Witches butter is actually frog spawn!

Winter has arrived in the Netherlands, not yet in full force, but cold enough that lots of amphibians have retired to their hibernation sites. Still, the odd sighting can be made and yesterday we made two really nice ones. When walking near a breeding water in a forest near our home town ...Read More

Green Iguanas Have Bird Breath

A recent study from the University of Utah shows that green iguanas evolved one-way lungs similar to bird lungs. This research suggests that the unidirectional bird-like breathing actually evolved earlier than previously thought with reptiles instead of birds. Unlike mammals that have branching structures in their lungs that causes the air to ...Read More


With all the talk of invasive species – Burmese Pythons (Python bivitattus), Tegus (Tupinambis ssp.) and even Green Iguanas (Iguana iguana) – in Florida, we often forget about the effect of released animals elsewhere. In the last month, our majordomo Sara wrote about speculation on Arizona Painted Turtles (Chrysemys picta). Were they ...Read More

Keelback Snake Moms Crave Toxic Toads

A new study suggests that gravid female tiger keelback snakes (Rhabdophis tigrinus) like to chow down on toxic Japanese common toads (Bufo japonicus). The tiger keelback is one of a handful of venomous snakes that are an exception to the “snakes are venomous not poisonous” statement. This species is actually both venomous ...Read More

Shameless Self Promotion for the Herps Alive Foundation

Shameless self-promotion time. The Herps Alive Foundation, the charitable reptile rescue organization of which I am Executive Director, is issuing a 2015 calendar featuring some of the animals we have at the facility (which it appears will finally be opening in Mid-December). Calendars are $15 each. Advance orders include shipping (if received ...Read More

Digital Salamander Coloring Book

We are now offering a downloadable salamander coloring and activity book for $2.00. The book contains 28 pages of salamander coloring plates, activities, salamander facts, and more. All the salamander plates were drawn from real individual salamanders that were observed in the wild. Once purchased, a link to a PDF of the ...Read More

Book Review: Amphibians of Great Smoky Mountains

A little background before I jump to the review. I love the Smoky Mountains! They are one of my favorite places on Earth. Not only are they ancient and beautiful but the Appalachian Mountain chain they belong to is believed to be the birthplace for Plethodontid salamanders (the lungless salamanders) and they ...Read More

Lazy Sunday with Nyarla

Nyarla and I decided to spend the day lounging around. We both just finished a tasty brunch, her’s was mouse a la carte while I went with the Cuban and chips. So we decided how better to spend the day than relaxing around the house, have a fun photo shoot, maybe take ...Read More

Copperhead (Agkistodon contortrix)

Virginia is home to three species of venomous snakes: timber rattlesnakes, cottonmouths, and copperheads. Copperheads (Agkistodon contortrix) are the least venomous of the three and are present in the south east quarter of the United States, excluding most of Florida and parts of Texas and Georgia. This past summer I encountered quite ...Read More

Archaeology Meets Herpetology: Are Arizona Painted Turtles Native?

Now most of us are familiar with the cute, brightly patterned, aquatic painted turtle (Chrysemys picta) because this turtle is found across the US. In fact this species is the only native turtle with a transcontinental range in the US. Its range extends from the Atlantic coast to the Pacific coast and a ...Read More