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kingsnake.com - Wednesday, Oct 28, 2020

We hope that this amazing field shot of a Wood Frog kicks off your day right in our Herp Photo of the day, uploaded by kingsnake.com user casichelydia . Be sure to tell them you liked it here!


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News Briefs

FL UPDATE: Judge Rules Changes are Unconstitutional
Cindy Steinle - Friday, Sep 04, 2020



There was some great news regarding the regulation changes for Florida; including Tegus, Iguanas and a selection of large constrictors.

This is the announcement from USARKFL:

We have some news... good news. The judge agreed with USARK FL and found that SB1414 is in fact unconstitutional! We will post full details soon but the judge granted our motion for summary judgment and now we just await his formal order stating the same. Thank you to everyone who supported us. Please keep the donations coming! We must still pay for this lawsuit and future actions. What a win!

NOTE: This will take a few days to all be finalized and for FWC to rescind their Executive Order. We also do not know if FWC will appeal. Also, by "unconstitutional" we mean the Florida Constitution, not the U.S. Constitution. This is a state lawsuit against a state agency, not a federal lawsuit.


Please stay tuned to both USARK and USARKFL to follow updates and please continue to support USARK. They are getting things done!
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Featured Contributors

Mole-Pine snake Similarities
Richard Bartlett - Monday, Oct 19, 2020


Note the similarities such as the narrow pointed head of mole and pine snakes that is designed for plowing through subsurface burrows. This is a young adult mole snake.

They’re a half a world apart but the similarities between the African Mole Snake, Pseudaspis cana, and the American Pine Snakes, Pituophis melanoleucus ssp. are rather remarkable. Do not mistake the mole snake of this article for our various Mole Kingsnakes. The two are very different. If you have been fortunate enough to work with both African Mole and American Pine snakes you’ll know immediately what I’m talking about.

Both are small-headed, strong-jawed, powerful constrictors that spend a goodly amount of time pursuing rodents in their subsurface burrows. Our gopher and pine snake pursue pocket gophers and the mole snakes pursue mole rats and other rodents. The two differ in scalation, with the scales of the pine snakes being keeled and with the mole snake usually (but not always) having smooth scales. A length of 6 feet is not unusual for them and anecdotal accounts of even greater lengths are often heard.

Mole snake hatchlings and juveniles are straw colored and strongly patterned with dark alternating dorsal and lateral bars. The markings fade with age and adults vary from an almost uniform light olive to dark olive-brown in color. Hatchlings of the American pine snake may be paler than the adults. This snake varies in color by subspecies with the northern subspecies (P. m. melanoleucus) being the most strongly patterned in chocolates, black, and white. The Florida subspecies, P. m. mugitus, is the palest (sometimes almost a uniform straw tan), and as indicated by its common name the Alabama/Mississippi subspecies the Black Pine, P. m. lodingi, is the darkest.

Mole and Pine snakes also differ in reproductive modes. The mole snake bears large litters (usually between 20 and 90) of live young. The Pines produce small clutches (often only 3 to 8) of large eggs.

Both species are tough and they know it. And they’re not at all reluctant to pass that knowledge on. If unduly disturbed both hiss loudly, assume a striking “S,” and lunge at the intruder. But both do tame and some make excellent pets.
Continue reading "Mole-Pine snake Similarities"


Some Banded Geckos of the American West
Richard Bartlett - Thursday, Oct 08, 2020


Banded Geckos look a lot more delicate than they actually are. This is a San Diego Banded Gecko.


Counting species and subspecies there are 7 forms of banded geckos, genus Coleonyx, in the American West. Two of these, the Barefoot, C. switaki, and the Reticulated C. reticulatus, are larger than the remaining 5 and have very limited ranges. One, the Texas, C. brevis, is the easternmost and is smaller than any of the others. It is the remaining 4, all subspecies of the wide ranging Western Banded Gecko, C. variegatus, that we shall mention here. All have elliptical pupils and are nocturnal. The body is slender and between 2 and 3 inches long. The original tail (the tail is easily autotomized and often in some stage of regeneration) is about the same length as the snout-to-vent. Original tails are prominently banded.

The 4 subspecies of the Western Banded Gecko that occur in the USA are the San Diego, C. v. abbotti, the Tucson, C. v. bogerti, the Utah, C.v. utahensis, and the Desert, C. v. variegatus. Appearance differences are slight and it is best if you are interested in a particular form that you check a field guide for ranges.

Generally speaking though, the San Diego subspecies occurs on the Pacific slopes of southern CA. The Tucson form may be encountered in seAZ and swNM, the Utah race is restricted to swUT and immediately adjacent NV and AZ, and the Desert, by far the most wide-ranging of the 4, is found over much of AZ, NV and eastern CA.

Although these little geckos may be found beneath surface debris such as wood, cardboard, and rock by day, I’ve always found it a lot more fun to road hunt them at night. They are active, their light color contrasts well with dark pavement, and they cross roads in a series of darting rushes, often with their tail curled up over their back, this initially giving them the appearance of a large scorpion. Keep this similarity in mind as you jam your car into park, slam open the door, and rush out to slap a cupped hand of the little creature on the road. It’s not pleasant to be painfully surprised!

Continue reading "Some Banded Geckos of the American West"
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