Black-capped Chickadee(Poecile articapillus).
These charismatic little tweeters are always a welcome visitor in the forest. Often I will be walking along in a seemingly empty wintery forest wasteland just to have a banditry of curious Chickadees start flitting around bringing the quiet forest to life.
Northern Red Salamander(Psuedotriton ruber ruber).
This is my second favourite salamander that I've ever seen(first being Hellbenders), and by far the prettiest. Cruising this guy amongst the red leaves of Pennsylvania's fall was not exactly easy. After having a car tailgating us when we thought we saw one and coming across a DOR, @ryanmwolfe miraculously spotted this beauty amongst some scattered leaves on the road. PS I love his little mustache.
Blandings Turtle(Emydoidea blandingii).
These turtles are listed as a Threatened species in Ontario, their main threats are road mortality and habitat loss. As much as I can't wait to help these guys cross the road again I wish I never had to come across it hurts to know I can't be their to help all of them cross. And with each mature adult killed, 20+ years of progress are lost and the chances of one of their offspring surviving that long are slim to none. #saveturtles ❤🐢
Eastern Diamondback(Crotalus adamanteus). These are the largest rattlesnake species, able reach lengths over 7ft, though most specimens only reach between 3.5 and 5.5ft.
This snake was found on my first trip to Florida in 2015, I haven't seen one since. Hoping to change that on my upcoming trip. Less than a week to go now!
False Fer De Lance(Xenodon rabdocephalis). This species exhibits Batesian mimicry(mimicking a noxious species) with the true Fer-De-Lance/Terciopelo(Bothrops asper). Interestingly they do produce a venom themselves, not potent enough to kill a human but certainly enough to cause them some pain or much more commonly to subdue the frogs and toads that they call food.
Timber Rattlesnake(Crotalus horridus).
This year I had the pleasure of seeing these beautiful animals in two states, Illinois and Pennsylvania. While it is amazing to see them thriving across the US it really hurts to think that once upon a time, Timber Rattlesnakes also lived here in Ontario. Humans, doing what they do best, went to hibernation sites and wiped them out. Population after population. Until one day in the early 1940s, Timber Rattlesnakes became extirpated(locally extinct) in Ontario.
Introducing the Hellbender(Cryptobranhcus alleganiensis). These extremely odd and cryptic animals rank as the third largest salamanders in the world, the largest in Western Hemisphere. They are fully aquatic, spending most of their lives under rocks in rivers that suite their very specific requirements. Their diet consists mainly of crayfish and small fish, but they have been know to occasionally be cannibalistic with the eggs of their species. The specific habitat they require needs to be protected in order to sure the survival of this amazing species.
Dwarf Glass Frog(Teratohyla spinosa). These are the smallest glass frogs in Central America with males reaching 20mm and females 23mm. It is said to be one of the more easily observed Centrolenids(Glass Frogs) in Costa Rica since it tends to perch atop leaves in low vegetation, which is exactly where I found the 2 I observed during my stay in Costa Rica.
Eastern Foxsnake(Pantherophis gloydi). 70% of the entire Eastern Foxsnake population exists within Ontario and even here they are an endangered species. Without the protection of their homes, habitat loss and road mortality will surely be the end of this beautiful species.
Spring Salamander(Gyrinophilus porphyriticus).
As their name suggests these salamanders occur in brooks, seeps and springs where they are near the top of the foodchain and eat everything from worms and crustaceans to other salamanders, including their own species. I have been lucky enough to witness them predating upon salamanders twice, once with Plethodon cinereus and once with Desmognathus ochrophaeus. Within Ontario the spring salamander is considered Extirpated, is only known from one population and has not been observed since 1877.
Terciopelo(Bothrops asper) aka the Fer De Lance. This juvenile was likely just born this year. These snakes are ovoviviparous(try saying that ten times fast) meaning they produce eggs but the eggs hatch within their bodies and the young are born live. A female Terciopelo can give birth to up to 86 of these little "danger noodles"(I hate myself for saying that)
Strawberry Poison Frog(Oophaga pumilio). These small dendrobatids(dart frogs) are a very common site in the understory of the Costa Rican rainforest. Their genus Oophaga translates to egg-eater, this is because the mother who after depositing her tadpoles in a bromeliad will nurture them by feeding them infertile eggs.
Red-webbed Treefrog(Hypsiboas rufitelus) was easily my favourite frog I found whilst in Costa Rica. These guys are absolutely stunning. Anyone want to guess why it's commonly called the Red-webbed Treefrog?
Me helping process a False Fer De Lance(Xenodon rabdocephalis) I found while doing a survey in Costa Rica. I've got tonnes of camera photos to come but I've been too busy to do any post-processing. These snakes are rear-fanged venomous and apparently a bite can cause some immense pain for a few hours but nothing too serious. 📸 #puravida#fieldherping
Here's a throwback to the largest Smooth Greensnake(Opheodrys vernalis) I've ever seen. I found it with @joshua.v.feltham while doing a survey for species at risk. This was one of my favourite herping moments of 2016, we observed 4 Smooth Greens within a radius of less than 10 meters and in a matter of less than 20 minutes. A software was used to measure the length of the individual post survey. This monster was 548mm (21.6") total length and 421mm(16.6") snout to vent. These snakes hibernate communally which is why we found so many close together, we likely found their hibernaculum.