Spotted Salamander (Ambystoma maculatum) from the mountains of Virginia. – Houston Chandler On cool rainy nights from late fall to early winter something incredible happens across much of the United States. Ambystomatid salamanders leave their subterranean refuges and migrate towards breeding wetlands, often in large numbers that can transform shallow wetlands into a frenzy of […]
While we mostly see amphibian activity in February, there are a few reptiles that can be found this early in the year. One of these animals is the Eastern Chicken Turtle (Deirochelys reticularia retucularia). Join Ben this month as he explores a seasonal wetland and highlights this special southeastern turtle.
Timber Rattlesnake. Photo credit: Tracy Karplus
I wrote last month about our recent Line Transect Distance Surveys (LTDS) for Gopher Tortoises on the Orianne Indigo Snake Preserve. This survey technique has become the standard for the vast majority of the tortoise monitoring that occurs across the southeast and with good reason. The LTDS framework presents a relatively easy survey methodology that can be carried out reliably by a small group of observers. Furthermore, it accomplishes the general goal of monitoring populations for a species that can be difficult to actually encounter using other survey techniques (i.e., tortoises are underground a majority of the time). With all of this said, are there circumstances where an alternative survey approach may be desired to monitor tortoise populations?
To this day, I don’t know what compelled me to return to the scene of the slaughter. Morbid curiosity? I didn’t know it at the time, but watching the neighbor kids ruthlessly attack and kill the Gartersnake we had found in a cow pasture that day in the early 1990s would set off a chain […]