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Archive for the ‘Reptiles and Amphibians’ Category

Got a few photos before the sun came out early this morning. A pair of White Eyed Vireos; first the male, then the female, them the two of them building nest together:

male White Eyed Vireo

male White Eyed Vireo

Female White Eyed Vireo

Female White Eyed Vireo

Nest building together

Nest building together

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What an interesting place !!! Muskrats, Frogs, Beavers, Birds, snakes, etc.

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Found this large lizard in the williow bush and driftwaood pile; pretty sure its a Collared Lizard by size alone – it’s 12″ to 15″ long. The williow was in the Little Buffalo River near Parthenon, AR.:

 

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Copperhead is venomous but shy. Surprised me !! Always startled by them, but I let him crawl on his way to a rock pile – they don’t get much bigger than this one (~ 40″). Be careful this spring:

 

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I have seen 2 animals that remind me that spring is just around the corner here in NW Arkansas; a five lined skink (lizard) and an Eastern Meadowlark. Actually saw the lizard 10 days ago on a 60F day and the meadowlark on the 20th of February, 2013:

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These cute little guys are born live, not hatched, and are camouflaged as babies. I have seen 2 since November 2; likely born in late October:

 

TAXONOMY

Order: Squamata
Family: Colubridae
Genus/species: Elaphe obsoleta obsoleta

DESCRIPTION:

The common rat snake is medium-sized, averaging 42 to 72 inches (106.7 to 183 cm) in length. At the widest point of the snake’s body, its average diameter is 1.5 inches (3.8 cm). The rat snake is covered with keeled scales, and has a powerful slender body with a wedge-shaped head. The anal plate of the common rat snake is divided. A variety of subspecies is found across the United States.

The black rat snake, as the name implies, is completely black except for a white chin. Hatchlings of the black rat snake have a pale grey background with black blotches along the back. As the snake matures, the color becomes darker until the snake reaches its adult phase. Hatchlings are often mistaken for copperheads because their skin patterns are similar.
Common rat snakes tend to be shy and, if possible, will avoid being confronted. If these snakes are seen and confronted by danger, they tend to freeze and remain motionless. Some adults attempt to protect themselves. They coil their body and vibrate their tails in dead leaves to simulate a rattle. If the snakes continue to be provoked, they will strike.

Rat snakes produce a foul-smelling musk and release it on the predator if they are picked up, spreading the musk around with their tail. The musk acts as a deterrent. A few of the rat snake subspecies tend to be more aggressive. The Texas rat snake and the black rat snake are very snappy, while the yellow rat snake is more passive. When alarmed, the Everglades rat snake swims away through the swampy waters. Rat snakes are excellent swimmers.

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