Friday, September 28, 2012

Friday Roundup: The Rattlesnake that Was a Hognose but Wasn't


Don't Worry, It's Not a Rattlesnake: When a snake was found crawling through Union Station in Chicago, Illinois last week, workers feared it was a rattlesnake. When an animal control company came to capture the animal, they reassured everybody that it wasn't a venomous rattlesnake, it was actually an Eastern Hognose Snake, Heterodon platirhinos. Actually, they were only half-right. Interestingly, the nature center that received the snake (why didn't anybody consider just letting it go?) did not catch the error either. It's a Northern Watersnake, Nerodia sipedon. The nature center correctly notes that Eastern Hognose Snakes prefer sandy soils, not exactly prime habitat for watersnakes. I have contacted the nature center to tell them of the correct identification so that they don't start wondering why their new arrival is starting to look a little dehydrated.


Support Nongame Wildlife in Georgia: When it comes to animals like bear, deer, turkey, and quail, there is seldom a shortage of the funds necessary to protect their populations. This is because they are considered game animals, in other words, these are the species that are frequently hunted, and there is a lot of interest in making sure these species stick around. However, when it comes to animals that are considered nongame wildlife, money can be hard to come by. The nongame division of the Georgia Department of Natural Resources gets money primarily from things like specialty license plates. So, if you're in Georgia, consider selecting a nongame wildlife tag. Speaking of nongame wildlife, the Gopher Tortoise, Gopherus polyphemus, (Georgia's official state reptile) is facing some serious conservation issues.

Close Encounters of the Stingray Kind: People pay a lot of money to swim with and feed stingrays (while disrupting their normal movement and foraging behaviors). You would think these ladies would look a little more excited at the opportunity to get up close and personal with one.

Be Glad the Fish Aren't Biting: A wakeboarder in Idaho suffers a tragic accident and loses several of his fingers on the water. Two months later, a fisherman finds one of the fingers in a fish he's cleaning.

Just Because It Is Cool: Check out this spectacular photo of two massive sharks hovering in the open ocean.

Are We Stumped? Finally, we are still waiting for someone to give us a definitive identification on this snake, possibly from Uruguay.


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