Sunday, August 31, 2008

Labor Day Herping: Mostly Lizards

We took a Labor Day weekend trip to Central Utah to ride 4-wheelers and enjoy the outdoors with a lot of our extended family (mostly mine). With an approaching storm, decent temps, and a lot of time to spend looking for snakes, I thought this trip would get me some really great pictures of a lot of snakes. The first day I was only able to catch some Common Tree Lizards and a Western Fence Lizard (note: the Fence Lizard on its back is not dead or injured. Turning a lizard onto its back and rubbing its belly puts them to sleep immediately. This was done to photo the blue belly markings. Just seconds after snapping this photo the lizard took off quicker than lightning and couldn't be found). The only snake seen this day was seen by my mother-in-law and was likely a Gopher Snake from the description and location. I went to the area where it was seen and looked for a while without finding anything. There were so many rodent holes around. I'm sure it disappeared down one of them. That night I talked my father-in-law into driving the roads with me to look for snakes. We drove the roads for hours and saw only mice and rabbits. He probably thinks I'm crazy. It would have been cool to find at least one snake to let him experience the joys of field herping. Oh, well. The only snake I found on this trip was found near the lake when I was flipping logs and rocks. It was a Wandering Garter Snake and its color was very different from the ones that I find up here. It was piebald and there was very little yellow in it. Piebald (random blotches of white) is a strange thing to me. Some snakes in the pet trade (Ball Pythons especially) are highly valued for their piebald characteristic. For myself, I consider piebald a flaw and would never purchase one. I would sooner purchase expensive art with BBQ or Ketchup stains on it.


p.s in the last photo, I had climbed up to get a picture of two owls and found a petroglyph and an ancient dwelling

1 comment:

Amy said...

Wow! Nice pics! I thought that lizard was a kid's toy when I saw it on the family blog. I didn't know they were so blue underneath-neat!