Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Readers Write In: What is this Ohio Snake?


I found this snake in my yard in Northeast Ohio. It is not aggressive at all and is prob less than 12 inches do you know what it is? I did not keep this snake I let him go. I only kept him long enough to take pictures I just want to make sure there aren't dangerous snakes around my house!

Kara
Ohio

Readers: What is this Snake?

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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.

Twitter Guesses










Sunday, April 6, 2014

Readers Write In: A New (Challenging?) Snake For Us to Identify

    Just a few days after our first snake identification challenge of 2014, another snake picture appeared in my e-mail. Most of you already know that I am happy to identify snakes and answer wildlife questions, but please do know my mind-reading abilities are moderate at best. If you send me a picture, please tell me why. I received this picture in an e-mail with no subject and no text. A follow-up e-mail suggested the picture was sent to me because the e-mail author wanted to know if I could identify the snake. The answer is yes. I'm going to assume they are also interested in knowing what kind of snake this is, so I'm going to feature it here. 

    I posted the picture on Twitter because I thought this identification might be tricky for people and I was right, check out all the guesses it received (below). 

    OK-blog readers, you're up. What kind of snake is this? I've also added a few ground rules that I plan to include in all future snake ID posts. Let me know if you have suggestions.

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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.












Friday, April 4, 2014

Friday Roundup: The Week's Wildlife Links (April 4th, 2014)

Did you already take a guess at our first snake identification challenge of 2014?

Japan will no longer be allowed to go whaling in the Antarctic. But what does this new ruling actually mean?

For the first time since the 1700s, the nene, an endangered Hawaiian goose, is nesting on Oahu's North Shore.

The Night Lizard Cometh...back! Good news for a once-rare reptile.

Poaching is up for the Red Panda in Nepal. But, on the other hand, a Pallas Cat has been discovered there for the first time.

No longer just in India? Asiatic Lion spotted in Pakistan.

Should crocodiles in Australia be killed to reduce risk to people? Includes the awesome quote, "...if you dive off the Adelaide River bridge...there is a 100 percent certainty of being taken by a saltwater croc."

The state squares off with the feds regarding Alaska hunting regulations. The war on bears and wolves within national preserves.

How thick is thick? The story behind the study on murre eggshells.

A fascinating look behind the decision to kill protected sea lions to help conserve salmon populations.

I recently linked to a story about the Cincinnati Zoo's controversial plan to breed sibling Sumatran Rhinos to help save the species. It's a moot point now, the female just died.

Have rabbit populations crashed in Alabama?

Afganistan creates super-park. Will be home to Lynx, Snow Leopards, Marco Polo Sheep, and more.

10 extinct animals that have been preserved in photographs.

So much stupid. Florida woman makes friends with alligator, feeds it cereal, tries to avoid getting bit by screaming and kicking. The story ends the same way all these stories do, the alligator gets killed.

Tigers killed as entertainment for rich businessmen.

Why collecting butterflies isn't cruel. I don't buy the logic, but it's interesting to think about.

From frog massacre to frog rescue in Oregon. Helping amphibians across the road. They crossed the road to breed, that's why.

Are there too many salmon in the sea? Well, the answer is a little more complicated than yes or no.

Here are a few great long-reads:

The Madness of Modern-Day Poaching. How lion bones turned to rhino horns.

Buck Fever: An investigation of the captive deer and breeding industry in the United States.

The Most Trafficked Mammal You've Never Heard Of. Uh, whatever CNN, I know what a Pangolin is. Good read though.


Did I miss something interesting? Let me know below.



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Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Readers Write In: Our First Snake ID Challenge of 2014

    One may know that spring has arrived when the Red-winged Blackbirds establish themselves in the cattails of a nearby marsh or when the songs of frogs start echoing through the night as they attempt to attract new partners. Last night was the first time this year I had heard Fowler's Toads and Gray Treefrogs singing in the marsh down the hill.

    But, the real way to know that it's starting to get warm out is that I begin to receive requests to identify snakes...And spring has sprung.


Can you ID this snake for us?  It was big and beautiful.  Photographed in Fort Myers.  

Thanks,

Judith B.
Fort Myers, Florida

    All right readers, it is time for you to emerge from your hibernations and resume your duties in identifying these creatures. What is this Florida snake?

Update: I thought I'd share some of the guesses that appeared on Twitter.












Monday, March 31, 2014

Wild Again: The Struggle to Save the Black-footed Ferret



I once chose these grasslands over the woman I loved. It wasn’t a sudden choice, rather an accumulation of days, weeks, seasons, and years that taught me to get in my car and head to the prairie. A slow burn that led me to value a familiar place above all else.” 

So begins my new book Wild Again that documents over 4 decades of work to restore biodiversity to the prairie through the conservation of a single extremely rare carnivore, the black-footed ferret.  The ferret is a worthy totem of prairie biodiversity, because as I describe in the book: “On the Great Plains, grasses dominate the landscape. And on those grasslands, patches of prairie dogs bring the prairie alive in increased plant and animal diversity. And on some of those prairie dog colonies, the presence of black-footed ferrets best symbolizes a healthy, biodiverse piece of ground—a locality likely complete with badgers, swift foxes, burrowing owls, mountain plovers, and ferruginous hawks, some of the prototypical representatives of the prairie.”

So in this way, black-footed ferrets represent the wild heart of the Great Plains.  Through their listing and protection under the Endangered Species Act over the past 40 years, they have served as a driving force for prairie biodiversity conservation in a wave of human development.  More than that, by following their conservation in practice, you can trace the conservation ethic that has recently developed across the Great Plains.

In Wild Again, I dissect the complex conservation story of black-footed ferret recovery from near extinction in the 1970’s and 80’s, to current reintroduction efforts that take place across 8 states and Canada and Mexico.  But rather than a technical book, I tell the story of black-footed ferret conservation from a human perspective.  Conservationists across the west have devoted their lives to the preservation of this rarest of North American carnivores, and I try to encapsulate their dedication and evolving knowledge in a single up-to-date account that “is meant to be taken from the shelf to engage you, to be passed on, bent, folded and dog eared.  Take it on that next road trip to the Great Plains. Open it at a campground in Badlands National Park. Take it to the U.S.–Mexican border and crack the spine while sitting on the Chihuahua grasslands, allowing grains of prairie dust to sneak between the pages, pages that will be stained with coffee cup marks after late nights of searching for badgers, swift foxes, and perhaps even black-footed ferrets.

Still interested?  The 1st chapter is available for free here from the publisher, University of California Press. 

Friday, March 28, 2014

Friday Roundup: This Week's Wildlife Links (March 28th, 2014)


Can you spare some change? A $10,000,000 plan to save the world's rarest gorilla.

Second Red Wolf of 2014 killed in North Carolina. What's the big deal? It's only the rarest canine in the world. Way to respect our unique heritage.

Wolves are at the gate of Paris...and getting closer.

Bangladeshi fishermen use otters to help them catch fish-but the traditional method is in jeopardy due to water pollution.

Which fisheries produce the most bycatch? And, now that you know, will you change your purchasing habits?


Due to drought, now salmon need our help to make their voyage to the Pacific Ocean possible.

The evil of the outdoor cat. Yes, even yours.

As we expand our development further into the wilds of Florida, some of the native denizens are reminding us of their presence. Human and bear conflict just north of Orlando. Same problem, different actors: conflicts between jaguars and humans in Costa Rica. The jaguars tend to lose.

Kakapos are a critically endangered parrot in New Zealand (total population about 130). Good news for their conservation, six chicks have hatched in the last few weeks. The Duggars are not impressed.


Australia poisons Dingoes to help sheep farmers. But dingoes help keep the invasive Red Fox in check.

Do you know what a Bonneted Bat is? I didn't. Endangered Florida bat sent to Zoo Miami for rehab.

Up to 70,000 kangaroos are culled each year in Victoria. Now, instead of leaving them to rot, Australia will turn them into dog food.

Meet Mshale, the un-poachable elephant. I feel like that the writing of this article may have jinxed Mshale, but I hope I'm wrong.

A broken fossil turtle bone was found in 1840. An amateur paleontologist just found the missing piece on a stream bank.


That Copenhagen zoo that killed Marius the giraffe a few weeks ago goes ahead and kills some lions.

Are you still watching Animal Planet? What's wrong with you? More evidence they abuse and exploit animals to entertain you. Oh, and that former Animal Planet host has been sentenced for trafficking those endangered Iranian lizards.



Stop calling Pronghorns antelope. More like giraffes.

No details, but potentially encouraging news that big cat populations are increasing in northeastern China.

Did I miss something interesting? Let me know below.



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