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   Apr 11

Happy National Pet Day

Today, social media will be flooded with photos of dogs and cats to celebrate National Pet Day. If I show you mine, will you show me yours?

This is Karen, an adult male iguana who came to live with me recently through my rescue. Karen was left behind in an eviction, so I really know nothing of his past. Being a green iguana, he came with metabolic bone disease, a few infections, and was just beaten down from neglect. He is slowly recovering and showing signs of breeding behaviors. While he is “technically” available for adoption through my rescue, I know he will live his life out with me. Seriously, I do.Living in Wisconsin, he got his first taste of sunshine recently and I can honestly say this is one happy iguana here! …read more
Read more here: King Snake

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   Apr 11

Herp Photo of the Day: Snake

Not just any pine snake, but a pied black pine, gets the spotlight in our herp photo of the day, uploaded by kingsnake.com user pikiemikie!

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   Apr 10

Herp Photo of the Day: Salamander

Back in the field as this lovely Fire Salamander takes the spotlight in our Herp Photo of the day, uploaded by kingsnake.com user NYgaboon ! Be sure to tell them you liked it here!

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   Apr 09

Herp Photo of the Day: Frog

There is always something special with dart frogs like this one in our herp photo of the day, uploaded by kingsnake.com user FrogUs ! Be sure to tell them you liked it here!

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   Apr 08

Herp Photo of the Day: Lizard

What an adorable trio of Banana Pectinatas in our Herp Photo of the day, uploaded by kingsnake.com user kellyp. Be sure to tell them you liked it here!

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   Apr 08

Turnip-tailed Agamas

The extent of the blue suffusion on a male Xenagama can be easily seen on this breeder male.
When I looked in the terrarium at the dealer’s I could hardly believe my eyes. Soaking up the Florida sunlight in an outside pen were a number of little brownish lizards that lay, basking, their bodies as flat as the proverbial pancakes. And except for a short slender tip, the tail was flattened, rimmed with enlarged spike-shaped scales, and turnip or shield shaped when viewed from above.

This was my introduction to the pudgy little turnip-tailed agama. Collected from the aridlands of Somalia and Ethiopia, this agama, Xenagama taylori, is adult at about 4”. Quietly colored like many desert lizards, they may vary from tan through various browns to terracotta. Dark flecks, spots, or ocelli may be present on the back and sides as might small whitish spots. The various markings are most pronounced on young examples. Some metachrosis occurs with an individual lizard being lighter in color when it is warm than when it is cold. Males displaying territorial tendencies or in breeding readiness develop a suffusion of rich blue on the snout, chin, throat, anterior chest and upper forelimbs. Females in breeding readiness may (but not always do) develop a very pale blue suffusion on the chin and throat.

Females produce about a half dozen eggs in a clutch at the end of a nesting burrow and the hatchlings are about an inch long. Although these lizards may also dig shallow sleeping burrows that are “plugged” by the flattened spiky tail, ours seemed to prefer squirming into loose sand beneath their flattened basking rocks.

Adults are omnivorous, eating a broad array of insects and leafy greens. Hatchlings are primarily insectivorous.

These are not “flighty” or nervous lizards and if you like Uromastyx you should love Xenagama. The latter are not always available, so watch the ads carefully.

Continue reading “Turnip-tailed Agamas” …read more
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   Apr 05

Herp Photo of the Day: Happy Rattlesnake Friday!

Happy Rattlesnake Friday! It may not be a rattlesnake, but it is a venomous snake that needs a little extra love! This beautiful Egyption Cobra, uploaded by kingsnake.com user PHNajakassumes the traditional cobra pose for this photo! 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. It is our goal to help dispel the fears surrounding our beloved venomous creatures.

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   Apr 04

Herp Photo of the Day: Python

You can’t deny the awesome patterns in ball pythons, like this one in our herp photo of the day, uploaded by kingsnake.com user hcrepties! Be sure to tell them you liked it here!

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   Apr 03

Herp Photo of the Day: Lizard

What an awesome frilled dragon in our herp photo of the day, uploaded by kingsnake.com user frilly ! Be sure to tell them you liked it here!

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   Apr 02

Herp Photo of the Day: Snake

Love the color variation that this mottled Mexican Redtail Indigo (Drymarchon m. rubidus) has in our Herp Photo of the day, uploaded by kingsnake.com user alanB ! Be sure to tell them you liked it here!

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   Apr 01

Herp Photo of the Day: Snake

Of course we salute the greatest reptilian prankster today! Behold the glorious hognose in our herp photo of the day, uploaded by kingsnake.com user MCMB! Be sure to tell them you liked it here!

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   Apr 01

Southern Chorus Frog

Southern Chorus Frog

This is the only green Florida chorus frog that Jake or I have seen in a lifetime of herping.

The chorus frogs, genus Pseudacris of the family Hylidae, vary in size from just over ½ inch in size (the little grass frog, P. ocularis, of southeastern USA) to 2 inches (the California and the Pacific treefrogs, P. cadaverina and P. regilla respectively). Although a couple of other Pacific Coast species do attain a 2” length, the lion’s share of the species and subspecies are adult at a slender 1 ¼” in length.

Among these latter is our little southern chorus frog, Pseudacris n. nigrita and its often synonymized subspecies, the Florida chorus frog, P. n. verrucosa. This latter, whether or not valid, was differentiated from the nominate form by having a broken dorsal pattern rather than complete, although irregularly edged, stripes and a dark spotted, rather than an all-white, upper lip.

One of the draws (for me) when we moved to Gainesville, FL was the fact that the characteristic ratcheting calls of southern chorus frogs could be heard in many places well within the city limits. Sadly, today, 25 years later, most of those choruses have been silenced, the ephemeral waters from which they seasonally emanated now having been replaced by apartments, subdivisions, and parking lots.

Having commented time and again on the absence of chorus frogs in the city, on a recent rainy night herping trip, Jake and I were delighted when one county westward we heard these little winter choristers first in the dozens and then by the hundreds. Despite the loud choruses it took a while for us to actually see any of the vocalizers, because these like most chorus frogs, most often call while hunkered down, with only a nose showing, in grass clumps growing in shallow water. There, their striped patterns and gray and black colors blend perfectly with the background hues and shadows.

So, if you’re driving along on a humid or rainy night and hear sounds like many people dragging their thumbnails over the teeth of a pocket comb, stop and acquaint your self with these little beings of the winter wetlands.

Continue reading “Southern Chorus Frog” …read more
Read more here: King Snake

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