Buckeye Herps Blog

A photographic journal of the reptiles and amphibians of Ohio, Michigan and other places interesting wildlife call home.

Saturday, May 15, 2010

The Dark Side of Herping

Most don't find herping to be a glamorous pursuit. The briar, ticks, projectile feces, summer mosquitoes, and reptiles and amphibians themselves are often major deterrents for most. Yet, I find they help to sweeten the taste of success when it comes (and an icy beverage for that matter). But most of these features are not unique to herping. No, the dark side is something altogether different...

I was drawn to the hobby for many reasons, some of which are the picturesque locations, ample time spent in fresh air, and the chance to really get out and stretch your legs. As you really fall prey to the allure animals though, you start realize sometimes you have to sacrifice a small part of the ideals that drew you to the field.

So what am I so cryptically speaking of?

Trash, litter, gas consumption.

My travels have taken me to some amazing places...

But I would have never found these animals without roads and countless hours spent driving them.

And often the roads themselves take us through some great places.

Unfortunately, we see plenty of dead animals.

But I can learn a lot about the animal. I know they occur there, I can get an idea of habitat they utilize, and when fresh, can have an idea of movement patterns.

But most herpers drive these...

So they can do this. (only with permission of course...)

But we spent a lot of time looking for this...

And the trash helps us find these.

So while it isn't always glamorous, sometimes when the fever seeps deep into your bones, you will do what it takes to see animals. Roadcruising and flipping tin aren't my favorite aspect of herping, but they produce results and allow you to see animals during times of the day and year when the hunting is otherwise tough.

So next time you go to clean up your back yard, leave a sheet of tin for the neighborhood ratsnake and always watch the shoulders of the road for any wayward travelers.