The title of this blog, Living Alongside Wildlife, is a reference to a land ethic suggesting human and wildlife populations can coexist if we respect our natural resources. Our goals should include living alongside wildlife in perpetuity, rather than unsustainable exploitation, wanton killing and irreversible destruction of their habitats. For more about conservation and land ethics, check out the work of Aldo Leopold, particularly A Sand County Almanac. These essays were a great influence in formulating my own stances on various environmental issues.
When I created this blog I had two primary goals. The first of which was to encourage an appreciation for wildlife that tend to have a bad reputation, primarily amphibians and reptiles. The second goal was to make my research accessible to a general audience. Over time, a third goal manifested itself. Many are generally unfamiliar with the natural history of reptiles; as a result there are a plethora of e-mail forwards containing outlandish stories and photos of these animals. All too often, these e-mails are circulated and accepted as fact. For animals that are already maligned, scary and fabricated stories only serve to perpetuate the myth they are dangerous and malevolent. Perhaps this is no more true than in the case of the giant dead rattlesnakes, wherein a dead rattlesnake is shoved towards the camera and a bogus story is made up about how various townsfolk were saved in the nick of time by the marauding monster. I use this blog to discuss these e-mail forwards, which I\'m often able to debunk based solely on the biology of the organism in question.
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Over the past week a number of folks have sent me this article from the Henry County Report about a "possible python" outside of Fort Gaines, Georgia on Kolomoki Creek. Here's the picture.
This is clearly not a snake at all but a piece of hose or a section of tubing. Some of our big native snakes (like Ratsnakes) are often confused for boa constrictors or pythons, so from the
Please look at the attached picture of a snake in central illinois near peoria. Is it a northern water snake or is it water moccasin or other? Im worried becasue it is small pond right behind my house where the kids play and fish. Also I dont want to kill this snake unless i need to.
Matthew M.Central Illinois
This weekend while gathering large rocks, I found two
I'm in Virginia, Loudon County, a bit north and west of the capitol. This is in a small run near a wooded acreage, very close to homes actually. I'm from Chicago so snakes are waaay out of my element.
Found this beautiful creature this AM, swims well. can you advise what type of snake and fish this is?
Thanks for any help,
Loudon County, Virginia
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Burbrink, F. T. & Guiher, T. J. (2015). Considering gene flow when using coalescent methods to delimit lineages of North American pitvipers of the genus Agkistrodon, Zoological Journal of the Linnean Society, 173 (2) 505-526.
I see a lot of news articles that incite fear and panic about amphibians and reptiles, but this one might take the cake. This article, which warns pet-owners of a giant toad that will kill dogs, came to my attention because of an e-mail Theresa Stratmann sent to me. The story was getting a lot of attention and she was concerned that even though it is really only about one specific species of