Backyard Herping...mammals and early herps.

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ratsnakehaven
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Backyard Herping...mammals and early herps.

Post by ratsnakehaven »

I started getting a little anxious a week, or so, ago, because I started seeing some signs of an early spring. There's been a few wildflowers, buds are out on some of the fruit trees, bees are abuzz on the African sumac trees and rosemary flowers, etc. One thing that really got me excited was seeing several ground squirrels in the neighbors yard. His yard is very open and sandy and the rodents pop in and out of their burrows in the warm afternoon. I've been seeing them every day for about a week and a half. Last night a family of six Harris hawks were in the yard chasing them around. They make great snake food too....heheh!

Last week I saw several tree lizards active in our front yard.....
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That got me thinking that other herps might be moving.

I went for a little venture into the countryside to do some flipping. At about 4,000 ft. elevation I flipped a Southwestern blackhead snake...
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It was only about 7 inches long. It also had characteristics of hobartsmithi. This is the species that was found here before too.

This activity makes me think we're going to have an early spring. I also saw a desert spiny lizard in the yard, but couldn't get pics. I'm hoping more lizards will be active in the coming weeks.

One problem we're having, however, is that there is very little snow pack and we need more rain for a productive spring. Snow pack equates to run off in the larger canyons. Everyone knows that life isn't the same without any water in the streams. So, let's hope for more rain, if we aren't going to have any cold weather and snow in them thar hills.

TC :beer:

Zach_Lim
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Re: Backyard Herping...mammals and early herps.

Post by Zach_Lim »

Awesome Tantilla!

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ratsnakehaven
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Re: Backyard Herping...mammals and early herps.

Post by ratsnakehaven »

Tanks! Saw a desert spiny a few days ago too... ;)

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Greatwun
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Re: Backyard Herping...mammals and early herps.

Post by Greatwun »

Cool finds! I've always wanted to find a snake from the Tantilla genus. I have seen many small snake species in FL but don't know why I haven't come across a Tantilla yet, maybe this year it will happen.

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ratsnakehaven
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Re: Backyard Herping...mammals and early herps.

Post by ratsnakehaven »

Thanks for the comments.

I found a Tantilla in Florida once, long ago. I think they're called "crowned" snakes. Also had an LE officer ask me what I was doing and I showed him the snake and said, "herpetological research." These snakes like fairly dry areas with open, rocky habitat. Look under smallish rocks. They're very small and disappear quickly, so you have to grab them before they go underground.

It's been pretty cold here this past week, and we've had lots of clouds and some rain. There's a good amount of snow in the mountains, so herping should be pretty good this weekend when it warms up to over 70^F. again.

Cheers....TC

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ratsnakehaven
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Re: Backyard Herping...mammals and early herps.

Post by ratsnakehaven »

No new herps in the yard, yet, but there's plenty of moisture in the mountains now. It's supposed to be at least 70^F tomorrow, and warm all week, so I'm going herping.

Several bird species are back from migrations already. Have been seeing white-winged doves, northern cardinals, and we've had several pairs of Costa's hummingbirds at the flowers and feeders. Get ready...heheh!

TC :beer:

Verhoodled
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Re: Backyard Herping...mammals and early herps.

Post by Verhoodled »

Keep an eye out for the resident Heloderms in your yard this warm spell. I found a funny pumpkin gecko on a hike this afternoon. The earliest I've seen by over a month.

Image

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sjfriend
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Re: Backyard Herping...mammals and early herps.

Post by sjfriend »

Verhoodled wrote:Keep an eye out for the resident Heloderms in your yard this warm spell. I found a funny pumpkin gecko on a hike this afternoon. The earliest I've seen by over a month.

Image
Boy, I never see nice things like that when I'm hiking with friends ;)

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ThamnElegans24
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Re: Backyard Herping...mammals and early herps.

Post by ThamnElegans24 »

Congrats on the Gila and tantilla guys!

Here's a few things I've seen recently. They aren't backyard herps, but they are a pretty good indication of what's been active lately.

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Jeroen Speybroeck
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Re: Backyard Herping...mammals and early herps.

Post by Jeroen Speybroeck »

What a great shot, that last one is...

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ratsnakehaven
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Re: Backyard Herping...mammals and early herps.

Post by ratsnakehaven »

Verhoodled wrote:Keep an eye out for the resident Heloderms in your yard this warm spell. I found a funny pumpkin gecko on a hike this afternoon. The earliest I've seen by over a month.
Nice find, Monty. Never seen one in February.

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ratsnakehaven
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Re: Backyard Herping...mammals and early herps.

Post by ratsnakehaven »

ThamnElegans24 wrote:Congrats on the Gila and tantilla guys!

Here's a few things I've seen recently. They aren't backyard herps, but they are a pretty good indication of what's been active lately.

Great stuff, Ben. You're active early too. That would be a long trip.... ;)

Verhoodled
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Re: Backyard Herping...mammals and early herps.

Post by Verhoodled »

LOL, wish you'd been there to see it, Steve.

Thanks Terry. I did the cliche' double-take when the curious black-orange pattern registered in my brain. I repeatedly asked what he was doing out and about, sleepwalking maybe? But he didn't say. I think late March/early April was my earliest find with these guys.

Your photos are stellar Ben. Wish I had your camera eye to do herps justice the way your photos do.

Short vid clip of the gila. It wasn't in a hurry wherever it was headed.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=o31KIbURX9w

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azatrox
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Re: Backyard Herping...mammals and early herps.

Post by azatrox »

Yep....stuff is waking up, stretching its legs and looking for early breakfast.

Awesome stuff....

Btw, I too got a bumpy lizard in Feb...2/16.

- Kris

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ratsnakehaven
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Re: Backyard Herping...mammals and early herps.

Post by ratsnakehaven »

Changed that Tantilla to yaquia. I've compared several finds from the lower elevations of the Santa Ritas and now think they are all Yaqui blackheads, rather than Smith's. I got a lot of help with i.d.'s from Tim Cotta.

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