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, […]

Diamonds in the Rough: Are Populations of Elusive Ribbonsnakes Hiding in Plain Sight?

As a kid back in the 1990s I was absolutely positive I had both Common Gartersnakes and Eastern Ribbonsnakes slithering around in the fields behind my house, but today I chalk that up to some shotty use of a field guide on my part. Gartersnakes are widespread in Vermont and the only species of snake […]

Elusive Wood Turtles

“I’ve lived here my whole life and if there were orange-legged turtles crawling around on my farm I’d know about it”. We’ve heard iterations of that line several times now, and perhaps my favorite followup quote, uttered moments after finding two Wood Turtles near the farm’s river ford, went something like “I’ll be dipped in […]

Winter Blizzards Bring Spring Lizards: How to find amphibians during their spring breeding migrations

Every spring in the northeast, as the snows melt and the ground begins to thaw, frogs and salamanders move out of their upland overwintering habitat down and into wetlands to breed and lay their eggs (and no, salamanders are not actually lizards, so please excuse my turn of phrase). Unfortunately, when roads cut between breeding […]