Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Howdy Herpers,

A keen-eyed herper putting a whipping on a “Where’s Waldo” book can easily be compared to an Evelyn Wood speed reading demonstration. The pages ripple fast enough to create a breeze. The finger crosses the page with the same speed of motion as one might utilize in striking a match. To some of these people, “Where’s Waldo” becomes “There’s Waldo” quicker than a wood rat on a hot date. The dude stands out like goat turds in a milking pail.

I’d like to thank those of you who participated in our little game. Steve’s photo has inspired me to take more images of that sort of thing. We’ll play it again someday soon, only with more than one image. Hopefully, it will take more than two seconds to get a winner.

As none of you may remember, we left the Big Windy Six in a windstorm, with near-freezing nighttime temps. Against all odds, the group had managed to scarp up a western lyresnake, a black-necked gartersnake, and an Arizona black rattlesnake­not to mention scads of tree lizards. We also scrounged up a few canyon treefrogs, over 20 whiptails, a half dozen Clark’s spiny lizards, and 7 greater earless lizards­none of which received mention in the narrative. My bad!

Also my bad (and yours­as none of you seemed to catch it), the lyresnake in the image that was sent was quite dead. Steve found it writhing in the final throes of death in a boulder escarpment beside the road into the canyon. There had been some heavy quad traffic on the road that day, and one of them must have clipped it. As few things are more a cooperative model than a dead snake, we made good use of it.

Upon our arrival back at the guest house, there ensued yet another extravagant meal, followed by mass consumption of the liquid bread that Mike and I had chased to Safford to obtain. A roaring fire was set, and we surrounded it. As the flames winked out, so did we.

I awoke the next morning to a porch bustling with activity. Dave and Steve were frantically slipping on shoes and gathering camera equipment. Gery was viewed running off into the distance. He was dressed only in his skivvies and a pair of slippers. Being naturally curious about the event, I questioned what activity he might be engaged in. The response was that he had seen a bear approaching our porch just moments ago. Thusly informed, I could only assume­what with his vet skills and all, that he was going to give that beer-thief of a bear a beerectomy! Mr. Bear, mess with us once­shame on us. Mess with us twice­shame on you! It was a good thing for that bear that he could run faster than a half-naked veterinarian in slippers, or his shaggy carcass would have become a floor ornament. Pity any fool bear that runs afoul of Gery!

While half the camp made ready to photograph Gery in action, the guide made it a point to check the contents of the coolers. Once again, his heart fell right through his sphincter. Doggone if that bear, or his brother or sister, hadn’t got to us again! Despite the fact that each member of the party admitted to only having “one or two beers,” there were only ten left out of the sixty purchased the night before. Today would indeed be remembered as the day of everybody drinking “one or two beers.”

The three disgruntled bear hunters returned empty handed. The Big Windy Six dined on Barker’s leftover Texas Chili and steak fries. The breakfast of champions! Following the gut-cleansing feast, the battle plan for the day was discussed. First off, the morning air temp had been 13 C (55 F)­9 degrees warmer than the previous morning. This was encouraging. With but minimal dissention in the ranks, (thankfully, there was no mention of pyros), it was decided to make a bull run at the place that Steve had found his cerberus the day before.  

As we had to leave the guest house by 1100, it was determined that this would be the proper time to head out for our last big adventure. There was a frenzy of cleaning and packing everything in the trucks. Many hands made light work of that process, and in no time flat, everybody drifted off to bird watch and bear hunt. At 0900, the alert guide checked his thermometer­22 C (F = 1.8 x tempC +32­figure it out yourselves!) and climbing. Holy frijoles! Experience has taught me that 27 C is the prime temp for finding our quarry. We were going to get to that point in a hurry. There next ensued the necessary ear-splitting bellowing required to gather the flock, who ponderously returned as if on the wings of a slug. All bitched lustily about the change of departure time, but understood the need. The next half hour was spent with no less than five of the six ready to go, with one member missing. As soon as the missing one came back, another left. Such is the chronic flandickery of any group larger than one manifested. We FINALLY had all six together, and then it was decided a group photo was in order. 23 C and counting………

Two eternities later, both vehicles headed out, with Little White leading the charge. Once again, when Little White puked out its contents, there was no Great White to be seen. 24 C and counting! It became obvious that Gery and Mike had never witnessed a conniption, for they grew wide-eyed as the guide launched into a tirade about the contents of Great White. There was mention of old lady drivers. The missing trio was cussed, discussed, and re-cussed all over again. As the minutes dragged on, the cussing was lashed upon all of their ancestors­all the way back to Adam and Eve. When history was exhausted, their future generations were cussed­all the way forward to the battle of Armageddon. If there was any prophecy to the verbal drubbing, the fruits of their loins will be spear-fodder on the front lines of the future battle. All while suffering from small pox, leprosy, diphtheria, diaper rash, and the heartbreak of psoriasis in the process.

Eventually, it was decided that we had to back-track to see where in the wild blue yonder these guys might be. We met them at stream crossing # 112. When the guide inquired whether we needed to paint a line around them to see if they were moving, they grew edgy. They seemed to feel that the excuse for their lethargic progress was valid. In particular, Dave grew snippy about the old lady driver comments hurled in his direction.

The short story is that these guys carry dog-like instincts in their genes. Said bad genetics force them to chase any wild animal larger than a shoebox. The back-to-back bear chasing incidents might serve to demonstrate this phenomenon. The reason for the hold up, in this case, was that a mangy, skuzzy old coati mundi had crossed the road in front of them. They were powerless to do anything but lock up the brakes and give chase. They ran over hill and Dale to get a photo of the beast. Whoever Dale was, he was doubtlessly displeased about being trampled by them. Perhaps that will teach him to stay out of the way of geeks on a chasing rampage.

The group was curtly reminded that this was a snake hunting adventure, and it was time to either defecate or get off the toilet. This time, Great White led the charge to the parking spot, while under the watchful eye of those in Little White. There were no further incidents involving furry vermin for the remainder of the trip.

Once both vehicles were parked side-by-side, one member of our party insisted that his snake hook was in the back of Little White. The careful packing job in the bed of the truck was hastily ripped from its moorings, and scattered across the countryside. Nope, his snake hook wasn’t there. Great White then received the same attention, and the hook was produced.    
 
25 C and counting……….

The surly guide sent them off, happy to be rid of the lot of them. Once the trucks were repacked, and his journal updated, off he went for a most adventurous urination. He chose a hefty catclaw tree to perform the deed. While in mid-stream, so to speak, a gorgeous adult alligator lizard rounded the trunk of the tree, and gave pause long enough for a deft left-handed swipe from the urinator.  While the grab was successful, more attention should have been devoted to everything else that was happening. Fortunately, the guide’s camouflaged shorts hide such mishaps effectively, and clothing dries quickly in the arid climes of Arizona. As the lizard was captured within spitting distance of the trucks, it was bagged and left in the shade for the others to admire, fondle and photograph upon our return. 

In no time flat, the guide passed the group’s tail gunner, Ralph. Once back on track, the guide began systematically weaving a herpetological tapestry around the near-vertical walls of the canyon. Once he was at the highest point of his ascent, the hollering started.

“Blah-blah, blah-blah!” Hollered one voice. “Blah-blah, blah-blah” hollered another. “ALL RIGHT! BLAH-BLAH” chimed a third. “DO YOU GUYS HAVE SOMETHING?” Hollered the guide. And then, the canyon reverberated with a confusing cacophony of thunderous “Blah-blahs” emanating from the gullets of multiple windpipes. The bellowing all merged into a melee of thundering echoes. Birds fell from the sky, blood flowing from their punctured eardrums. Stampedes of terrified elephants in far away India trampled hapless villagers not quick-witted enough to get out of their way. Way off in the Dark Continent, Tarzan heard our cries, and sounded his yodeling alarm. Apes of all manner surged to the rescue. Crocodiles and hippopotamuses plunged into rivers and water holes. Zebras, wildebeest, hyenas and antelope got all sorts of confused, frantically collided with each other, and suffered severe concussions. Every volcano on the Pacific Rim fired off a volley of smoke rings, an earthquake dropped California into the ocean, and the subsequent Tsunami engulfed Hawaii and Japan. 

Yep! One of the Big Windy Six had just scored The Black Velvet, and any perturbations caused by the reaction to this event were but minor trivialities.

The time is probably long past due where we let the images tell the rest of the story. Captions are above each photo. I'm trembling as I hit send, as this is the first time I've tried doing things right!

Pic 01 (Barten): Canyon Treefrog. My notes indicate that we saw five of these, but there were probably more than that. Always a delight to see, I hardly ever see them any more. This could be due to the fact that I don’t hang out around riparian areas much, but I hear from those who do that, like everything else, their numbers are down.

 []


Pic 02 (Barten): Tree Lizard. The official count for these prolific lizards was 297. But as only three people were actually counting them, there were likely as many as 500 crossing our path.

[]


Pic 03 (Barten): The coati that bogged down the early goings of this day.

[]

Pic 04 (Barten): Ain't it cute? Can we herp now?

[]


Pic 05 (Barten): My only contribution to this glorious turkey shoot of a day. One member of our party suggested that the infusion of red on the flanks of this alligator lizard indicates that it is gravid--much like leopard or collared lizard females show red when gravid. I would LOVE to hear any opinions on this, as I know next to nothing about them.


[]
   
Pic 06 (Repp): The first Black Velvet of the day, found by Steve. I'm venturing a guest that this is a female, possibly pregnant. If either diagnosis is incorrect, I'd be happy to hear from the pros. I'm an atrox guy--give me a break! 27 degrees C, by the way.

[]

Pic 07 (Repp): This would be Waldo. A neonate Arizona black rattlesnake. Note the food bolus--likely a tree lizard. Another Steve find--one of the better jobs of spotting a cryptic snake that I've seen. We left this snake completely undisturbed, I'm clueless as to the sex.

[]

Pic 08 (Barten): Up close with Waldo. 27 degrees C

[] 

Pic 09 (Barten): Gery's turn to score! Once again, I'm only guessing at sex, but calling this one a male. 28 C

[]

Pic 10 (Barten): Steve's turn again. I blew right by this one. Thank good news that SOMEBODY was alert. I gave this one a poke to see the rattles, and..........
[]

Pic 11 (Barten): Basal plus 1 plus button. Uncertain of the sex of this animal, guessing it is coming around to its third birthday. 28 C

[]

Pic 12 (Barten): The fifth and final cerberus of the day, found by Gery. Sex unknown, left undistrubed. 28 C

[]

Pic 13 (Barten): The last find of the day came from the eyes of Ralph. Another alligator lizard. Almost as cool as a coati!

[]

Pic 14 (Repp): A happy Steve Barten with Waldo. The joy on Steve's face is genuine. This is a great image to close with. For herpers, there are few things that can compare to a great day in the field, with great friends in a great place. What made it extra special was the fact that we thought we had been burned by the weather. This last day came through for us in a big way, and made it all worth the while. I look forward to the next one guys!

[] 

Friday, June 24, 2011

Trinidad's Snail-eating Snake

The Snail-eating Snake, Dipsas trinitatis. This specimen was found
crossing the Arima Valley Road.
H. W. Parker described Dipsas trinitatis from a single specimen collected in Trinity Hill Reserve, Trinidad in 1926 and recognized its close relationship to the Venezuelan D. variegata. He distinguished the two species on the basis of presence or absence of a preocular, the number of upper labials, and differences in color pattern. In 1960 James Peters recognized trinitatis as a subspecies of D. variegata based solely on color. Cadle et al. (2003) showed the two forms are similar in scale counts and color pattern and note that D. v. trinitatis has a smaller head in relation to the body and fewer maxillary teeth than does D. v. variegata, but considered the Trinidad population a subspecies of D. variegata. Dipsas trinitatis was removed from the synonymy of Dipsas variegata by Harvey and Embret (2008) on the basis of distinctive morphology and its allopatric distribution. D. trinitatis can be distinguished from D. variegata by fewer (7-9) maxillary teeth, the lack of sublabials (scales between the labials and chin shields), and the lower labials contact the third pair of chin shields on one or both sides of all specimens. Specimens with two pairs of chin shields the lower labials contact the fused single scale where the third pair would be. Emsley (1977) suggested that its apparent rarity was due to its crepuscular activity and cryptic habits. I observed this snake relatively frequently in the Arima Valley and occasionally at other locations on the island in the 1980’s, but failed to find it during several  trips made ten years later. On my current trip a specimen of the snake was encountered during a heavy rain storm, about 0100 hours in the Arima Valley (photo). Friends report that they see this snake in low bushes in the early evening, probably hunting snails.

Monday, June 20, 2011

Aripo Savanna & its Herpetofauna

Trinidad’s Aripo Savanna complex of tropical grasslands, palm islands, marsh forest and moriche palms with numerous slow moving streams, ponds, and puddles. On June 18-19 the Herp Group from the Trinidad and Tobago field Naturalists Club surveyed the herpetofauna. The weather cooperated to a degree with occasional showers and thunderstorms and blistering heat, which creates a very nice sauna-like effect. The TTFNC-HC will summarize the results elsewhere, but here are a few of the highlights.
Rare creatures are sometimes sited on the savanna. Here is Graham White looking 
for them while well camoflaged.

Aripo Savnna 1. The largest remaining remanant of the savanna.

Stevland Charles and Edmund Charles inspect Marsh Forest Vegetation
A Marsh Forest Pond
An Aripo Savanna Sundew.
Leptodactylus fuscus, the most commonly seen and heard amphibian on the Savanna,
The Scorpion Mud Turtle, Kinosternon scorpioides, a savanna and marsh
 forest inhabitat.
The Trinidad Wood Turtle, or Galup, Rhinoclemmys punctularia, another Marsh
Forest - Savanna chelonian.

Predator & prey. The Horse Whip Snake, Oxybelis aeneus and 
 its prey, the Streaked Lizard, Gonatodes vittatus.
A male Hypsiboans punctata (Hylidae) that was calling from this leaf.
The poorly known microhylid frog, Elachistocleis surinamensis
 is quite common  in the Marsh Forest and at the forest edge.


One of the day groups, with Mike Rutherford examining a turtle (middle).

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Looking For Squamates in the Bocas

Between working in the UWITT Museum and running around Trinidad to find supplies we do occasionally get into the field for some serious collecting and fun. On Tuesday, Stevland Charles, Mike Rutherford, and Josh Traub, and I visited two of the Bocas Islands – Gaspar Grande and Monos  - the major goal was to find more coral snakes from each of the islands. However, snakes are notoriously difficult to find no matter how much ground cover you turn. Keeping that in mind we hoped to at least add some footnotes to the islands’ herpetology, and collect some specimens that could supply tissue for molecular studies. Mike was also interested in adding land snails to the UWITT collection. The Bocas Islands (Bocas del Dragon) lie between Trinidad and Venezuela, in the  “Dragons' Mouth”.
Our first stop was Gaspar Grande, a small island composed mostly of limestone. After exiting the boat and a short hike we were at the opening of a sinkhole that descended into a cave; local people had used this as a dump. Using a rope all of us were soon exploring the sink and collecting land snails for Mike and Gonatodes for Stevland. 
Mike and Josh looking for snails in the sinkhole on Gaspar Grande.
Leaf-nosed bats would occasionally brush us. Out of the hole and walking up the trail Gymnopthalmus and Ameiva were quickly getting out of our way. At the top of the  hill were  several relicts of World War II, anti-aircraft gun emplacements, now covered with graffiti and inhabited by some of the island’s lizards. Despite several hours of looking we collected only Gymnopthalmus, a Gonatodes vittatus, and some snails.
We met the boatman at noon and headed for Monos, just a few minutes away.
Stevland directing the boatman to the landing site.
 Landing on Monos, was a bit tricky, the boatman let us off on a crumbling concrete wall several hundred feet from shore. The required us to scramble over slippery, broken concrete to reach shore. As we approached the beach the volume of plastic litter and other man-made junk was alarming. Stevland had been to this location before, and we walked through the coastal palms in to a more seasonal dry forest to a house. As if he knew where to look - an outhouse- Stevland produced a Hemidactylus palichthus within a minute of arrival. This gecko's presence in the Western Hemisphere is a biogeographical puzzle, all of its close living relatives are in Africa, and it is the only Western Hemisphere Hemidactylus that is endemic. All other Western Hemisphere Hemidactylus are  introduced.  
The gecko, Hemidactylus palichthius.


We walked along a stream bed only to encounter a large bamboo die-off that made following the gully exceptionally difficult. As we got deeper into the forest Plica plica became more obvious and abundant, these arboreal and scansorial tropidurid lizards are quite social and on some of the larger tree trunks 3 or 4 individuals were obvious. 


Josh  with a Plica plica on the tree buttress.


Monos has a large amount of human made garbage washing up on its beaches.


Snakes eluded us until we got out of the gully onto the hillside, within a few minutes a Mastigodryas was spotted, but despite being in contact with the hands of two of us it escaped. As we headed back to the beach Mike spotted a Boa constrictor laid out along a broken palm frond. It was a male, about 1.3 m long and had two blood swollen ticks attached to its head. 

Boa constrictor with ticks.




Boa constrictor after tick removal.
After removing the ticks, and a photo session, we were out of water and it was time to met the boatman for the return trip to Trinidad. Despite the fact that we did not find any Bocas coral snakes, the day was not a total loss.

Roger Repp's Suzio Report, May

1 and 2 May, 2011

Howdy Herpers,

We first discuss 30 April. When the guide set this trip up, it was burned in his brain that it was to be all about Arizona Black Rattlesnakes. I did NOT bring this group together to go after Mountain Kingsnakes (AKA
"pyros") in late April. One would have an easier time catching a fart and painting it green than finding a pyro during one of the direst springs on record. Be that as it may, a mutiny in the ranks ensued, and off we went on
an ill conceived and very poorly executed adventure to find pyros. We were rewarded for this effort by finding a few tree lizards and a flock of wild turkeys. The latter was greater in size than the party who witnessed them, and smarter as well.

Lift lid, deposit day, flush toilet. Thus endeth the pyro report. Let  be said, let it be done  with, amen.

And thus it came to pass that the best-planned part of the journey began. We had rented a guest house in a place that is about as far away from beer and other lesser essentials that one can get. Hence, a shopping trip
was in order, a list was created, and a Walmart was assailed. And then we were slugging our way eastward, to a place where birdies sing, bears frolic, and the ground can be littered with our quarry--which thankfully was NOT pyros.

The last possible gas stop to our destination was in the town of Willcox.Upon stepping out of our vehicles, gusting winds laced with arctic undertones caused erect nippleage upon our chests. My countenance fell right off  my visage, and was subsequently ground into the pavement--where it remains embedded to this day. In short, the weather was going to screw us for the last three days of this adventure. The forecast was a portent of doom: windy, cold, and not a chance in heaven or hell for us to score. An arctic blast in May? Who'd have thunk it?

We had no choice but to continue on. If nothing else, we were heading for one of the most scenically fantastic places in Arizona. That, along with  food fit for kings, comfortable lodging, and plenty of beer (or so we thought) would have to be enough for the likes of us. The long road in was supposed to produce hognose snakes, Gila Monsters, and box turtles as consolation prizes. It of course produced nothing. NOTHING would be out cruising in this type of weather.

But we did get a big lift upon arriving at the guest house. It was a thing of beauty, and we will let the pictures show the rest in that regard. Once we were all settled in, we decided upon a rocket run to our herping spot to kick around a bit. And so, Little White carried Gery, Mike and I to our destination. Upon arriving there, we amused ourselves by watching a pair of tree lizards in courtship. Eventually, they fell off their tree and died of old age. This while we awaited the arrival of Great White--which was supposed to be following right behind us.

Two forevers later, Great White did arrive. Dave, Ralph and Steve had encountered a bear enroute, and decided that chasing that bear around was going to be more fun than herping. They were correct with
that assumption, because our first attempt to herp the canyon was a bust. If we were seeking tree lizards, we would have been happy, for we saw over 100 of them. Apparently their activities are not affected by gale force frigid blasts in May.

There was little left to do but go back to the guest house, cook an absolute knock out feast, and drink a few beers. That night, three of us slept in the screened-in porch that the guest house afforded. We awoke to a 4 degree C (39 F) morning. As if the cold wasn't enough of a bad news scenario, one of those frolicking bears must have let itself into the house, and helped itself to our beer cooler. We started the morning before with five 12-packs--60 brave soldiers carrying their own bodily fluids. This the morning of 2 May, there were only eight soldiers left. All this drought must have left those poor local bears in a thirsty state.

Upon discovering that these crafty bears had drank most of our beer, a few members of our party came to the erroneous and haughty decision that we didn't need any more beer. We would just tighten our belts and do the next two days without. But the guide foresaw that a trip to Safford would be transpiring that afternoon. After all, that is what guides are for.

I think we're now to the point where we can let the images do the talking. Al pictures except the last come from Steve Barten.

Pic 01: Little White leading the charge into the maw of black velvet land.

Pic 02: The guesthouse, with Great White and Little White in the foreground

Pic 03: The view outside the guest house.

Pic 04: The track of the bear that Steve, Ralph and Dave chased around. They probably pissed him off, and he was probably the one who drank all our beer.

Pic 05: Herping in the canyon.

Pic 06: At the last possible second in the day, Steve saved the day by finding this cerberus as photographed in situ. Hallelujah!

Pic 07: A posed photo of the snake in pic 06.

Between pics 07 and the remaining two, Mike and I headed to Safford  for a beer run. It was a delightful drive, but completely devoid of herps. Meanwhile, the other four continued their efforts, and

Pic 08: Black-necked Gartersnake found by Dave

Pic 09: S-h-h-h-h guys. A Western Lyresnake found by Steve.

We now had just one more day left. It might have been good, and it might have been bad.

So who did come out of that door--the lady, or the tiger?

We'll let you know that later this week.

Best to all, roger

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Roger Repp's Suizo Report - 29 April

Howdy Herpers,

From 29 April through 3 May, it was my privilege to herp with a gang of five friends who are like brothers to me. I first met these guys at various time intervals through my connections with the Chicago Herpetological Society. I have been a member of the CHS, off and on, since 1967. While I was interested in herps for nine years previous to 1967, it was the CHS that really lit my fuse when it comes to herpetology.

For that, we should either thank them , or spank them--depending on one's perspective of having the likes of me within the beloved confines of your ranks.By way of explanation, the ranks we occupy would be the few, the proud, the geeks. (Also known as the ranks of the truly rank.)
The plan to get some of these CHS homeboys together in Arizona for a herp-a-thon was conceived in October of 2010. The first iteration of the plan had only three of them coming, but we realized that we would drop two other CHS stalwarts like soiled toilet paper if we didn't invite them. They accepted, and we broke into a rousing chorus of "Tick-tock, the game is locked, and nobody else can play."
Thus it came to pass that on 29 April, a big bird dumped Ralph Shepstone, Gery Herrmann, Steve Barten, and Mike Dloogatch onto the tarmac of Tucson International Airport. There to greet them was Dave Barker, who had generously offered his vehicle as our second chariot for the trip, as well as your typing boy here.
There next ensued the usual flandickery associated with arriving guests: a Motel check in, a visit to the local pub, a Walmart, a Subway Sandwich Shop, and a quickie herp trip. The latter was performed at the holiest of holy places--the Suizo Mountains.

The adventure began with us lounging in camp chairs while consuming tasty beverages. We then did a round of "tortoise checks" on Iron Mine Hill. Both tortoises under watch were still home. Gery drew first blood by finding a small regal horned lizard, and Steve "recaptured" atrox # 130--a  male that we marked back on 19 March.



Much to our chagrin, the theme of Gery and Steve finding all the cool stuff was to be recurrent throughout the remainder of the visit.
After dark, we pointlessly blundered about with flashlights for over  two hours without finding a darn thing. We then decided to fire up the receiver, and cheat a bit to see what the wired snakes were doing. And what we found is this: they weren't doing much. They were hiding quite well, which might explain why six experienced herpers weren't doing much either.

The pictures will highlight the rest.

















Pic01, by Ralph: Out of sequence. This is something that I don't  normally do, but since everybody looks ok in this pic, I'm happy to share. Top row, left to right:  Gery, Steve, Dave, Mike. Bottom row, left to right: me, Ralph.


















Pic02, by Steve: The Regal Horned Lizard that Gery found. It was not only the first solare of the year on our plot for me, but the first of the year period. This is fairly late in the game for a first encounter.














Pic03, by Steve: "Great White" (Dave's Toyota Tundra) and "Little White" (my Toyota Tacoma) as viewed in our parking spot from Iron Mine Hill.








Pic04, by Dave: Nice touch with the camera Dave!

Pic05, by Steve: Tiger rattlesnake # 8, "Zona." This is by far the best look we've had of her all year. The tigers aren't doing much, but this one appears to be quite pregnant.



Pic06, by me: Atrox # 121, "Tracy." While she is quite obvious in the photo, she was very difficult to see--even with the aid of radio telemetry. As Dave Hardy once said "what you learn from telemetry is that we only see the obvious snakes."


While Gery and Steve were later to prove that is not always accurate, we certainly would have NEVER seen Tracy without cheating.

We'll leave it at that--for now. Next week, I'll send one that will blow the doors off this one. We speak of the Big Windy Black Velvet Adventure.

Best to all, roger



Thursday, June 9, 2011

The Unhappy Vine Snake


The Brown Vine Snake, Oxybelis aeneus occurs from southern Arizona to Argentina and on the islands of Trinidad and Tobago. We found this snake sleeping on a leaf about 0.7 m above the ground. The black mouth lining contrasting with the white/yellow labials may be aposematic coloration.