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kingsnake.com - Monday, Mar 27, 2017

Garter Snakes hold such a special spot for so many herpers, we needed to share this gorgeous Garter in our Herp Photo of the day, uploaded by kingsnake.com user skyserpent ! Be sure to tell them you liked it here!


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Featured Contributors

Cane Toads and Their Living Canteens
Mayra Oyervides - Monday, Mar 27, 2017


Cane Toad and Gulf Coast Toad co-inhabiting in the same burrow
The Deep South Texas terrain is quite interesting. It’s mostly a delta with none to very little elevation. Hence the features of the terrain are mostly thorn-scrub, at least what is still sort of intact. The rest has become ag-land for crops or urban sprawl. The point being that there are no rock cuts, or boulders or hills or other features that are conducive to providing herps a lot of hiding spaces. As a result they’re often found around people’s houses using artificial cover.

There was one incidence when I observed a Cane Toad and a Gulf Coast Toad co-inhabiting in the same burrow. It made me wonder why they’d do so if the Cane Toad could potentially poison the gulf coast toad or even eat it. I looked around the caliche pit and there weren’t very many hiding spaces, as is the case for most of the Lower Rio Grande Valley. So, my curiosity was overwhelming and I wanted to see who was being choosy about the burrow availability.

I collected 30 Cane Toads and 30 Gulf Coast toads. With the help of a NASA engineer we designed a box with identical burrows, except one was connected to a cooler and maintained a cool 75 degrees, while the rest of the chamber was brought up to 100°F, not unusual for the region. This caused the other burrows to maintain a temperature about 10-15 degrees lower than ambient temperature, but the cooled burrow remained at 75°F. We put in pairs of toads of the same species, or one of each species all for 10 minutes at a time, never using the same toad twice during one trial. We had infrared cameras set up to look inside the burrows and digital cams above recording their movements.

We found that Gulf Coast Toads will enter any hole they can inhabit to escape the heat, but Cane Toads, explored all available holes and 90% of the time chose the cool burrow. The other 10 percent of the time they chose burrows that already had a toad inside. We presented this work at the Joint Meeting for Ichthyologists and Herpetologists. The reason for this I believe is that by being in close proximity to another toad they reduce surface area and hence decrease desiccation. Another advantage is that if the “other” toad expels some water onto the substrate both the Cane Toad and the Gulf Coast toad can re-uptake it. Cane toads were sort of using the other toads as living canteens if you will, because they’re just bad-asses and excellent problem solvers.


The American Crocodile
Richard Bartlett - Thursday, Mar 23, 2017


American alligator, very dark, broad snout

“Dick LOOK.”

I was in the shotgun seat and my vision to the water on the driver’s side was obscured.

Not realizing this Dan exclaimed again, but not as emphatically. “Look.” By then he had swung the car around and there on the boat launch ramp lay a 6 ½ foot long American crocodile, Crocodylus acutus.

This wasn’t really unexpected, for we were in the Everglades National Park, but unexpected or not, seeing a croc, by far the rarer of the 2 native American species, is always exciting.

Actually it was the second one of the day but rather than being out in the open as this one was, the first had been basking in the evening sunlight beneath a doc and was largely covered by floating water plants.

Besides our 2 native species, Florida is home to a 3rd crocodilian species. This the introduced spectacled caiman, Caiman crocodilus ssp., has been present in rather small numbers for more than 50 years. It is restricted to southern FL.

Individuals of at least 3 other crocodilian species have been found in FL. These have been the smooth-fronted caiman, the black caiman, a Nile crocodile, and a croc that, despite DNA samples having been assessed, defies identification.

Florida’s native and established crocodilians: On all, the markings are usually most prominent when the animal is wet.

American alligator: hatchlings and juveniles are black with yellow crossbands. Adults are black. Snout broad and rounded. To 19 feet but usually 12 feet or less.

Spectacled caiman: hatchlings and juveniles are olive green, olive yellow, or olive brown with darker bands, Adults are usually dark olive gray, Snout moderately broad. A bony ridge across snout just anterior to eyes. To 8 feet but usually 6 feet or less.

American crocodile: hatchlings and juveniles are greenish gray with broken darker crossbands that are often most prominent dorsally. Adults are (usually dark) grayish green. Snout long, narrow, and tapering. To 15 feet but usually less than 12 feet.
Continue reading "The American Crocodile"
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