Sunday, September 28, 2008

Night Snake & Other Herps

Whenever weather allows (and even when it doesn't) we spend time outdoors. This outing included a lot of 4-wheeling and also some good nature finds. The snake pictured is a Night Snake and is not so common to find in this valley. We rode over the mountains west of Santequin and found a cool canyon. After crossing a creek and climbing a hill, I stopped to flip some rocks. I am always looking for snakes and herps and my brothers decided to flip a few as well. One of my brothers flipped 5 or 6 rocks before finding the Night Snake (beginner's luck). The snake was photoed and released. I usually don't photo toads, but they are getting pretty hard to find in Utah County. The pics don't show it well, but the Northern Side-blotched Lizards that we caught had a lot of blue specks on their backs. Also, the grasshoppers in one area looked like an explosion of blue when they hopped and flew. I caught some to photo their blue wings. The photo of the bee on the flower was just me practicing photography while catching some of the beauty in the desert.

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Mexican Milk Snakes

My birthday came a little early this year. I purchased 2 more snakes at the Wasatch Reptile Expo. I had made my mind up about what kind of snake I wanted to purchase next, but going to a reptile expo and seeing so many cool snakes all together quickly changed all that. Instead of standing at a distance and scowling at me, my wife actually helped pick out the Mexican Milk Snakes. The price made the snakes quite a bargain, which is great because every $10 I spend on snakes allows my wife to spend $1000 on whatever she wants (that is her rule). Milk Snakes (in all their varieties) are about the prettiest snake in the pet trade. Their beautifully contrasting bands of colors, small size, relatively low prices, and calm personalities make them an easy choice. (Important care note: Milk Snakes don't drink milk)

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Morphing Racers

When a racer starts out life, it is a completely different looking snake (see top pictures) than when its an adult (other pictures). I misidentified the baby racer when I found it. I thought I had found a Desert Glossy Snake or a Night Snake. It took eyes more expert than mine to identify the snake. I am not a complete walking field guide like a select few are (I hate to admit that). After about a year, the racer's cool pattern gives way to a solid green or an almost turquoise color. I haven't ever kept racers for very long, so I have not ever been able to observe the transformation from a pattern to a solid color. I am not sure if this occurs in one shed or over a period of time. I could probably do some quick research to find out this, but I guess I don't need to know it. The adult Yellow-Bellied "Mormon" Racer pictured was one of the best looking racers that I have ever come across. Its pretty green scales were flawless and its belly was banana yellow. Wild racers are typically "beat up" from their normal wear and tear activities. On the list of snakes that I would not collect from the wild, racers are at the top. They cannot race in a terrarium and deserve to be free.

Sunday, September 14, 2008

The Ultimate Color Morph

My wife and I recently restored our 1968 Camaro's interior (new seat foam, seat covers, OEM carpet, everything). The last day we worked on it all afternoon/evening and didn't stop until 4:00 in the morning. The reason we worked straight through is because for things like this my motivation comes and goes, and when it goes, its gone. The new parts to restore the interior had sat in the garage for the last 2 years in boxes. This car is an obvious piece of muscle car history and is in incredible shape. The car is also a piece of family history. It is the car that my wife rode to elementary school in. Her dad bought the car back in the '70's when it was only about 5 years old. My first car was a 1968 Camaro similar to this one, purchased w/my own earnings when I had just turned 15. There are a lot of 1st generation Camaro stories in the family and I have personally owned 4 of them (all 1968's), but I will try to bring this post back to the world of herps. I couldn't help noticing how well my Mexican Black Kingsnake matches the paint color of this family keepsake. I will say this: if a snake breeder can come up with a color morph combination of black, berry red, and chrome....that breeder will be able to name his price to me (any price).
Note: the kingsnake charges $5,000 per photo shoot

Robby (field herper from the old school)

Saturday, September 6, 2008


My brother brought me some Garter Snakes the other day. He was mowing his lawn and was humane enough to collect them so they didn't get chopped up. I relocated them, but they have probably been devoured by predators by now.