01home02babybrain05lifelist04tastebuds08bbbs10roguewedding11nerdybirdy12travels

Sunday, September 2, 2012

Tucson Arizona: Look we are Herping Too

Along with bugs and birds and plants Mr. Owlbait also loves amphibians. Since Herpetology is the study of reptiles and amphibians, looking for these animals is often referred to as Herping. Herp comes from the Greek root herpet, meaning “creeping”.

090212_10_herping_owlbait
MR. OWLBAIT ALWAYS ON THE LOOKOUT FOR COOL THINGS

Finding unique lizards and snakes isn’t often easy. They like to hide and scurry away pretty quickly and although we didn’t find as many as I thought we would, for instance we missed finding the Montour Lizard, we did see some pretty cool specimens. Some of the lizard species are really beautifully colored on their bellies but the few that we found were sticking their bellies pretty close to their rocks. Only one raised up enough to allow a little glimpse of the color underneath.

090212_10_herping_clarksSpineyLizard
CLARK’S SPINEY LIZARD

090212_10_herping_greatBasinCollaredLizard
GREAT BASIN COLLARED LIZARD

090212_10_herping_OrdinateTreeLizard
ORDINATE TREE LIZARD - WITH HIS BLUE BELLY AND YELLOW GREEN THROAT

We only managed to find two rattlesnakes to photograph and both ended up being the Mojave Rattlesnake. We had to give these guys room, it is a venomous snake and it best known for its potent neurotoxic venom, which basically means it totally screws up your nervous system. Its venom is considered to be the most debilitating and potentially deadly of all North American snakes. Needless to say I took photos but only with my big lens and only about 50 feet away. Rattlers can move faster than you think they can and I wasn’t getting anywhere near either of these.

The first snake we found basking itself right on the gravel pathway we were birding on in a park. We paused to take a photo and then it slunk away into the brush. Mr. Owlbait went in for a closer look but backed away once the snake got in a defensive posture and started rattling that tail. It sent shivers down my spine.

090212_10_herping_MojaveRattler01
MOJAVE RATTLESNAKE

The second time we saw this breed of snake we were driving on our way home. The snakes like to sit on the roads and night because the asphalt retains heat. We were on a pretty deserted road so we pulled over to investigate. I got right in front of the snake and took a single photo. He then started to shoot straight for me. I yelped and ran out of its way. It didn’t get ANYWHERE near me but it was still scary to see it coming my way magnified through the lens. I don’t think I will ever become a true Herper!

090212_10_herping_MojaveRattler02
MOJAVE RATTLESNAKE

2 comments:

paul peggy zeus said...

Lizards on Trees and Snakes, Oh My! That last rattler was super cool!

Jennifer Arens said...

Is Mr Owlbait a Naturalist? He seems chalk-full of knowledge!

Post a Comment