Local Herp Excursion

Went out today looking primarily for snakes. Weather was cloudy with a brief down pour follwoed by sunshine. Explored areas along a river bank for northern water snakes and queen snakes. Nothing to be found under the saucer plate looking rocks-where you’d expect to find these kinds of snakes. In fact the only critters present under these rocks were helgramites and worms.  Decided to give the woods and slopes a go.


Had better luck in this region. Found one Northern Brown Snake under the bark of a rotted tree lying on the ground. 


further inland and up a slope


I found a huge slimy salamander-the biggest one I ever seen.  Infact I thought at first that I had some sort of ambystoma -a marbled variant however there is no mistake about the sticky slime that was left on my finger indicating that indeed I had found a slimy.


After letting the slimy go I glanced over and saw a really cool ornate male box turtle.


While the carapace seemed somewhat ordinary the animals body and plastron were not. I did not get a photo of the animals body and was too impatient to wait for it to come out of its shell. So after picking it up I decided to inspect the underneath and discoverd that it wasn’t the typical solid cream or yellow color but instead predominantly darker


I put this guy back on the ground then headed over to some rocky ledges to flip some small flat “shale” type rocks. I did this for about a half an hour and eventually found  three ringneck snakes under one rock. On my way home I did see one northern water snake in the river and removed a northern brown snake from the road. altogether a fun excursion but admittingly I am getting anxious to find something different.

Mike’s Trail in Western Florida

Glass Lizard, Gopher tortoise, Oyster Catcher, and Alligator.

This picture of the Eastern Glass Lizard was taken at Boyd Hill Park in Pinellas County, FL.  This limbless lizard is listed as State Threatened in Virginia and can only be found in Back Bay National Wildlife Refuge and False Cape State Park (photos by Michael Gregory)

Glass Lizard

 Glass lizard



Gopher Tortoise


Oyster Catchers


Florida Gator

Huntley Meadows Fairfax Chapter Master Naturalist Herp Tour

Introducing myself to FFMN students before taking them out in the field and promoting VHS.

Today Mike and I led memebers of the Fairfax Master Naturalist on a Herpetelogical tour through Huntley Meadows Marsh and the surrounding Palustrine Forest.  click here


some of the encounters we had today.


spotted salamander. Other cool amphibians were sighted as well by our group including a green tree frog click here  video by Michael Greogory


Southern Leopard Frog


Eastern Snapping Turtle

Snapping Turtle at Hutley Meadows
Watch this video on YouTube.


Can you ID this guy?


American Bull Frog


Beaver Lodge next to Marsh Boardwalk


Muskrat that that Mike spotted next to boarwalk click here to watch muskrat feeding video by Michael Gregory


Worm Snake – a frequent encounter today in the woodlands.


Pair of Barn Swallows (photo by Mike Gregory)

All the critters we caught were set free unharmed. Everyone seemed to have had a great time today!!! I know Mike and I did. More pics and video to follow!!!