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kingsnake.com - Friday, Jan 19, 2018

In celebration of all things venomous, ciccada is on the menu for this Copperhead in our herp photo of the day uploaded by kingsnake.com user coolhl7 ! Be sure to tell them you liked it here!



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Featured Contributors

Indian Star Tortoises
Richard Bartlett - Friday, Jan 19, 2018


Female Indian star tortoise nesting

Indian star tortoises, Geochelone elegans. The adults, as hatchlings themselves bred at the Knoxville Zoo, were forwarded to Jim Harding by Bern Tryon about 20 years ago. Jim kept them for about 14 years and then deciding the (by then) adults needed some southern sunshine, he brought them to me. These tortoises have proven much more resilient to ambient atmospheric conditions than we initially thought them capable of. They are most active crepuscularly, feeding most ravenously at dusk or even after dark. The females usually begin nesting in the late afternoon, often not completing the task until well after dark. They are usually very active during summer rains, often sitting in the newly formed puddles (that may be 4 or 5 inches deep) from the beginning of the storms until the puddles have fully soaked in. In other words, in their actions and hardiness, these tortoises have been a surprise to me and to Jim. And if Bern were still with us I feel he, too, would have had to modify his beliefs on the captive care required by these beautiful star tortoises.

Fast forward:One female has nested successfully for the last 3 years. In 2017 she nested on 3 occasions at 30 day intervals. Total eggs numbered 14. In Jan of 2015 the first clutch (5 eggs) have hatched and, again at 30 day intervals, we hope that the remaining eggs will also hatch. I’ll keep you updated.




Continue reading "Indian Star Tortoises"


Eastern fox Snakes
Richard Bartlett - Wednesday, Jan 17, 2018


Eastern fox Snake waiting for a warbler meal on a cool morning.

From a distance we could see that 9 feet above the ground in a sapling there was a brown ball. Why? What was it? We were on a noted wildlife sanctuary. We neared the “ball” and…Uh oh! Trouble! Not for us but for the warblers that seemed to be using this sapling-top corridor. For just one branch over on this cool morning, coiled tightly around the waving upright trunk, was a beautiful eastern fox snake, Pantherophis vulpinus,(formerly Elaphe vulpina gloydi). We photographed the coiled snake and moved onward, leaving the migrating warblers to fend for themselves. This snake proved to be the first of many, the others being seen along the many dikes. The range of this this pretty northern rat snake closely follows the shorelines of western and northern Lake Erie, eastern Lake Huron, and the region between these two Great Lakes.
Continue reading "Eastern fox Snakes"
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