Friday, September 22, 2006

All Your Snakes are Belong to Us

Somewhere near the middle of this funny Snakes on a Plane spoof video, you'll see my picture of a Lampropeltis pyromelana on a toy plane that I submitted to Defamer last year.

Sunday, September 17, 2006

High Altitude Garter

Today I observed a terrestrial garter snake (Thamnophis elegans) at 10,400 feet on the top of Cerro Rubio in the Valles Calderas National Preserve near Los Alamos. Unfortunately, I didn't have my camera. I know the temperatures were well below freezing up there last night and are going to get even colder tonight. Also known as wandering garter snakes, this little baby was wandering to an extent where very few snakes dare to go.

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

Rabbit-Proofed Rattlesnake

09/05/2006 @ 6:03:16 PM MDT
Tom Wyant of the Wildlife Center snake rescue program had me go out to the Santa Fe Animal Shelter to meet with an animal control officer who had a small prairie rattlesnake (Crotalus viridis) she retrieved from some rabbit-proof nylon netting around somebody's garden. They had cut most of the netting away, but there was still some stuck in its mouth and around its head that she wasn't prepared to deal with. You can see where the netting has damaged the snake's skin just to the left of its rattle's shadow. C.J. Carmen, another leader of the snake program, thinks those marks will be gone after a few good sheddings.

09/05/2006 @ 6:04:42 PM MDT
I used a pair of hair scissors and some tweezers to remove the rest of the netting. Tomorrow I'll release the snake in the same general area it was found, but hopefully far enough away from any more rabbit-proof netting.

09/05/2006 @ 6:09:32 PM MDT
"Get me out of here!"

Monday, September 04, 2006

R.I.P. Steve Irwin

04/30/2006 @ 09:58:35 AM MDT
I was into snakes long before the day I first watched the Crocodile Hunter, but I was enchanted and encouraged by Steve Irwin's seemingly crazy antics with reptiles. I learned to tail venomous snakes watching Steve on TV, and my enthusiasm for herpetology was reawakened after watching his show.

I went to work as Steve for Halloween in 1997, wearing the same khaki shorts and shirt with "Irwin" printed across top of one pocket, my African egg-eating snake in the other pocket and my 4-foot Columbian red-tail boa looped around my neck. (The egg-eating snake crapped while it was in that pocket. It ran all the way down the front of the shirt.)

Steve engaged in very risky behavior, and even though he probably knew what he was doing more than just about anyone else in the world, it's not surprising that he died doing what he loved. Today is very sad one in the herpetological world. May Steve find even bigger and more poisonous snakes to play with where he is now.