Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Some Florida Herping

South Florida has been a place that Devin and I have wanted to visit for some time. We managed to find many species that were new to us, as well as a few familiar guys. Pictured below is a crested anole from Key Biscayne, one of many introduced species to the state.Cuban treefrogs, also introduced, can often be found around suburban areas, in pipes, and in other cool, sheltered retreats.
Cuban treefrogs have several color/pattern variations. Below is a large, healthy green one.
What a good-looking specimen! The frog isn't bad, either.
Brahminy blind snakes are the smallest snake. Here are two sitting in the palm of my hand.Five-lined skinks are commonly found flipping boards and other surface debris.
Non-herps can be just as exciting to find sometimes. We came across two river otters that were not too happy to see us walking around in their territory. They would repeatedly bark and slap at the water.
Eastern garter snakes are abundant around moist areas.
A southern leopard frog seen hopping across the road in the rain.
A yellow rat snake that was found repeatedly in the same place, and even on different nights.
I had to dive to catch this black racer before it zipped into the thick vegetation.
A nice shot of a southern leopard frog in its habitat.
A spiny softshell turtle cruising near the surface. A juvenile Florida softshell was also seen, but not photographed.
A good-sized American alligator resting in the shallows.
We spotted this juvenile alligator sitting under a bridge.
Devin and I caught a nice-looking green iguana on Key Biscayne
A southern toad.
Maybe a bullfrog, maybe a pig frog. Who cares, we heard and caught both in the Everglades.

The introduced cane toad.

A ringneck snake revealing its defensive posture.

A few ringneck snakes were found in a moist area while flipping debris.

Our smallest specie of toad, the oak toad.

This eastern garter snake was found with a rib protruding from its side.
An alligator on the prowl.
This spiny softshell turtle was seen walking around above a pond.
A non-native tropical house gecko.
Green treefrogs are a pretty, native specie.
This turtle is called a cooter, and they are a large and common specie.
An upclose shot shows the turtle's bunk eye on its left side. That's how we were able to approach it and catch it.
A greenhouse frog.
Catching this big boy was a lot of fun, and it involved Devin climbing a tree and me waiting underneath with a towel.
Devin holding the beefy green iguana.
Curly-tailed lizards tried their hardest not to be caught, but we eventually snagged one.
Ah, the classic green anole...only this one wanted to be brown today.
A ribbon snake that had recently been hit by an automobile but was still alive.
A corn snake in situ....ok, that's a lie. We found that there was better lighting in the car.
An awesome little scarlet snake.
Devin spied this glossy crayfish snake with his flashlight while it cruised around in a shallow boggy area. I waded into the slime and quicksand to pull it out for a photo session.
This was a fun catch and pretty specimen.
This large cottonmouth was coiled on the side of the road.
Here's a picture of Devin looking for an excuse to climb on top of me...and me looking for an excuse to climb on top of an American alligator.
This good-sized alligator was a handful and a lot of fun to catch.
Our trip to Florida was tons of fun, and this post represents a good sample of many species that we found and caught during our stay.

Monday, November 1, 2010

Arizona Herping Trip

Devin, Luke, and I (Jeff) made our way in early summer down to Arizona to see what we could find in a few days of herping. We stopped in Vegas on our way and managed to locate a few Mojave Desert species. Below, Devin is holding a red coachwhip that was catching some morning sun off the side of the dirt road.

Desert iguanas are always a welcomed sight among the creosote bushes.

We even stumbled upon some pretty collared lizards (female below) that were sunning themselves at the base of a rocky hillside outside of Las Vegas.

Chuckwallas were also in the area. This small one wedged itself in a shallow crevice.

We also spotted the usual side-blotched lizards and western whiptails that are always in abundance in the hot deserts. We stopped for a stretching break in northern Arizona (near Kingman) and unearthed this banded gecko under a fallen joshua tree.
Unfamiliar with the roads in Arizona, the three of us just set out at night in Phoenix and found a road that was good enough to provide us a healthy sidewinder. We held onto it to photograph in daylight, and it was released back into its habitat.
The backroads of Phoenix also yielded a mid-sized Mojave Rattlesnake. Again, it was kept overnight and released back the following day. The rattle, admittedly, isn't extremely impressive, but it was a nice-looking specimen.

Here are the two species coiled side by side in a tupperware.

We arrived in the deserts around Tucson and found a moist area inhabited by canyon treefrogs. Several were found resting in a granite crevice.

These amphibians have amazing camoflauge and are fun to find.

The moist area in the desert was habitat to eastern fence lizards, desert spiny lizards, and some tree lizards (pictured below).

The area was also a good spot for black-necked garter snakes moving among the cool, moist grass at the edges of the pools.

Habitat shot of area with granite boulders and pools of cool, clear water.

A little further down, where the water becomes mere trickles, regal horned lizards were out in the dry areas looking for ants.

Horned lizards seem to be good indicators for habitat quality, in my opinion. The area looked perfect, and these guys were not in short supply.

Zebra-tailed lizards were racing around (below), as were a few earless lizards.
A desert kingsnake managed to get away, but we were happy to stumble upon this desert patchnosed snake.
Night snakes can be found under surface debris, like this one that was under a railroad tie.
A Tucson banded gecko that was found on the road.The three of us found an excellent-looking dry streambed that was relatively green and had plenty of boulders and other cover. After finding a dead ring-tailed cat, we walked right into this gopher snake stretched out on the ground.
Then, we found a large, stunning Tiger Rattlesnake that was silently coiled in a ledge at the side of the arroyo and eyeballing us as we passed.
We were pleasantly surprised and elated to learn that the area was a hotspot for Gila monsters. We found not one, but two beautiful specimens. One was crawling around and the other was sitting next to a large hole that it apparently had just emerged from.
Here's another shot of the two. Sorry the picture is sideways.
The habitat was awesome, and watching these guys walk around never got old.
A more upclose photo of the larger of the two, which was the first one found.
A habitat shot of Gila monster country in southern Arizona.
Our main objective of the trip was to find a Gila monster. We ended up finding a couple of them (as well as a DOR Gila monster), and a variety of other desert species. We're going to have to make it back someday for more Gilas and some montane rattlesnakes, but for now we were happy with our successes.