Photos: Northern Pacific Rattler & Ribbon Snake

Northern Pacific Rattlesnake (Crotalus oreganus oreganus): This snake was seen one April 2008 afternoon cruising through an open field in Yolo County, California.
Northern Pacific Rattlesnake

Ribbon Snake (Thamnophis sauritus): This snake was seen slithering near a pond in southeastern Michigan in October 2010.

Ribbon Snake

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Redback Salamanders: one normal, one funky

I came across these two Redback Salamanders (Plethodon cinereus) while digging a shallow trench in a forest in Cuyahoga County, Ohio. They were about 10 cm (~ 4 inches) underground, together in a small cavity. Redback Salamanders are incredibly abundant in eastern North American forests. But because of the Redback Salamander’s subterranean habits, most people spending time in the woods are unlikely to see them. Female Redback Salamanders also guard their eggs, until they hatch into tiny, baby salamanders.

Funky & Normal Color Redback Salamanders

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Mother’s Day Muskrat and Turtles

The weather on Mother’s Day was excellent for spotting animals out and about in the Cleveland Metroparks. Here is a short video of a muskrat messing around in a pond. About 12 seconds into the video a painted turtle emerges from the water behind the muskrat. Another turtle can be seen shifting around in vegetation behind the muskrat. The video ends with the muskrat swimming away.

Mother's Day Muskrat

The next video starts with two painted turtles are hanging out on a log. They are soon joined by a third turtle which hauls itself out of the water near them. I can just image it saying “Sorry I’m late dudes!”

Mother's Day Turtles

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Mayapple trapped by the past as it grows through leaf

As a kid, I knew Mayapples (Podophyllum peltatum) by the name “Umbrella Plants” because of the characteristic canopy formed by their leaves. Sometime the spread of the Mayapple gets interrupted when the growing shoot passes through an old leaf, such as this Mayapple trapped in a dried maple leaf.

Mayapples are mostly toxic, although their ripe fruit are edible.


Trapped by the past I

Trapped by the past II

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Spring Toads and Turtles!

The return of warm weather has been bringing out the herps, like these basking painted turtles seen in the Cleveland Metroparks, or these calling American Toads seen at the CWRU Farm.

Painted Turtles in the Sun

Toads having a conversation

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