Monday, July 03, 2006

Treasures of the Gila River

05/20/2005 @ 09:28:12 AM MDT
In May 2005 I took my younger brother up the west fork of the Gila River into the Gila Wilderness. Right away we came upon this decent-sized gopher snake (Pituophis melanoleucus).

05/20/2005 @ 09:59:49 AM MDT
Next up was this Gila spotted whiptail (Cnemidophorus flagellicaudus). It looked to be close to 9 inches long including the tail, and it was definitely a female. This species has done away with males altogether and reproduces parthenogenically.

05/20/2005 @ 11:13:00 AM MDT
The river is infested with bullfrogs (Rana catesbeiana). Not good news for the native species.

05/20/2005 @ 01:44:59 PM MDT
We were sitting on a rock bar in the middle of the river eating lunch when this monster gopher snake pulled up right next to us.

05/20/2005 @ 03:48:04 PM MDT
Huge bullfrog tadpoles in a side pool off the river.

05/20/2005 @ 06:02:59 PM MDT
You are looking at the culmination of my life as a herper. Ever since I saw a picture in my first field guide when I was 8-years-old, I've wanted to find a mountain kingsnake. This particular beauty is a Sonoran mountain kingsnake (Lampropeltis pyromelana). For me this is the holy grail of North American reptiles. I found the snake just like this, right next to the trail and bright as can be. I was over the moon and practically in tears. They really don't get much more beautiful than this. Definitely the highlight of my herping career.

05/20/2005 @ 06:03:14 PM MDT

05/21/2005 @ 11:51:35 AM MDT
This large crevice spiny lizard (Sceloporus poinsetti) let me get pretty darn close, but not close enough to catch.

05/21/2005 @ 01:09:28 PM MDT
A blackneck garter snake (Thamnophis cyrtopsis). They are associated with water like the terrestrial garter snake.

05/22/2005 @ 10:54:45 AM MDT
Another blackneck garter snake fresh from a feeding.


At 10:30 AM, Blogger Mo and The Purries said...

Very cool site.
Congrats on being on Blogger's Blog Of Note!
Okay -- the kingsnake, your holy grail of herps -- is this the one from the rhyme? Red on yellow... or is it red on black...
is he a friendly fellow?

At 11:55 AM, Blogger Coccygodynian said...

Lol... I so identified with your reaction to seeing the kingsnake. I felt the same when I got my Holy Grail of vintage American teapots! But having had a gorgeous green iguana at one time, I also appreciate a beautifully colored reptile. What a beauty!

At 2:55 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said... name is staca. i'm from germany. your blog is absolut great. i like it to look your pics of the animals. i can't see them here in germany cause they are rare. we can't see them in nature here. but i think you know!
follow your blog - it's cool!

At 3:16 PM, Blogger Della said...

Your love and respect for reptiles is wonderful, though I think I would panic were I near them I always like it them. Congratulations for great photos!

At 4:19 PM, Blogger guruphiliac said...

is this the one from the rhyme?

It's the mimic of the one from the rhyme.

Red on yellow, dangerous fellow.
Red on black is a friend of Jack.

At least, that's the one I know, although I don't know any Jacks. There are several variations of the rhyme. They refer to a coral snake, a poisonous relative of the cobra, and the kingsnake you see in the blog.

At 4:22 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

hiu im from argentina , you blog is wonderfull!!visit my blog

At 5:06 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Those are pretty sweet species. NM is infested with reptiles it seems. that giant snake you're holding.."pulled up next to us"... i am now officially naming you "the crocodile hunter of blogger"
enjoy your stay,

At 2:08 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi . I didnĀ“t can English so much i came from Austria . But i think that your blog is graet . This raptils are beautiful . I think that your Blog is better than my blog !!!=) U are a good Webmaster . i will came back in the near futur !!!

At 5:15 AM, Blogger Jordan said...

i saw a snake once... i picked it up! I waz only 8, lucky 4 me it waznt poisonis!

At 6:25 AM, Blogger MsTee2u said...

CONGRATS on the king snake find...I am a lover of reptiles although I havent gotten my nerve up to handle a snake yet. Beautiful shot of the snake giving the little girl a kiss.

At 6:31 AM, Blogger Lin $en said...

God, This Blog is sooo relaxing! Can U link ur blog to mine, mine is targetting stressed out people, so this Blog can be of relaxation.

At 7:08 AM, Blogger KELTLADY said...

Great photos!!!! Aren't those kingsnakes poisonousg??? When I was a child in the 50s, we were fortunate to have the opportunities in the summer time to go to the local parks, which we have a lot around us in western Masschusetts. And the rangers would give us classes on the wildlife and bring the snakes out and do a show and tell on them and the local wildlife.
Take care and keep on with your blog!!!!Cheers, Deb

At 7:22 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Fantastic photos!
May I ask what equipment you use?

At 7:34 AM, Blogger carmen said...

wow! great photos! did u take them yourself? i wouldn't b able to get that close to those reptiles!

At 8:41 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Nice Site -- Great pics.

At 9:25 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Great Pics, Congrats on the blog of Note!

I have been trying to find out how big a common garter snake (Thamnophis sirtalis) can get.

I have 6 under my dog kennel cement pad, the largest is over 6 feet long and the girth is about that of a large mag lite flashlight.

The first pic on my blog is oof one of them.

At 10:15 PM, Blogger Key to Happiness said...

I love animals including reptiles. My first year of teaching some boys tried to scare me on the playground with a little snake. I was delighted and held the snake much to the dissapointment of my students.

At 1:10 AM, Blogger Heather said...

Congrats on being a blog of note! As another NM Herper I was excited to see this.

At 2:12 PM, Blogger Eva said...

Awesome pictures!! I love reptiles. I wish that I lived somewhere where I could take pictures like that. Keep up the good work.

At 5:38 PM, Blogger DOOP said...

Very cool pictures, I really enjoyed them!

At 9:53 PM, Blogger guruphiliac said...

May I ask what equipment you use?

These photos were taken with a 5-megapixel Canon PowerShot G5. I'm presently using a 6-megapixel Canon PowerShot S3 IS.

At 9:55 PM, Blogger guruphiliac said...

I have been trying to find out how big a common garter snake (Thamnophis sirtalis) can get.

The largest T. sirtalis I've observed was probably not much over 4'. I went to your blog and saw the picture and can confirm it's T. sirtalis, so yours is the biggest I've seen so far.

At 9:58 PM, Blogger guruphiliac said...

I want to thank everyone for enjoying the blog and offering the kind words of encouragement.

At 6:47 AM, Blogger occam said...

I once rescued what I thought was a baby king snake from my swimming pool. I put it in a jar to show off for a day. Then I got it identified as a coral snake and quickly got it out of my house and back into the wild! Now I need to find the more common king snake!

At 8:27 AM, Blogger guruphiliac said...

Then I got it identified as a coral snake

Lucky for you that coral snakes are rather docile. Even if it did bite you, they have a difficult time delivering much of their venom.

Who did the ID? It's very easy to mistake a coral for a mountain king. Most non-herping folks assume every black, white and red banded snake is a coral snake, so if it wasn't an expert who did the ID, it could very well have been the kingsnake you thought it was.

At 8:17 AM, Blogger Macster said...

Thats a great king snake. I want to see one. I'm also a reptile enthusiast. As I type this I'm holding a gopher snake.


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