About This Blog

      The title of this blog, Living Alongside Wildlife, is a reference to a land ethic suggesting human and wildlife populations can coexist if we respect our natural resources.  Our goals should include living alongside wildlife in perpetuity, rather than unsustainable exploitation, wanton killing and irreversible destruction of their habitats.  For more about conservation and land ethics, check out the work of Aldo Leopold, particularly A Sand County Almanac (Outdoor Essays & Reflections). These essays were a great influence in formulating my own positions on various environmental issues.

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      The goals of this blog are as follows:

1) to encourage an appreciation for wildlife that tend to have a bad reputation. This entails describing studies and expeditions that were undertaken to learn more about these animals while emphasizing their unique natural history. I also use this blog to counter the sensational (and often inaccurate) stories about wildlife that appear, all too often, in the media.

2) to make scientific research accessible to a general audience that does not read scientific articles. Similarly, to introduce the philosophy and ways of thinking scientists use to answer questions about wildlife.

 3) to educate.  Many are generally unfamiliar with wildlife natural history; as a result there are a plethora of e-mail forwards containing outlandish stories and photos of various animals.  All too often, these e-mails are circulated and accepted as fact.  For animals that are already maligned, scary and fabricated stories only serve to perpetuate the myth they are dangerous and malevolent. Perhaps this is no more true than in the case of the giant dead rattlesnakes, wherein a dead rattlesnake is shoved towards the camera and a bogus story is made up about how various townsfolk were saved in the nick of time by the marauding monster.  I use this blog to discuss these e-mail forwards, which I'm often able to debunk based solely on the biology of the organism in question.

   If you're interested in learning more about the amphibians and reptiles in your backyard, I recommend the following book: A Field Guide to Reptiles & Amphibians of Eastern & Central North America (Peterson Field Guide Series).

Guest Posts

  I would be very pleased if wildlife scientists, students, or amateur naturalists wished to use Living Alongside Wildlife to communicate their work or insights to a new audience. Unsure what a blog even is, anyway? Check this out. Blog posts should be consistent with the goals and themes I describe above and would include a brief author biography. Contact me if you are interested in developing something; here are some past examples. Need some incentive? Posts appearing on this blog are frequently highlighted by science journalists and get viewed hundreds if not thousands of times. As ecologist Jeremy Fox notes, this means blog posts often reach a larger audience than most scientific papers (among other advantages). This post alone has been viewed over 300,000 times. Yours might even become more popular. I do not accept sponsored content or guest posts that are written to benefit commercial interests or entities. Guest posts should be original content written by individuals (in other words, press releases issued by organizations are not appropriate). Posts should not advocate for a position regarding a specific policy issue.


   I welcome civil discussion and debate on the comment threads of any blog posts. I want to hear what you think and others may benefit from you chiming in with your unique perspective. The comments section is for insights, opinions, and yes, even arguments. It is not for attacks, unfounded accusations, or baseless assertions. Comments containing vulgarity or personal insults will be deleted without notice. Comments containing sexist, racist or otherwise discriminatory or hateful content will not be tolerated. Spam will be deleted immediately. You may leave your comments anonymously but I am quick to delete anonymous comments that do not add much to the discussion, particularly if they contain hints of insults or attacks.

   You are likely to see my posts shared on Twitter, Facebook or reposted on other blogs. However, if you want me to see your questions or comments, let alone respond to them, you should leave them on this blog.


  All of my posts are licensed under a Creative Commons copyright. In other words, you may copy, distribute, and transmit what I have written, but you must attribute the text to www.LivingAlongsideWildlife.com and provide a link to this blog. You may not edit what I have written and you may not use for commercial purposes anything I have written. Most of the photographs that appear on this blog are mine, many are not. If you would like to use a photograph you have found here, contact me so that I may arrange for permission. If you reproduce any of my posts, include the following byline (with links activated if online):

Dr. David A. Steen (@AlongsideWild) researches wildlife ecology and conservation biology and blogs about his work at www.LivingAlongsideWildlife.com. His copyrighted work appears here under a Creative Commons license.

Blog Supporters

    Domain registration costs for this blog are provided through the Society for the Study of Amphibians and Reptiles (SSAR) Grants in Herpetology Program.


   Commentaries and opinions that appear within this blog are those of the author(s), and do not necessarily represent those of any employer, collaborator, or funding agency.

The author surveying a ravine,
at night, for endangered salamanders