Friday, August 1, 2014

Friday Roundup: The Week's Wildlife Links (August 1st, 2014)

Count the number of errors in this story about a dead Whale Shark. Now count the dumb stuff in this article about killing a snake.

Speaking of dumb stuff, the Discovery Channel creates hoax to promote Shark Week and tricks people into thinking there is a shark in Lake Ontario.

Wildlife cams are increasing in number and allow the public an intimate view of wildlife. But, how is that affecting our relationship with wild animals

World's most endangered seal does battle with octopus, wins.

A huge swath of the Pacific Ocean is now a vast United States marine sanctuary. And, 685 miles of east coast shoreline is now critical habitat for the Loggerhead Sea Turtle.

Rare Florida forest type sold by the University of Miami: destined to be site of a new Walmart and Chick-fil-A.

Pablo Escobar had hippos. And now they're prowling around Colombia...and that's a problem.

The sad truth behind those incredible frog photos you may have seen online.

Japanese Giant Salamander caught taking a stroll. More here, with GIF action.

Relax, this is not a mosquito.

Did I miss something interesting? Let me know below.


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Sunday, July 27, 2014

Friday Roundup: The Week's Wildlife Links (July 27th, 2014)

Living Alongside Wildlife is now on Facebook. You know what to do.

Did you catch this Slate story about why it's not a good idea to release snakes in your yard to reduce the number of Copperheads, featuring lots of input by yours truly

If that wasn't enough of me for you, check out this piece on Vet Street about why we shouldn't be so afraid of snakes.

Must see incredible pictures of leaping Thresher Shark. Not to be outdone, this Fin Whale gets some air too.

Genius: absurd newspaper headlines about sharks, adjusted for accuracy.

Fisher (i.e., the weasel) photographed in NYC. More here and a summary of recent research describing why the species is making a comeback on the East Coast.

d-Con will no longer be producing their super-toxic rat poison, a huge win for wildlife, like this curious bobcat.

You may remember that beavers recently returned to England after being absent for centuries. Now there is talk of catching them and putting them in zoos.

Do you know how the myth of the Jackalope emerged?

Oakland heron tragedy reminds us all to pay attention to what we're doing (NY Times coverage here).

News not news: snake handling pastor bit by snake.

One-million Scimitar-horned Oryx once roamed through Africa but they are now extinct in the wild. A captive colony might allow for a reintroduction-but where would they go?

Caviar poaching and the conservation of paddlefish in Oklahoma. Similarly, a review of the conservation issues surrounding another ancient fish, the sawfish. Here's a 300 kg sawfish that was just killed in Borneo. Not to be outdone, Atlantic Sturgeon are being killed in a Delaware nuclear power plant's intakes in "shocking numbers".

What's wrong with the puffin chicks in the Gulf of Maine?

Picture of a rattlesnake in southern newspaper makes news...because the snake is alive

Man fires gun at snake, shoots foot.

Did you know that there is a U.S. federal agency that killed two million native animals last year?

Payments to Florida ranchers may help save cougars in the state. Over in India, the government makes moves to prevent lions from being killed on train tracks. Dismal news for tiger populations.

Skunks are thriving in the suburbs.

National Zoo closes their invertebrate exhibit.

Black Bear sightings are increasing across Alabama. Meanwhile, they're getting run over in Alberta and Grizzlies are being spotted in Calgary backyards.

Barn Swallows learn to open automatic doors to get to their nests.

The American Chestnut may be set for its revival.

The deceptive ecology of Australia.

New York Times story on the value of predators in ecosystems.

Did I miss something interesting? Let me know below.


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Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Readers Write In: What are these Frog-eating, Cottonmouth-looking Snakes?

1) This is the snake (on right) that started my whole concern (a five-footer that was in our yard). I've been told it was a black ratsnake. Is it?...

My snake-obsessed little boy spotted a snake (second picture) on our evening walk tonight. We know it's not a copperhead or black rat snake or king snake—do you know what kind it is? It was thin and about 20 inches long. You would have been proud of me—I didn't freak out, not even a little bit!! 

Feel free to use on your blog! Thanks!

Holly A.
Atlanta, Georgia

2) Please let me know your thoughts. Thank you for educating us on our snakes in Ohio. I lived in Southen California as a teenager and seen plenty of small rattlesnakes. If you're telling me we have Timber Rattlesnakes in Ohio, I hope to never cross paths with one. Although I am not a fan of snakes I love your website and reading and seeing what others see in the world we live in. Great Job, thank you.

Diana M.

3) I am trying to identify this snake that was playing in the backyard with my kids!!  Pic is a little gruesome as my husband cut it open to see what was in its stomach - a giant frog. We are in Roswell, GA a suburb just north of Atlanta. It was in a mulch pile next to a wooded creek in our backyard. 


Caulie H.
Roswell, Georgia

4) Could you review the following pictures and identify this snake? We think it may be an Eastern cottonmouth.  My son was walking in his yard at dusk when he heard a hiss. If it had not been for this, he would have stepped on it. He lives in Northern Chesterfield in Virginia. He has a small creek adjacent to his property. 

Thanks for your time. Any information you can provide would be appreciated.

Vickie A.
Northern Chesterfield, Virginia

5) On an outing to a local state park the other day, this snake crawled onto the dirt road ahead of us.  The driver tried to avoid it but alas, did not. We are in southwestern Florida near the Myakka River. The area was pine flat woods alternating with swamp. This is not a species I'm familiar with but my tentative and uninformed ID is a Hog Nosed Snake.  It was 15" to 18" in length.  I'm pleased that the iPhone photo does show the interesting coloration on its underside.

I enjoy your blog and apologize that this is another picture of a dead snake.  At least I didn't do it in with a shovel as many seem to do.


Andy W.
Venice, Florida

Readers: What Are These Snakes?
Snake Identification Post Ground Rules

-Guesses are welcome and encouraged. Don't worry if you're not an expert, wrong guesses allow us to talk about how to distinguish between the various species and that's why I run these posts.

-If you can't explain why you think a snake is a particular species, go ahead and just say what you think it is. But otherwise please do let us all know how you identified the animal. If you're wrong, we can explain why. If you're right, this helps everyone learn how to identify snakes, which is the goal of these posts.

-You can safely assume that I know what kind of snake is in the picture, I run these posts because they are outreach opportunities. Please don't send me private e-mails with your guesses, include them below.

-Remember, the person that sent me the picture is probably reading your comments. Although it is frustrating to know that many of these snakes have been killed, these people do want to learn more about them. More snake knowledge will lead to fewer snakes being killed.