Thursday, August 04, 2005

Since I haven’t been getting out to go herping much in the Philly area, I’ve been fantasizing about Brazil. We’re going to Brazil for our honeymoon. We cashed in one hundred and fifty thousand frequent flier miles between us, and as soon as we had secured our tickets I ordered the only guidebook I could find for reptiles and amphibians of the region: Reptiles and Amphibians of the Amazon, by R.D and Patricia Bartlett. Luckily we are planning on spending a few days around Manuas, otherwise the guide would not be quite so useful. The rest of the time we’re planning on being at the beach in the northeast of the country, probably around Salvador, and I have no idea what we’ll be finding around there.

I’m not sure what I’ll see in the Amazon either, but I’ve been flipping through this guidebook like it’s a catalogue, as if I get to order up five puffing bird snakes (Pseustes species), two eastern forest striped pit vipers (Bothriopsis bilineata bilineata), fifteen clown tree frogs (Hyla species), a variety pack of anoles (Anolis species), and one of those really weird Amazonian egg eating snakes (Drepanoides anomalus).

A far more experienced herper than I once told me that the rainforest is disappointing for herping. You expect the trees to be dripping with boas and a bushmaster (Lachesis muta) chilling next to every stump, but it takes effort and luck even down there. The Bartlett’s claim that they see forty species of herps on average on their guided herping trips down there. We’re not going on a guiding herping trip, so does that mean twenty species? Fifteen?

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