Buckeye Herps Blog

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

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Just Another Nerodia?

I usually don't get all excited about subspecies, especially crappy ones based on a color phase, but the Lake Erie Water Snake, Nerodia sipedon insularum, is kind of an interesting beastie. 

They are federally threatened, and only occur on a few of the islands in Lake Erie off the coast of Ohio and Canada.  Once at the brink of "extinction", due to concerted and heroic efforts in raising public education and awareness, as well as the introduction of a nonnative fish, they have rebounded with gusto and are now up for federal delisting. 

So how do you know if you have seen one?  Just find an ugly water snake on one of the islands.  Theoretically, they have a darker, more uniform color, but protection status is strictly based on the location of the animal.  You will find they actually come in all different colors and patterns. Yeah I told you they were bogus.

Bogus and cool.

Lake Erie Water Snake Nerodia sipedon insularum

While not a "classic" insularum, it is a darn good looking snake.  At least for stinky Nerodia.

So if you happen to make it out to one of the western Lake Erie islands, keep your eyes peeled for an insularum.  You might even end up face to face with one.


(you can all stop being shocked that buckeyeherper actually decided to post some Ohio herps for once...)

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Speaking of Bothrops

When I last spoke to my brother, he complained that I never explained to him the nasty reputation of Bothrops.  I will actually argue all of my experiences have been very positive and even lucky.  I found them to be rather likeable, except for when you are stupid enough to mess with them (which I do not recommend).

Bothrops are a genus of Central and South American pitvipers that have a number of representative species.  The most well known of these, the fer-de-lance or terciopelo, is common throughout central america and northern south america.  They can be large, agressive snakes with potent venom.  Data suggests they are responsible for more deaths in the western hemisphere than any other snake.

Bothrops atrox that was found after it crawled out from between my legs.

Bothrops atrox found when our group stopped to photograph the above mentioned snake, curled up in the path, an inch from the last persons boot.  Yes we all walked right over it.

Bothrops atrox found alongside a trail during the day.  This snake was perfectly content to leave us alone, until we decided to bag it for measurements and samples.  The only snake that has made me uncomfortable to this day... 

And a couple reasons to fear Bothrops...

Ahh Brasil...

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Some New Blood!

My brother is currently spending 2 months in Costa Rica working on some herp research. He was looking for a way to upload images to share with friend and family, so I offered to add him as an author. Hopefully, we will take me up on it and start posting some of his adventures.

You may remember him from some posts last summer.

Start posting some Bothrops!


Tuesday, June 8, 2010

A New Era Begins

If you are interested in reptiles, amphibians, wonderful pictures and a little taste of drama, then I urge you to check out www.fieldherpforum.com.

This excellent forum has been instrumental in my growth as a herper and has introduced me to many new species and places across the world, that I might have never known existed. I have also met some wonderful people via the forum.

It recently had a set back, including the loss of hundreds of thousands of posts and is rebuilding from ground zero. The community is rallying to make it bigger and better the second time around.

Don't mind the dust, join in the fun, and get ready for some amazing stories.