Archive for the ‘reptiles’ Category
In between house repairs, playing music, cooking and other activities, work continues on the painted floors project. Yesterday, while picking basil and oregano for a homemade pizza that I baked inside the kettle barbecue over a fire made with wild cherry prunings and chunk charcoal, I noticed a snake making its way through the garden. It was a large, wonderfully marked Maritime Garter Snake (Thamnophis sirtalis pallidulus). Larry was just returning from a walk through the woods up the road, so I took it to him to see as this would be a new species. We both took a few photos (see above) and a very short movie (see below – click on all images for larger views – click on the video image and it should play if you can play .mp4 movies on your computer). I’ll use my photos as reference images when I paint a Maritime Garter Snake on the living room floor.
Now that the weather has finally warmed up (we had an unseasonably cool, wet start to summer), we’ve been turning on the moth lights at night. Over the past few nights there has been a good assortment of small moths, but only a few of the larger species – a Luna one evening, and the odd Sphinx.
Last night may have been the start of a new trend. In addition to many small moths, we had an Azalea Sphinx (Darapsa choerilus) and *four* Waved Sphinx (Ceratomia undulosa). Perhaps we’ll have plenty of moths coming to the light by National Moth Week (July 20-28, 2013). If you haven’t yet registered, there is still time!
I’m working on another post about our autumn travels, but just had to share some photos of a lizard that put in an appearance in the garden last evening. I was walking around in the lane with the two dogs when my gaze fell upon a sinuous, ornately banded tail. At first glance I thought it might be one of the many species of snakes here in southeast Arizona, but closer inspection revealed it to be a lizard which held its small forelegs close to its body. The body had rows of rectangular scales. The head had a longish snout with pretty markings, and quiet, bird-like eyes. I went indoors to get my camera and returned to find it still frozen in the same spot. I shot a few photos, then came in to look for an I.D. in A Field Guide to Amphibians and Reptiles in Arizona (Brennan & Holycross) – and yes, as you might guess, I have built up a useful collection of field guides pertaining to the flora and fauna of the southwest. Flipping through the pages, I soon identified this creature as a Madrean Alligator Lizard (Elgaria kingii nobilis). Apparently, they are fairly common in this region and often found in forested canyons such as the one where I’m living. Their diet consists of insects, spiders and scorpions. With any luck, this little fellow will dine well on scorpions. As some of you may remember, last year around this time, I was stung by a scorpion, so any creature that puts a dent in the scorpion population is a friend of mine. If you are interested in getting a closer look at this lizard, click here to see a larger photo in which I laid an iris leaf alongside the lizard to provide some scale. Okay, there will probably be a Utah-related post coming up sometime very soon.