Archive

Herps

CENTRAL FLORIDA CRITTER OF THE DAY: Southern Toad (Anaxyrus terrestris)

Found a cool spot under some Beautyberry and Blackberry Brambles.

syn. Bufo terrestris

Terrestrial; Beneficial

“Diet: Ants, bees, beetles, crickets, roaches, snails, and other invertebrates.”

Learn: http://ufwildlife.ifas.ufl.edu/frogs/southerntoad.shtml

Learn more: https://srelherp.uga.edu/anurans/bufter.htm

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CENTRAL FLORIDA CRITTER OF THE DAY: Indo-Pacific Gecko (Hemidactylus garnotii)

Non-native invasive species.  I signed up and reported my sighting to the EDDMaps.

You can be a citizen scientist too! https://myfwc.com/wildlifehabitats/nonnatives/report/

This critter has had me perplexed for a few weeks.  I always see it at night when I let the dogs in/out for the trip out of the day. This was the first time it was close enough to photograph and identify.

This species was first observed in Florida in 1963 and apparently arrived via Cargo (source: https://myfwc.com/wildlifehabitats/nonnatives/reptiles/geckos/)

Hemidactylus garnotii is an all female, parthenogenetic species (Kluge and Eckardt 1969). “considered to be primarily nocturnal”

Learn more: https://ufdcimages.uflib.ufl.edu/UF/E0/02/12/74/00001/klowden_g.pdf (large file)

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CENTRAL FLORIDA CRITTER OF THE DAY: Striped Mud Turtle (Kinosternon bauri)

This fella (or gal) was hanging out next to the culvert.

I’ve had them dig and nest in the past but despite protecting and monitoring locations, haven’t seen any eggs hatch. These are a pretty shy bunch.  They shut themselves into the shell until you go away.

part of the Imperiled Species Management Plan in Florida.

Learn: https://myfwc.com/wildlifehabitats/profiles/reptiles/freshwater-turtles/striped-mud-turtle/

https://www.iucnredlist.org/species/163429/97379931

Learn more: http://srelherp.uga.edu/turtles/kinbau.htm

My take: https://floridawildlifegardentails.wordpress.com/2018/10/26/in-the-garden-three-stripes-and-youre-out/

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CENTRAL FLORIDA CRITTER OF THE DAY: Green Anole (Anolis carolinensis)

The Beautyberry is just barely starting to leaf out after its winter sleep, and this anole was hellbent on reaching the top.  The thin branch he chose was not strong enough to support him.  When it started to bend he reversed direction and headed back down.

Green anole is the only anole species native to the U.S. They compete with exotics for territory and you can help them by planting taller shrubbery. The natives are willing to climb up higher than the brown anole, so if you provide this type of habitat they will stand a better chance.

Learn: http://aggie-horticulture.tamu.edu/galveston/beneficials/beneficial-19_lizard_green_anole.htm

http://srelherp.uga.edu/lizards/anocar.htm

Diet: insects and spiders

Shown on Florida Native Plant: AMERICAN BEAUTYBERRY (Callicarpa americana)

My take: https://floridawildlifegardentails.wordpress.com/2016/06/20/nature-knows-bestthe-little-lizard-who-could/

My take II: http://osceolaflgardenblahblahblog.blogspot.com/2013/10/arnold-surfs-windshield.html

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CENTRAL FLORIDA CRITTER OF THE DAY: Eastern Glass Lizard (Ophisaurus ventralis)

A legless lizard often mistaken for a snake. Giveaway is the Based on range map, It could be O. ventralis, Ophisaurus compressus or O. attenuatus. Based on habitat is it likely Eastern Glass Lizard (O. ventralis). The other two species apparently prefer drier habitats than that found at my place.

Learn: http://srelherp.uga.edu/lizards/ophven.htm

Diet: “eat a wide variety of insects, spiders, and other invertebrates as well as small reptiles and probably young rodents” (source: University of Georgia)

Feed on a variety of insects, snails, bird eggs, and small reptiles (source: http://www.wlf.louisiana.gov/sites/default/files/pdf/fact_sheet_animal/32242-Ophisaurus%20ventralis/ophisaurus_ventralis.pdf)

My take: Wildlife Deception as a Defense

https://floridawildlifegardentails.wordpress.com/2019/04/07/wildlife-deception-as-a-defense/

video of a headless tail moving: https://youtu.be/pYGX7REMC3w

It was sunning itself in one of the pathways.

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CENTRAL FLORIDA CRITTER OF THE DAY: Southern Black Racer Snake (Coluber constrictor priapus)

NON-VENOMOUS.

Diet: frogs, lizards, snakes, rodents, birds, eggs

Learn: http://www.flmnh.ufl.edu/herpetology/fl-snakes/list/coluber-constrictor-priapus/

My take: World Snake Day…And Me Without My Pungi* https://floridawildlifegardentails.wordpress.com/2017/07/16/world-snake-dayand-me-without-my-pungi/

Take 2: A Race to the End
https://floridawildlifegardentails.wordpress.com/2019/03/15/a-race-to-the-end/

Take 3: The Water System as Wildlife Habitat
https://floridawildlifegardentails.wordpress.com/2019/09/18/the-water-system-as-wildlife-habitat/

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CENTRAL FLORIDA CRITTER OF THE DAY: Southern Leopard Frog (Lithobates sphenocephalus)

One of the larger aquatic frogs and this one topped the scales for any I’ve ever encountered.  From a distance I thought for sure it was a bull frog.

Beneficial
Diet: insects, crayfish, other aquatic invertebrates

Learn: http://ufwildlife.ifas.ufl.edu/frogs/southernleopardfrog.shtml

My take: https://floridawildlifegardentails.wordpress.com/2019/07/27/a-leopard-is-loose-in-my-garden/

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CENTRAL FLORIDA CRITTER OF THE DAY: Oak Toad (Anaxyrus quercicus)

Oak Toad (Anaxyrus quercicus)

formerly Bufo quercicus, this is the smallest North American toad getting be about 1.5 inch max.

Diet: Ants, beetles, centipedes, spiders, and other invertebrates.

Unlike many toads who tend to be more nocturnal, you’ll see these guys quite often during the daylight.

This one was hiding in the leaf litter in a “forested” area that is a combo of swamp bay, wax myrtle, dahoon covered by climbing virginia creeper and a young live oak.

Learn: http://ufwildlife.ifas.ufl.edu/frogs/oaktoad.shtml
Learn more: https://web.archive.org/web/20160701213258/http://www.wec.ufl.edu/extension/wildlife_info/frogstoads/anaxyrus_quercicus.php

Spatial and temporal ecology of oak toads (Bufo quercicus) on a Florida landscape: www.srs.fs.usda.gov/pubs/23625

 

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CENTRAL FLORIDA CRITTER OF THE DAY: Eastern Glass Lizard (Ophisaurus ventralis)

A legless lizard often mistaken for a snake. Based on range map, It could be O. ventralis, Ophisaurus compressus or O. attenuatus. Based on habitat is it likely Eastern Glass Lizard (O. ventralis). The other two species apparently prefer drier habitats than that found at my place.

Learn: http://srelherp.uga.edu/lizards/ophven.htm

Diet: “eat a wide variety of insects, spiders, and other invertebrates as well as small reptiles and probably young rodents” (source: University of Georgia)

Feed on a variety of insects, snails, bird eggs, and small reptiles (source: http://www.wlf.louisiana.gov/sites/default/files/pdf/fact_sheet_animal/32242-Ophisaurus%20ventralis/ophisaurus_ventralis.pdf)

My take: Wildlife Deception as a Defense

https://floridawildlifegardentails.wordpress.com/2019/04/07/wildlife-deception-as-a-defense/

video of a headless tail moving: https://youtu.be/pYGX7REMC3w

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CENTRAL FLORIDA CRITTER OF THE DAY: Southern Black Racer Snake (Coluber constrictor priapus)

NON-VENOMOUS.

Diet: frogs, lizards, snakes, rodents, birds, eggs

Learn: http://www.flmnh.ufl.edu/herpetology/fl-snakes/list/coluber-constrictor-priapus/

My take: World Snake Day…And Me Without My Pungi* https://floridawildlifegardentails.wordpress.com/2017/07/16/world-snake-dayand-me-without-my-pungi/

Take 2: A Race to the End
https://floridawildlifegardentails.wordpress.com/2019/03/15/a-race-to-the-end/

Take 3: The Water System as Wildlife Habitat
http://web.archive.org/web/20140207164833/http://www.beautifulwildlifegarden.com/the-water-system-as-habitat.html

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CENTRAL FLORIDA CRITTER OF THE DAY: Florida Cottonmouth, Water Moccasin Snake (Agkistrodon piscivorus conanti)

VENOMOUS!! If bitten seek immediate medical care from a physician or hospital experienced in treating snakebite.

This guy (or gal) was wiggling along side the road when I drove down to the mailbox.

Learn to identify the 6 species of venomous snakes in Florida. If you see one, don’t panic, just quietly move away from the area and whatever you do, DON’t try to kill it. You stand a better chance of avoiding a bite if you just move along and don’t interact with it. http://www.flmnh.ufl.edu/herpetology/fl-guide/Agkistrodonpconanti.htm

Diet: fish, frogs, salamander, lizards, small turtles, baby alligators, birds, small mammals, and other snakes

Learn: https://web.archive.org/web/20120410085312/http://nationalzoo.si.edu/Animals/ReptilesAmphibians/Facts/FactSheets/Cottonmouth.cfm

My take: https://floridawildlifegardentails.wordpress.com/2019/01/01/my-hero-and-gardening-anxiety/

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CENTRAL FLORIDA CRITTER OF THE DAY: American Alligator (Alligator mississippiensis)

Saw a big splash in my pond yesterday and just saw the tail which made me think it was pretty big. I tried all afternoon to capture a photo, but it seemed to know I was coming and dove before I could get a photo, possibly because i had on a light color shirt.

This morning I put on a dark colored shirt, snuck up, hiding among the shrubs, grasses and trees and got my photo.  Thankfully, not nearly as big as I thought so unlikely to be a threat to me since I am aware of it and keep alert and away from the edge of the pond.  Just hanging out on the tussock

(s)he is a reasonable size, less than 3 foot.

Learn: http://myfwc.com/media/152524/alligator-brochure.pdf

My take: https://floridawildlifegardentails.wordpress.com/2015/10/21/big-guns-in-the-wildlife-garden/

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CENTRAL FLORIDA CRITTER OF THE DAY: Striped Mud Turtle (Kinosternon bauri)

Striped Mud Turtle (Kinosternon baurii)

Jorja found this one under the live oak tree.  I’ve had them dig and nest in the past but despite protecting and monitoring locations, haven’t seen any eggs hatch. These are a pretty shy bunch.  They shut themselves into the shell until you go away.

Learn: https://www.iucnredlist.org/species/163429/97379931

Learn more: http://srelherp.uga.edu/turtles/kinbau.htm

Shown under Florida Native Plant: LIVE OAK (Quercus virginiana)

My take: https://floridawildlifegardentails.wordpress.com/2018/10/26/in-the-garden-three-stripes-and-youre-out/

Striped Mud Turtle (Kinosternon bauri)

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CENTRAL FLORIDA CRITTER OF THE DAY: Green Anole (Anolis carolinensis)

Green anole is the only anole species native to the U.S. They compete with exotics for territory and you can help them by planting taller shrubbery. The natives are willing to climb up higher than the brown anole, so if you provide this type of habitat they will stand a better chance.

Learn: http://aggie-horticulture.tamu.edu/galveston/beneficials/beneficial-19_lizard_green_anole.htm

http://srelherp.uga.edu/lizards/anocar.htm

Diet: insects and spiders

Shown on Florida Native Plant: : Bidens alba

My take: https://floridawildlifegardentails.wordpress.com/2016/06/20/nature-knows-bestthe-little-lizard-who-could/

http://osceolaflgardenblahblahblog.blogspot.com/2013/10/arnold-surfs-windshield.html

It only blinked, but caught this shot where it looks like it is sleeping

Green Anole (Anolis carolinensis)

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CENTRAL FLORIDA CRITTER OF THE DAY: Southeastern Five-lined Skink (Plestiodon inexpectatus)

Quick, sleek lizard. You can generally find them warming in the early morning sun. Juveniles have blue tails.
Note: This may be P. fasciatus although it seems their range ends in northern Florida; map: http://maps.iucnredlist.org/map.html?id=64227

Diet: beetles, wood roaches, grasshoppers and other insects

Preyed upon by large birds, (crows, kestrels, hawks), foxes, raccoons, opossums, skunks, shrews, moles, domestic cats, and snakes.

Learn: http://srelherp.uga.edu/lizards/eumine.htm

My take: http://web.archive.org/web/20110725005604/http://www.beautifulwildlifegarden.com/hep-herpetology.html

skinkJune2018A###

CENTRAL FLORIDA CRITTER OF THE DAY: Southern Black Racer Snake (Coluber constrictor priapus)

NON-VENOMOUS.

Diet: frogs, lizards, snakes, rodents, birds, eggs

Learn: http://www.flmnh.ufl.edu/herpetology/fl-snakes/list/coluber-constrictor-priapus/

Shown climbing Florida native plant: GROUNDSEL TREE; SEA MYRTLE (Baccharis halimifolia) a.k.a. Saltbush

My take: World Snake Day…And Me Without My Pungi* https://floridawildlifegardentails.wordpress.com/2017/07/16/world-snake-dayand-me-without-my-pungi/

Take 2: A Race to the End
http://web.archive.org/web/20131108140945/http://www.beautifulwildlifegarden.com/a-race-to-the-end.html

Take 3: The Water System as Wildlife Habitat
http://web.archive.org/web/20140207164833/http://www.beautifulwildlifegarden.com/the-water-system-as-habitat.html

Closeup from 2013:

racersnakeheadfeb2013

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CENTRAL FLORIDA CRITTER OF THE DAY:  Corn Snake (Pantherophis guttatus)

a.k.a. Eastern Corn Snake, Chicken Snake, Red Rat Snake

NON-VENOMOUS. Caught this beauty eating the eggs in the Ground Dove’s nest..

Diet: lizards, frogs, rodents, and birds and their eggs.

Learn: https://www.floridamuseum.ufl.edu/herpetology/fl-snakes/list/pantherophis-guttatus/

Shown on Florida native Plant: Saltbush (Baccharis halimifolia)

My take:  https://floridawildlifegardentails.wordpress.com/2018/06/04/nothing-goes-to-waste-in-a-wildlife-garden/

Big and beefy, the bottom has very interestingl markings

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CENTRAL FLORIDA CRITTER OF THE DAY: Green Anole (Anolis carolinensis)

Green anole is the only anole species native to the U.S. They compete with exotics for territory and you can help them by planting taller shrubbery. The natives are willing to climb up higher than the brown anole, so if you provide this type of habitat they will stand a better chance.

Learn: http://aggie-horticulture.tamu.edu/galveston/beneficials/beneficial-19_lizard_green_anole.htm

http://srelherp.uga.edu/lizards/anocar.htm

Diet: insects and spiders

My take: https://floridawildlifegardentails.wordpress.com/2016/06/20/nature-knows-bestthe-little-lizard-who-could/

http://osceolaflgardenblahblahblog.blogspot.com/2013/10/arnold-surfs-windshield.html

From 2016:

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