Saturday, October 24, 2009

Check out a great new informational sheet on our humble and beloved brown snake (Storeria dekayi). Of course I'm biased about the sheet since I wrote it and took the photos, but I deserve absolutely none of the credit for the idea or how beautiful the sheet looks. Jason Poston, the force behind the PA Herp website, came up with the concept and then took my words and some of my hastily snapped photos and turned them into a professional grade (Jason is a design professional, though PA Herp is a labor of love) piece of literature.

Monday, October 19, 2009

No, I'm not only ogling rattlesnakes (Crotalus horridus) this fall, as wonderful as they are. I am still herping Philadelphia, although primarily my stomping grounds in the Mt. Moriah Cemetery.

It's hard to miss that the redback salamanders (Plethodon cinereus) are out again. I started seeing them a few weeks ago, and now they're under everything I lift up. They appear as if by magic as the temperatures drop, but there's a very ordinary explanation; these salamanders are very vulnerable to high temperatures and to dry conditions, so they stay deeper underground (at least during the day) for the heat of the summer. Now that daytime temps are back in their comfort zone, they're back near the surface.

There are still some snakes about too. Here's a big female brown snake (Storeria dekayi) I've found a couple times. I went for a walk recently with a friend in the cemetery. We saw the expected salamanders, but we also saw this migrant passing through, I assume on its way to central Mexico.