Tag Archives: Herps

Juvenile rat snake

A juvenile rat snake (Pantherophis obsoletus) found at the Historic Ogeechee Canal. The Savannah River Ecology Laboratory reports that the Yellow Rat Snake is the common subspecies found in Coastal Georgia (P. obsoletus quadrivittata), whereas the Grey Rat Snake (P. obsoletus spilotes) is found inland. I’ve found a couple of adult Yellow Rat Snakes on Armstrong State University’s campus, but clear identification of juveniles is more difficult.

This individual had been constricting a green anole (Anolis carolinensis) when I encountered it, but release its large prey item when Amos began to investigate.

Emerald swift lizard

Sceloporus malachiticus is common in open areas >1500 m in elevation in Costa Rica. They are fast and skittish, so these individuals were a team effort in their catch. While S. malachiticus is viviparous, giving birth to live, developed young, other Sceloporus species are oviparous, laying small eggs and burying them in the soil. It’s thought that vivipary is common in lizards living at high elevations because it allows the females to better thermoregulate their developing young-that is, a gravid female can move her internal young around in her environment to regulate their temperature.

Tadpoles in Quebrada Cerro

A large tadpole from Quebrada Cerro in Las Cruces. This could be a tadpole of the brilliant forest frog (Lithobates warszewitshii), but I haven’t keyed it out.

Tadpoles were abundant in this stream, which drains primary wet forest, whereas they are fairly scarce in other streams in the preserve, possibly because fish didn’t appear to be present in Quebrada Cerro–in most other streams, fish, particularly the guppy, are abundant.