Why Are We Afraid of Snakes and How Do We Overcome That Fear?

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 […]

Phantoms of the Forest: The Secretive Nature of Timber Rattlesnakes

Timber Rattlesnakes, although very dangerous animals when harassed, rely first on their camouflage for defense, and last on their venom (with several steps in between). They are very docile animals that, under most circumstances, go to great lengths to avoid biting humans. In truth, if their objective was to bite and envenomate every passing human […]

Enduring and Avoiding the Cold – How Reptiles and Amphibians Survive Northern Winters

This post was adapted from an older magazine article the Kiley wrote in late 2017. With each trip in and out of the snow encrusted Canadian waters, another layer of ice accumulated on my waders, forming a frigid exoskeleton around my legs. I knew from experience not to tie the laces of my boots tightly, […]

Smooth Greensnakes: My Most Abundant White Whale.

Ever since childhood I had a fondness for snakes and some of my earliest memories involve watching neighbor kids take a step back as I wrangled small serpents from ditches and rock piles (though I am not sure if my friends were distancing themselves out of fear or an aversion to most snakes’ typical defense: […]

Filling the Void: Public Outreach in the Year of Social Distancing.

I am very thankful that due to the nature of our Wood Turtle conservation program and the low Covid-19 positivity rate in Vermont, our field work in the Great Northern Forests was able to move forward without the need to make substantial operational changes (although the first few weeks were touch-and-go to say the least). […]