Tag Archives: reptiles

Kemp’s Ridley Sea Turtle

Of the seven species of living sea turtles found around the world, the most critically-endangered is the Kemp’s ridley (Testudines: Cheloniidae: Lepidochelys kempii). Although these turtles can be found all the way from Nova Scotia down through the Gulf of Mexico, … Continue reading

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The Least-Visited National Parks in America’s Lower 48 (and why you should visit them) Part 2

Last week I presented “The Least-Visited National Parks in America’s Lower 48 (and why you should visit them).” I later realized that most people focus on the “most” or “least” of something, and that often leaves out the “next most” … Continue reading

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The Least-Visited National Parks in America’s Lower 48 (and why you should visit them) Part 1

Although the United States has over 400 locations administered by the National Park Service, there are only 59 that are official “national parks.” Of these 47 are located in the lower 48 states and are relatively accessible. Most people know … Continue reading

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2014 Countdown: 20 Favorite Wildlife Photos

In the long and proud tradition of year-end countdowns, I thought I’d mark the end of 2014 with a few of my own. This first series is “20 Favorite Wildlife Photos.” Out of all the wildlife I managed to photograph this year, … Continue reading

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Jamaican anole

The Jamaican anole (Squamata: Polychrotidae: Anolis grahami), also known as Graham’s anole, is one of seven native species of anole lizards found on the island of Jamaica. Females like the one shown here are relatively drab, sporting little more than black … Continue reading

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Black rat snake

Capable of exceeding eight feet (2.4 m) in length, black rat snakes (Squamata: Colubridae: Elaphe obsoleta obsoleta or Pantherophis obsoletus obsoleta) are one of the longest native snakes in the United States. It’s more common for adults to reach only about six feet (1.8 … Continue reading

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Canyonlands National Park

A large, maze-like wilderness of rocky mesas, cliffs, canyons, and rivers, Canyonlands National Park protects an amazing region of southeast Utah. Established in 1964, this park features breathtaking views, imposing landscapes, a fascinating range of geologic features, as well as a variety of … Continue reading

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Common side-blotched lizard

Common side-blotched lizards (Squamata: Phrynosomatidae: Uta stansburiana) can be found throughout much of the western United States and Mexico. They are abundant in arid and semi-arid regions, and are frequently encountered in rocky and sandy areas of desert shrublands and pinyon-juniper … Continue reading

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Channel Islands National Park

Within sight of the heavily-populated southern California coast is a collection of islands sometimes called “North America’s Galapagos.” Arising from nutrient-rich waters and isolated from mainland development, these islands preserve unique organisms, environments, and landscapes that exist nowhere else. Initially … Continue reading

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Colorado National Monument

Along the edge of the Uncompahgre Plateau of west-central Colorado is a haven of colossal red rock cliffs and monoliths. Scenic vistas overlook the Grand Valley of the Colorado River, providing distant views of the Book Cliffs and Grand Mesa. In … Continue reading

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Brown anole

Native to Cuba and the Bahamas, brown anoles (Squamata: Polychrotidae: Anolis sagrei) were introduced to Florida in the 1970s.  Since then they have proven to be highly invasive, quickly becoming one of the most common lizards in the state. Living close … Continue reading

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American alligator

When my wife and I visited southern Florida last April one of our priorities was to see American alligators (Crocodylia: Alligatoridae: Alligator mississippiensis) in the wild. Our first stop was along the Anhinga Trail at Everglades National Park, and here … Continue reading

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The Painted Desert

Rich with color, the Painted Desert covers a wide arc across northeast Arizona. Beginning to the east of the Grand Canyon, this beautiful landscape stretches almost to New Mexico. My favorite views of this region are found in and around … Continue reading

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Basking Cooters

While walking along the Anhinga Trail at Everglades National Park there were many cooter turtles (Pseudemys sp., Emydidae) basking on the rocks along the waterways. Some were doing so in a rather amusing fashion: In these waters there were both Florida … Continue reading

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Biscayne National Park: Convoy Point

Biscayne National Park encompasses Biscayne Bay and many islands and shores just south of Miami, Florida.  To really enjoy the park it’s necessary to book a boat and go snorkeling or scuba diving.  Unfortunately I didn’t have time in my … Continue reading

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Everglades National Park: Animal Highlights

If you’re like me, when you hear “Everglades National Park” the first thing you think of is “alligators.”  If you’re also like me, the second thing you think of is “birds.”  While there’s much more to the Everglades than these … Continue reading

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Tiny common garter snake

I often come across common garter snakes (Squamata:  Colubridae:  Thamnophis sirtalis) here in southeast Michigan.  Today I was intrigued, however, by this particularly tiny individual.  I stuck a quarter next to his head for scale, and that seemed to arouse … Continue reading

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Midland Painted Turtle

I love getting a decent photo of a vertebrate, mostly because they’re so easy to identify.  Usually I spend most of my time looking at flowering plants and insects, which comprise about 74% of all known macroscopic species.  Vertebrates, on … Continue reading

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Lessons From the Field #1: Snakes like warm rocks

Last summer my wife and I went down to southern Ohio for a few days to, among other things, poke around for fossils.  Southern Ohio has a large number of exposures of fossil-bearing sedimentary rocks spanning almost 200 million years … Continue reading

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