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.