Monitoring Gopher Tortoises on the Orianne Indigo Snake Preserve

The Orianne Indigo Snake Preserve (OISP) contains just over 2,500 acres of protected lands located in the heart of southern Georgia. The property contains a mix of sandhills, small creeks and wetlands, and a large floodplain that backs up to the Ocmulgee River. An impressive 75 species of amphibians and reptiles have been documented on the property, and it provides a home to several rare or imperiled species, including the Eastern Indigo Snake, Gopher Tortoise, and Tiger Salamander. The OISP is also important because it serves as The Orianne Society’s home base in southern Georgia, housing all of our land management and sampling equipment. Over the last 10 years, an impressive amount of management has been conducted on the property. Tree planting, thinning, prescribed fire, and ground cover restoration have gone a long way to restoring the Longleaf Pine forests to their former glory.

Adult Spotted Turtle basking in the afternoon sun – Houston Chandler

Avoiding the Heat: Thermal Environments Experienced by Georgia’s Spotted Turtles

Ectotherms are unable to internally regulate their body temperatures, instead depending on the environment as a source of heat. These animals must either conform to environmental temperatures or thermoregulate to raise body temperatures above environmental temperatures through behavior, physiology, or both. For reptiles, this typically means some type of basking behavior where high body temperatures can be obtained relative to the air temperature.

North America’s Smallest Turtle

Eastern North America is home to one of the most diverse turtle faunas in the world, due in large part to the high number of freshwater turtle species inhabiting this region. This diverse group of turtles displays a wide variety of life histories, body sizes, colors, and preferred habitats. Globally, turtles are one of the […]

Southern Hognose Snakes: Conservation for data-deficient species

            As the days shorten and the nights get cooler, many species become more active, searching for mates, trying to find one last meal before winter, or moving into overwintering habitat. This includes the Southern Hognose Snake (Heterodon simus) that can occasionally be found crossing sandy roads on cool fall days. Inhabiting areas with xeric, […]

Understanding the Distribution of Suwannee Alligator Snapping Turtles

Alligator snapping turtles are one of, if not the, most impressive reptile species native to the southeastern United States. Adults can reach weights easily exceeding 100 pounds and shell lengths in excess of two and a half feet. A true leviathan when living in relatively small water bodies that characterize much of the eastern portion […]