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   May 24

Herp Photo of the Day: Happy Rattlesnake Friday!

Albino Monocled Cobra, uploaded by kingsnake.com user MaxPeterson

This Cobra in our herp photo of the day, uploaded by kingsnake.com user MaxPeterson just learned we celebrate venomous animals every Friday! Boy is he happy for the respect! 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. Be sure to tell him you like it here.

Upload your own reptile and amphibian photos photos at gallery.kingsnake.com, and you could see them featured here! …read more
Read more here: King Snake

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   May 23

Herp Photo of the Day: Hognose

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!

Upload your own and photos at gallery.kingsnake.com, and you could see them featured here! …read more
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   May 22

Herp Photo of the Day: Tegu

Shiva has her eye on you in our Herp Photo of the day, uploaded by kingsnake.com user musicloverhoney! Be sure to tell them you liked it here!

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   May 21

Herp Photo of the Day: Boa

We are LOVING this motley snow Boa Constrictor 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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   May 20

Herp Photo of the Day: Mangrove Snake

Black Mangrove, uploaded by kingsnake.com user ptahtoo

Poised and watching, what a stunning Mangrove in our herp photo of the day, uploaded by kingsnake.com user ptahtoo! Be sure to tell them you liked it here.

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   May 20

Barbour’s Map Turtle

Young adult Barbour’s Map Turtle
Back around 1960-something or the other, Patti and I used to take roadtrips much more frequently than we do today. As I think back, that was understandable because so much, including the various herps, was new to us. So we meandered from one end of the state to the other, and then westward to the 3rd end of the state, the Panhandle that reaches from Madison to Escambia counties. Somewhere along these craggy lines I began photographing again with the goal of depicting each and every amphibian and reptile that called Florida home. And and with that fixed firmly in mind, a beautiful dimorphic aquatic Panhandle turtle.caught my eye.

This was and is Barbour’s Map Turtle. It took only a few minutes research to learn that to do photographic justice to this persistently aquatic turtle would require pics being taken of 3 stages in its life, a hatchling, an adult male, diminutive though these may be, and a hulking adult female that, when fully grown is more than twice the size of the males. To apply a measurement to carapace sizes, hatchlings are about 1 ½ inches, adult males are about 4 ½ inches, and adult females are about 12 inches, impressively notable differences.

To shorten an unwieldy tale, hatchlings and males were easily photographed. It took only a couple of slow and enjoyable canoe rides, stopping here and there at submerged or protruding snags to take the “needed” pix. But the adult females were another several stories. Over the years Patti and I tried and failed. 4 decades rolled on by. 20 years ago Carl May and I tried. Again, failure. Now here we are in 2024 and I’m going to try again—this time with Jake..

And, because of unexpected flooding we almost failed again. But at the last stop Jake came through. He spotted a single female, way downriver, clambered down an 8 foot vertical drop, and took pix for both him and me—–and you. .Thanks, Jake.

Continue reading “Barbour’s Map Turtle” …read more
Read more here: King Snake

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   May 17

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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   May 16

Herp Photo of the Day: Pine Snake

This Northern Pine does in our Herp Photo of the day, uploaded by kingsnake.com user Turekj sparkles like a firework! Be sure to tell them you liked it here!

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   May 15

Herp Photo of the Day: Turtle

What a lovely field shot of a Northern Yellow-faced Turtle hatchling 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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   May 14

Herp Photo of the Day: Chameleon

What a wee lil Kinyongia tenue , commonly known as a Flap-nose Chameleon 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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   May 13

Herp Photo of the Day: Skink

Hit the way back machine and found this cool pair of Fat Skinks (Lygosoma (Riopa) corpulenta), uploaded by kingsnake.com user tjern! A bit of a rare species of skink native to Vietnam. Be sure to tell them you liked it here!

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   May 13

The Kingsnakes of Florida

Typical eastern (chain) kingsnake from the FL-GA state line.
Well, firstly, if you are inclined to listen to the geneticists, the Florida Kingsnake, Lampropeltis getula floridana has become a nonentity, a snake having no special or interesting qualities. And that same disregard for subspecies would apply to the phases we have long known as “brooksi” and “goini.”. So for our purposes, herewith we’ll disregard the genetic findings and mention the various getula kingsnakes in FL as subspecies, as Linnaeus meant them to be.

In one subspecies or another the Kingsnake complex ranges throughout Florida

From the FL Keys in Monroe County, to the St Mary’s River in Nassau County, Fl and then westward to the Escambia River in Escambia County—In other words throughout all of FL—you will be treking through “Kingsnake Country”. These big, beautiful, secretive snakes are, or at least once were, found from border to border to border (and far beyond) in the sunshiney state of FL.

the USA.From the FL Keys to GA and AL a Kingsnake of some color could be encountered.Not only are these Found in one or another color beautiful snakes

When adult the various subspecies of the Eastern Kingsnake, including the nominate form, are big, occasionally attaining or even exceeding by a few inches, 6 feet in length. The base color may vary from yellow or black in northern FL to brown or yellow in southern FL.In northern FL the yellow occurs primarily in 2 discrete areas—Apalachicola Natl Forest and coastal neFL. A darker narrow vertebral stripe may or may not be present. They are rare in the former area and have not been seen for many years in the latter region.

Most individuals seen from north of the Ocala, FL area and except for Apalachicola area have been of rather typical eastern (Eastern Chain Kingsnake) pattern. The keywords in that sentence are “rather typical.” The differences usually most visible are in the variable amount of white—the thickness of the white bands both dorsally and laterally.Kingsnakes from the Panhandle , except fo the Apalachicola area, are white chain-patterned black snakes.

Florida Kingsnake pattern and colors are usually lighter overall than other subspecies, but some have a truly bungled light pattern over the black, or vice versa. Look for these from Ocala southward on the peninsula to Miami..

South Florida or Brook’s phase: Most King Snake enthusiast have searched eagerly for this Kingsnake having greenish ground color near Andytown—what? You don’t remember Andytown? No wonder. It was swallowed decades ago by the Interstate Highway System!—and more of a golden yellow down Everglades National Park way. Although variable both in ground color and the amount of dark patterning, all are well worth the search to find your choice.

Appalachicola or Goin’s phase may be virtually patternless ot have large often elongate oval darker dorsal pattern. Although variable they are often quite similar to Brook’s King variant from southwestern FL.

Ahhhhh. Florida! The land of the …read more
Read more here: King Snake

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   May 12

Herp Photo of the Day: Happy Mother's Day

This momma Suboc is guarding her fresh clutch in our herp photo of the day, uploaded by kingsnake.com user pecoskid ! Be sure to tell them you liked it here!

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   May 10

Herp Photo of the Day: Happy Rattlesnake Friday!

Happy Rattlesnake Friday! With Mother’s Day around the corner, this Klauberi female is showing us how it’s done in our herp photo of the day, uploaded by kingsnake.com user lepidus-klauberi! 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.

Upload your own reptile and amphibian photos at gallery.kingsnake.com, and you could see them featur …read more
Read more here: King Snake

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   May 09

Herp Photo of the Day: Colubrids

Life is like this pile of Colubrids in our Herp Photo of the day, uploaded by kingsnake.com user xtranch. You never know what you are gonna get! Be sure to tell them you liked it here!

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   May 08

Herp Photo of the Day: Lyre Snake

What wonderful field find in Mexico of this Lyre Snake our herp photo of the day uploaded by kingsnake.com user Chuck_Ch ! Be sure to tell them you liked it here!

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   May 07

Herp Photo of the Day: Gecko

These Uroplatus pietschmanni in our Herp Photo of the day, uploaded by kingsnake.com user mcamo3 ,show us what amazing masters of camoflague they truly are! Be sure to tell them you liked it here!

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   May 06

Herp Photo of the Day: Kingsnake

This variable kingsnake is on fire in our Herp Photo of the day, uploaded by kingsnake.com user Rod_McLeod. Be sure to tell them you liked it here!


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   May 06

The Ground Skink, Scincella lateralis

This is a typical, but rather dark Ground Skink, also known as Brown-backed Skink.
Ground Skink, Scincella lateralis. This tiny, slender (adult at 3 ½ inches including tail) and occasionally to as much as 5 inches) ranges southward from central eastern NJ to the southernmost of the FL Keys and westward to western TX. It was common in yards, open woodlands, grassy lake and pond edges, where in the latter it does not hesitate to take shelter if frightened. Likewise, it can climb agilely but seldom chooses to do so.

At no stage in its life is this species colorful. The 1 ½ inch long hatchlings are of some shades of brown from nose to tailtip. Adults are also some shade of brown, have a dark, and usually well defined, dorsolateral stripe on each side, are lightest dorsally and laterally, and have a cream to yellowish belly. The species has a smooth, transparent spectacle in each lower eyelid, allowing vision even when the eye is closed.

At one time, this skink was easily found and observed throughout its extensive range. Perhaps in some regions this is still the case. Until 6 years ago they were abundant in our north central FL yard. Today (March 2024) marks the 5th year I have seen none. I’ve flipped cardboard, both damp and dry, rolled long-fallen logs, turned plywood and roofing tins, looked by day, dusk, and nighttime, but no Ground Skinks were to be seen.

A few afternoons ago, on an 85F afternoon,100 miles north of home, I was so excited to see a ground skink crossing the pavement I almost went facedown exiting the car to photograph it

Now this tiny lizard assuredly belongs on the “Why Are The Herps Disappearing” list.
Continue reading “The Ground Skink, Scincella lateralis” …read more
Read more here: King Snake

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   May 03

Herp Photo of the Day: Happy Rattlesnake Friday!

Happy Rattlesnake Friday! How stunning is the red on this Speckled Rattlesnake (Crotalus mitchellii pyrrhus), uploaded by kingsnake.com user lichanura ! This Speck was found in Arizona. 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.

Upload your own reptile and amphibian photos at gallery.kingsnake.com, and you could see them featured here! …read more
Read more here: King Snake

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   May 02

Herp Photo of the Day: Water Snake

This young banded water snake being very curious in our herp photo of the day, uploaded by kingsnake.com user casichelydia ! Be sure to tell them you liked it here!

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   May 01

Herp Photo of the Day: Desert Iguana

What a wonderful headshot of a Desert Iguana in our Herp Photo of the day, uploaded by kingsnake.com user dvl s! Be sure to tell them you liked it here!

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   Apr 30

Herp Photo of the Day: Frog

What a beautiful shot of a Pacific Tree Frog in our Herp Photo of the day, uploaded by kingsnake.com user emvee! Be sure to tell them you liked it here!

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   Apr 29

Herp Photo of the Day: Chameleon

After 16 months of incubation this wee lil Sambava Panther Chameleon in our Herp Photo of the day, uploaded by kingsnake.com user tylerstewart is checking out the world for the first time! Be sure to tell them you liked it here!

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   Apr 29

Asian Giant Pond Turtle, Heosemys grandis

This is a prettily colored albino Giant Asian Pond Turtle
The times?

They have changed.

And they have changed BIG time.

Herp species that used to cost $10 or $20 are now priced in the hundreds or even the thousands of dollars if they are available at all.

Why, you may ask have prices changes so radically? Two major reasons are species population control by origin countries and a stricter adherence to International Wildlife Laws by our US Fish and Wildlife Svc.

Compare these hurdles to yesteryear when the collecting, importation and exportation of many (if not most) herp species were basically unregulated.

An example would be one of my very favorite Asian turtle species, the Giant Asian Pond Turtle, Heosemys grandis Before the turn of the century Thailand (Bangkok was a MAJOR collecting, clearance and shipping center) the sales and shipping of this turtle species were basically unregulated. Young examples, meaning those in the 4 to 6 inch shell length range, arrived at USA dealers on almost every shipment. The price for those of normal color was in the $50, range (albinos, of course, were more expensive). If you want a normal color morph today (2024) start saving . At this writing, no young ones seem available but several 15+ inch long adults are being offered at $950 each.

Capable of living in water or on land the Giant Asian Pond Turtle may be found along bodies of water such as lakes, ponds, rivers, streams, and canals. It is omnivorous and finds food in both aquatic and terrestrial environments. Their diet consists of worms, larvae, insects, snails, carrion, and aquatic and terrestrial plants. Hungry captives do not hesitate to dine on turtle companions. Similar to other species of turtles, the giant Asian pond turtle has developed adaptations and different techniques for capturing prey in both types of environments.

A bit more about this impressive species: This turtle species attains a full size of 17” straight measure. In nature it inhabits waterways as diverse as rivers and streams to swamps, marshes, and rice paddies.

The dark carapace may be brown or black, the yellow plastron is heavily streaked with radiating dark lines. The jaws are powerful and in closing I’ll simply say “although they seldom go out of their way to bite, watch where you place your fingers”.
Continue reading “Asian Giant Pond Turtle, Heosemys grandis” …read more
Read more here: King Snake

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   Apr 26

Herp Photo of the Day: Happy Rattlesnake Friday!

Happy Rattlesnake Friday! This certainly is not a rattlesnake, but it is a beautiful venomous creature. What a great close up of a Gaboon Viper, uploaded by kingsnake.com user magnum26 is full of sassy and potentially life-saving venom! 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.

Upload your own reptile and amphibian photos at gallery.kingsnake.com, and you could see them featured here! …read more
Read more here: King Snake

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   Apr 25

Herp Photo of the Day: Horned Lizard

It’s like a glamour shot for Horned lizards with this handsome Phrynosoma solare in our Herp Photo of the day, uploaded by kingsnake.com user ninetynine is hoping for some tasty snacks! Be sure to tell them you liked it here!

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   Apr 24

Herp Photo of the Day: Fence Lizard

This Western Fence Lizard is chilling like a villain in our herp photo of the day, uploaded by kingsnake.com user chrish ! Be sure to tell them you liked it here!

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   Apr 23

Herp Photo of the Day: Kingsnake

Does a kingsnake really need an intro for our herp photo of the day, uploaded by kingsnake.com user trevid ? Nope, but hey nice grayband. Be sure to tell them you liked it here!

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   Apr 22

Herp Photo of the Day: Happy Earth Day

Happy Earth Day! This copperhead in our herp photo of the day, uploaded by kingsnake.com user AlexNevgloski reminds us to only leave footprints when out in the field! Be sure to tell them you liked it here!

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   Apr 19

Herp Photo of the Day: Happy Rattlesnake Friday!

Happy Rattlesnake Friday! Let’s celebrate in the mighty southwest beauty of the Rock Rattlesnake here in our Herp Photo of the day, uploaded by kingsnake.com user Janne ! Be sure to tell them you liked it here!

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   Apr 18

Herp Photo of the Day: Indigo

Stunning headshot of an Eastern Indigo in our herp photo of the day! Uploaded by kingsnake.com user CtrsOfNightshade . Be sure to tell them you liked it here!

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   Apr 17

Herp Photo of the Day: Gopher Snake

This vibrant Cape Gopher Snake (Pituophis catenifer vertebralis) in our herp photo of the day, uploaded by kingsnake.com user pitparade will brighten your day for sure! Be sure to tell them you liked it here!

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   Apr 16

Herp Photo of the Day: Snake

Sometimes you need to look outside the box! This stunning Sunbeam Snake may not be the most colorful on first glance, but as you can see in our Herp Photo of the Day, they are a truly beautiful snake, uploaded by kingsnake.com user mecdwell! Be sure to tell them you liked it here!

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   Apr 16

Reintroduced Siamese Crocodile exhibits first time nesting


Photo Credit: ©WCS A head-started female Siamese crocodile nesting in the wild

In a huge win for conservation, the first ever nesting behavior has been observed by reintroduced female Siamese crocodile that resulted in two hatchlings! The hatchlings are now being headstarted by the Wildlife Conservation Society.

The authors note: “While collecting eggs for incubation in May 2022, we were able to identify a unique series of notched tail scutes on a female C. siamensis as she aggressively defended a nest.

“From these markings we determined the female was hatched on 11 August 2012 (age = 9.75 years) and released in March 2014. A camera-trap placed at the nest on 11 May 2022 and recovered on 5 July 2022 recorded 1724 images.

“These images indicated the female remained in attendance at the nest throughout the monitoring period. Camera-trap imagery captured eight nest repair events and two nest defense events; during the later the female defended the nest from village dogs.”

They have managed to reduce the mortality with their headstart program by an amazing 90%! To read the paper and full story, click here. …read more
Read more here: King Snake

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   Apr 15

Can a virus save Frogs from fungal disease?

USGS biologist holds an endangered yellow-legged frog recovered from a fire-ravaged stretch of Little Rock Creek, just off Angeles Crest Highway 2 near Wrightwood in the San Gabriel Mountains. (Irfan Khan / Los Angeles Times via Getty Images)

For over 500 species of frogs, Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis or more easily BD has been devastating. It has decimated populations worldwide and lead to extinctions of of 90 possible species threatening more world-wide. Scientists have been struggling to come up with a cure of any sort and have started to look at the possibility of infecting the fungus with a virus.

Meet BdDV-1, a viral fragment discovered by scientists whose paper was recently published by the journal Current Biology. The researchers found it in much the same way that one disentangles a knot, by pulling on individual threads to see where they lead. While examining the BD fungus to learn about weaknesses, they discovered a single-stranded DNA virus trapped within the genome of the fungus. Although this only applied to certain strains, when infected they produced fewer spores than the uninfected fungi. Now the next step is to see if researchers can clone and engineer this virus so that it kills BD and saves the frogs.

That will not be the easiest task to accomplish, however, for a big reason: Currently the virus makes the fungus more deadly to the frogs, rather than less so.

Now the question remains if they can reenginer the virus to change how it impacts the virus. To read more about the process, visit Salon here. …read more
Read more here: King Snake

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   Apr 15

Herp Photo of the Day: Ringneck Snake

Found in the field in West Virginia, this Ringneck in our herp photo of the day uploaded by kingsnake.com user cochran is mighty! Mighty small and mighty cute! 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! The true American Icon, the Atrox, or Western Diamondback stands his ground in our photo of the day uploaded by kingsnake.com user juzior ! 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
Read more here: King Snake

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   Apr 11

Herp Photo of the Day: National Pet Day 2024

We do goofy stuff with our pets too! Like stick our tongues our at our Blue Tongue Skinks like in our Herp Photo of the day, uploaded by kingsnake.com user Abazagorath! Be sure to tell them you liked it here!

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   Apr 10

Herp Photo of the Day: Bearded Dragon

This Pied Bearded Dragon in our herp photo of the day uploaded by kingsnake.com user dragomlover was originally bred by Liz at Satyrday Reptiles. I hit the wayback machine in our photo gallery for this one. As far as the notes on the photo say, it was unknown if this one was ever bred, but did not appear to have been. Be sure to tell them you liked it here!

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