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(photo by Gary Nafis of Californiaherps.com)
This is my newly decided upon study species for my masters program!
The Panamint alligator lizard (Elgaria panamintina) is a species much neglected by science… with less than 10 total publications (approximately 5-6) with all over 15 years old and most being incidental observations about the species (most of the papers are from the 50s/60s shortly after the species was discovered, and extremely difficult to get access to). Yet, this species is a state species of special concern and is considered sensitive by the federal agencies who have this lizard on their land. No one knows what the status is of this species, its abundance… or really anything about it. Just about everything I find will be new to science.
I had been planning on working with rattlesnakes… but there aren’t really any management questions about them that haven’t been addressed, and I wanted to do useful research which would directly benefit the species in question by helping land managers work to protect them… thus I switched gears to this awesome animal. Plus there’s someone in the lab working with Crotalus… so I’ll probably tag along and still get to help with some rattler work.
I’ll also be working with my local alligator lizards to test techniques and theories… (and get research on them… not much is out there about them either) so expect a whole lot of alligator lizard pictures to pop up on here soon!
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I realize I haven’t been that active lately (boo), but with the herping field season coming up I’ll be sharing a lot more and posting more pictures/reblogs/etc.
Also, I must admit I’ve been quite distracted as of late… I’ve started gardening to feed my lizards (and me, but mostly them) and I’m finalizing my time here at UC Davis and preparing for grad school.
I’ve started a new tumblr so I can track my gardening adventures:
You should follow it too, because its all about me being crazy trying to grow most of my own food, most of my animal’s food (other than the snakes and dog) while being as eco-conscious as possible. I have no experience with gardening so it’ll be quite the adventure.
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The first wild rattlesnake I ever encountered- on a field trip with my herpetology class several years ago. Completely changed my perspective on the world and sent me into the field of herpetology.
Speckled Rattlesnake ( C. mitchellii)
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2004, in Kuwait, photo by: Jeffery Davis
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Have you seen this snake? (South Florida rainbow snake (Farancia erytrogramma seminola))
If so there’s a $500 reward and herpetological fame in store for you.
“Many herpetologists think the snake is still out there, waiting to be rediscovered.
It might not be an easy task, says Cameron Young, founder and executive director of the Center for Snake Conservation. “Rainbow snakes are fully aquatic and active mostly at night,” he adds. “They’re not something people would just come across. You need to go out of your way to find them or just be extremely lucky.”
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In a remote forest fragment in Tanzania, scientists have made a remarkable discovery: a uniquely-colored horned viper extending over two feet long (643 millimeters) that evolved from its closest relative over two million years ago. Unfortunately, however, the new species—named Matilda’s horned viper (Atheris matildae)—survives in a small degraded habitat and is believed to be Critically Endangered. Given its scarcity, its discoverers are working to preempt an insidious threat to the new species.
Totally not sure what my opinion on this is… it seems kind of mean, but at the same time amusing enough that I want to try it out with my lizards to see what the reaction is among species (supplementing with real treats in between rounds). Although I don’t think its ideal to have lizard saliva all over your expensive electronic gadgets.
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Animal Planet’s “Fatal Attractions” show tonight is highlighting the death of Dr. Joe Slowinski- the curator of herpetology at the California Academy of Sciences who died as a result of a Krait bite while on an expedition.
I highly recommend this book- its well written and is eerie to me as this man reminds me scarily of myself:
we’re both extremely passionate about venomous reptiles and herpetology in the context of natural history museums and collecting expeditions as well as numerous other similarities that I can’t quite recall.
The primary difference between us? I don’t drink alcohol… so by default I’m automatically much less likely of being bitten by a hot snake. I also don’t pin snakes to grab them, but I have made bad grabs for non-hot snakes before, and he died as a result of mistaken snake ID (thinking it was a non-venomous mimic species)… and since I want to work in areas with less well known species where a mistake could easily happen.
I do not highly recommend the animal planet episode, even if it didn’t portray him in that horrible of a light.
Why do I not recommend it? Its portraying this amazing scientist (who was unfortunately reckless and made a critical error) in the same light as the idiots who think chimps are their “children” and tigers make good house pets. And he was paired in the same episode as a stupid person who has a bunch of venomous snakes just because and likes being bitten. You know because hunting snakes in the name of science is totally the same thing as crazy people who like being bitten by venomous snakes.
If by nasty you mean incredibly awesome and adorable then yes you’d be correct. Granted this picture is less adorable than most but shows the tongue quite well.
(Blue tongue skink… named for obvious reasons)
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