Sunday, August 24, 2008

I <3 Coal Skinks

I went out this morning with Shawn and Amanda to show my birder friend Ryan a few of the local herp species he hasn't seen. Our main target was Smooth Green Snake (Opheodrys vernalis) but we missed that. It was still a good day though and we got Ryan four reptile lifers. This is also likely my last herping trip in NY for a long time (going to Venezuela in a week, working elsewhere next year), so it was fun to see a few local species before I leave.

Here's a few of my pictures (they aren't that great or comprehensive today because I let the others do the photographing while I kept finding things) and a video:

A toad whose identification is currently under investigation

Brown Snake with cloudy eyes (pre-shedding)

Eastern Garter Snake in mid-shed

Milk Snakes

Finally, the awesome highlight, two (probable yearling) Coal Skinks. These young ones have a brilliant blue tail that the adults lack. Unfortunately one of the juveniles dropped a portion of its tail. I got this video of it wriggling (yes it was silly of me to film it on my knee and not a rock, but you'll have to deal with it):

Our list for the morning:

Green Frog (Rana clamitans) - 1
Pickerel Frog (Rana palustris) - 2
Spring Peeper (Pseudacris crucifer) - 2
Red-spotted Newt (Notophthalmus virescens) - 2
American Toad (Bufo americanus) - 2

Red-bellied Snake (Storeria occipitomaculata) - 2
Brown Snake (Storeria dekayi) - 12
Eastern Garter Snake (Thamnophis sirtalis) - 6
Ring-necked Snake (Diadophis punctatus) - 1
Milk Snake (Lampropeltis triangulum) - 2

Coal Skink (Plestiodon anthracinus) - 2


  1. I'm going to miss reading your blog while you're in Venezuela. Hopefully you'll return with great stories and photos. Good luck and enjoy yourself!

  2. What a great colored tail. I've handled them before, but no tails have detached. I feel some disappointment, as this would be really interesting, but general relief. I hope your trip to Venezuela is great. Don't forget to visit Angel Falls! I expect photos and good stories upon your return.

  3. Thanks, folks! I will enjoy myself indeed. I will take many pictures and copious field notes. I probably won't discover any new species, but I'll try. :)