New backyard herp: Ringneck snake (Diadophis punctatus)

Ringneck snake (Diadophus punctatus). Boca Raton, FL, August 17, 2013.

Fear of snakes is instinctive. It just is. I imagine that most of those who have overcome it have done so through repeated exposure, knowledge gained over time. It’s not enough to know that an animal is harmless; you have to feel it. And if you don’t, you’ll still be scared by something as innocuous [...] [...]

Bad Hair Day

Green anole (Anolis carolinensis), Boca Raton, Fl, September 5, 2012.

Human hair, like reptile scales, is made of proteins called keratins. So a molting lizard can, without too much poetic license, be said to be having a bad hair day. Hope yours is better! [...]

New backyard herp: Coluber constrictor, Southern Black Racer


I’ve been seeing snakes (well, a snake) off and on for the past couple of months in our back yard, but only on a couple of these occasions have I had my camera with me and been able to get a few shots. The snake in question is one of the more common ones in [...] [...]

Baby snakes are hard to identify


Eric and I were swimming one evening when I noticed a small stick floating in the corner of the pool. Upon closer inspection, it was no stick, but an elongate limbless vertebrate in the group Serpentes (i.e., a snake!). Remember, all snakes can swim. And it was having a fine time in its little corner [...] [...]

It isn’t easy being green

Cuban Tree Frog in the garden shed

After discovering that Tropical Storm Emily wasn’t going to affect us at all this weekend (well, we did got nearly a tenth of an inch of rain on Sunday) , I went over to Mom’s house on Friday and found this little guy waiting for me in the garden shed: Quite an interesting little guy. Much [...] [...]

Save the Frogs Day in two weeks: get ready!


International Save the Frog Day is Friday, April 29th. How will you celebrate? I’m only a part-time frogger, having more experience with the arcade game of the same name than with the 28 species of frog and toad in Florida (Ashton & Ashton), 42 species in the Southeast (Dorcas & Gibbons), or the 101 species [...] [...]

Frogs by the garden hose

Introduced species play conspicuous roles in any ecosystem, particularly here in south Florida, the gateway to the Caribbean and most of Latin America. Every few years we hear of the potential for ecological harm posed by the latest introduction, either those that have escaped from captivity, like the walking catfish, Burmese python, or Purple Swamphen; the Everglades ecosystem [...] [...]

Watch your step!

When you’re a naturalist, even just an amateur one like me, there’s nothing better than to get out into the field. You don’t have to answer the phone, you’re not tied to the computer, you can wander, just walk where you’d like. You have the ability to stop for as long as you’d like, to [...] [...]

Any froggers out there?

Getting out into the field is always fun, but some days are more fun than others. As I mentioned yesterday, I got wonderfully sidetracked by some little frogs (toads, more likely, given how scrawny the legs are) while taking pictures of birds during the May 2010 edition of the North American Migration Count: Despite having [...] [...]

Spring 2010 migration count

Every spring and fall for the past five, maybe six, years, I’ve participated in the North American Migration Count for Palm Beach County. Last weekend I was responsible for two areas: Lake Ida Park and Dog Park in Delray Beach and South County Regional Park in western Boca Raton. I began well before dawn in [...] [...]