|Rough Earth Snake, Virginia striatula|
Tuesday, April 30, 2013
Thursday, April 25, 2013
|American Green Tree Frog, Hyla cinerea|
Tuesday, April 23, 2013
|First instar Wheel Bug, Arilus cristatus|
Previous Assassin Bug Posts: 
Thursday, April 18, 2013
|Tawny Frogmouth, Podargus strigoides|
Tuesday, April 16, 2013
|Common Potoo(s), Nyctibius griseus griseus|
|Excellent camouflage of mother and juvenile common potoo.|
Thursday, April 11, 2013
|Autumn (Greg's) Sage, Salvia greggii|
While I've already covered Autumn Sage, it is truly a beautiful plant. There is also the matter of me realizing that my original intended post for today had a perfect match elsewhere. In other words, next week will be another theme week!
Tuesday, April 9, 2013
|Common Snapping Turtle, Chelydra serpentina|
Thursday, April 4, 2013
|Greater Roadrunner, Geococcyx californianus|
These birds are known for being opportunistic eaters, preying on birds at feeders, in bird banding nets, or bird boxes. They will eat what they can catch including venomous snakes and scorpions, in addition to cactus, hummingbirds, eggs, and anything else available. Due to their impressive diet, and false belief of being the cause of the declining quail population, the greater roadrunner was one of the last bird species given state protection in Texas. The US Migratory Bird Act has protected this native species at a national level.
This was camera phone photography, but I hope to get a better photograph with a real camera. If/when I do, I'll have a follow-up post on the greater roadrunner.
Tuesday, April 2, 2013
|Western Cottonmouth, Agkistrodon piscivorus leucostoma|
While any wild snake should be left as is, there are a number of ways to determine whether or not the snake is harmless. As a pit viper, the cottonmouth has facial pits and, like some but not all vipers, elliptical eye pupils. The pupil will be hard to see without risk of a bite, and will be more round at night, but another characteristic is the eye "mask" marking. The cottonmouth is also known for its stout, thick-body and for holding its head above water, it's body floating unlike other water snakes. Although many will say that a venomous snake has a triangular head, it is important to know that a number of snakes, including the Texas Rat Snake, can flare their head to look triangular. Using a similar technique, while a harmless water snake may not be venomous, it may be as aggressive, if not more so, than a cottonmouth.
Preferring water and a diet of fish, cottonmouths are much less likely to be seen around suburban areas than the copperhead. Even so, always take precautions during snake season: using a flashlight at night, looking before you reach, and removing brush piles (perfect homes) from near the house. With any snake, they are best left alone. A snake may be venomous, but remember they are only following the food. Without them, your house would be covered with hantavirus-filled mouse and rat droppings.
Here in most of Texas snake season has returned. I already ran into a cottonmouth yesterday (I left him be, he left me be). Cold weather may slow them down, but it's time for the snakes to come out of hibernation to eat. Remember: snakes are misunderstood friends, not enemies. Don't bother them and they won't bother you. When in doubt, walk the other way.