Scarlet Snake

This is a scarlet snake. It’s easily mistaken for either a scarlet kingsnake or a coral snake, but you can tell it’s neither by the fact that the bands of red and black are only on the snake’s back. The belly is white. Coral snakes and scarlet kingsnakes have bands that go all the way around the body.

Scarlet snakes live in the southeast and as far west as Oklahoma and Texas. They eat mostly small rodents and reptiles, and reptile eggs. A large adult might get up to two feet long.

That pointy head helps them burrow into sand. The head always starts with red at the nose, unlike coral snakes, which start with black. (The “red touch yellow, kill a fellow” rule is good only in the US. If you go to Central America, the coral snakes are a lot less standardized.)

scarletsnake

Eastern Spadefoot

Here’s an eastern spadefoot, a medium-sized frog that is relatively common but rarely seen unless you happen to be trapping amphibians around an ephemeral pond. They’re burrowers, so they need loose, sandy soil that’s easy to dig into. They dig with their hind feet, backwards.

The adults are rarely seen in daylight. They usually only come out of their burrows at night to catch bugs, earthworms, and slugs. But you can sometimes find hundreds of tiny recently-metamorphosed spadefoots leaving a pond during the day.

The easiest way to tell them from true toads (the Bufo genus — around here that would be the Fowler’s toad and the American toad) is their eyes — their pupils are vertical instead of round. They also have two curved yellow streaks on their backs.

Also, they try to curl up into a ball when threatened. I’m not sure what threat would be deterred by this — definitely not a human — but it is adorable.

Pinewoods Treefrog

Here, Internet. Have a tiny pinewoods treefrog from 5 years ago in Walton County, Florida.

And here, me: a reminder that having a mostly indoor job doesn’t mean you can’t go hiking on weekends.

In other news, I’m not dead, and neither is this blog. The hiatus just lasted longer than expected. More to come.

The Devourer – bioGraphic

http://biographic.com/posts/sto/the-devourer

Here’s a box turtle eating blueberries

Excellent post on prescribed fire

For months, I’ve been meaning to write a long post on this topic. I might still do it one day, but in the meantime, here’s an article that explains why Smoky Bear was wrong: it’s sometimes a good idea to set forest fires. California’s Explosive Wildfire Call for More Southern-Inspired Prescribed Burning

The walking shark that can survive hours out of water

Sorry I’ve been neglecting my blog lately. Life is, and will continue to be for the next couple months, very busy. In lieu of actually writing a post, here’s a fascinating look at the walking shark from the excellent blog Odd Organisms.

It’s nighttime on the Great Barrier Reef, and as the tide slips out to sea it uncovers a much tougher environment. Chunks of coral are exposed and only small pools of shallow water remain where there is little oxygen available. Hardly the place you expect to find a shark.

But! This is not your ordinary shark (it’s odd organisms for gosh sakes). No, this is an epaulette shark (Hemiscyllium ocellatum). A wriggly, wormy, wonder shark who’s amazing adaptations to it’s complex environment include an incredible tolerance to low oxygen and high COlevels, PLUS, the ability to walk across the reef! Walk! 

So, it’s walking sharks and crucian carp on the blog today (more on crucian carp later, for now just accept the rhyme) as we explore the awesome adaptations of the epaulette shark. The first shark to have come anywhere near, rivaling my fascination for the…

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Photo 101: Solitude

The author chillin' on the rocky bank of the Eno River.
So solitary, this is actually a selfie!

Photo 101: Water

A small stream running between old rock walls.
A stream flows between old rock walls to join the Eno River

Photo 101: Home

When I first moved to North Carolina, I didn’t have a place to live lined up. I figured I’d camp out at a park for a few days until I found one. Lucky for me, NC has approximately a bazillion state parks, and I found one nearby with a campground.

A few days turned into two weeks, during which it rained the ENTIRE TIME and I got more and more frustrated as various possibilities fell through. At one point, I posted this extremely green photo on Instagram and Facebook:

Home sweet home…

A post shared by Bethany Harvey (@bethanyaharvey) on

My concerned friends back in Florida replied that they hoped this was just a temporary situation. It did turn out to be temporary, and a friend who lived in the area called some of her friends, and they offered me a place to stay for a couple of days. Then I finally managed to find someone with a room to rent who didn’t sound creepy and didn’t think I sounded creepy. And after a year of that, I moved into a little house all by myself, and I still live there.

So, this photo? This is not home. This is just the spot where I was camping this weekend. For fun. And it didn’t even rain!

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