Jeff

The Whiptails Strike Back

Around our home, the most commonly seen snakes are Eastern Patch-noseds, the high-elevation sister species of Western Patch-nosed Snakes. Like their lowland cousins, Whiptail Lizards are a staple of their known diet, so we assumed that was what the one we spotted was after as he diligently excavated a burrow in our yard one June …

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Love in the Rocks

On a balmy August night, Melissa and I headed up a canyon near our home. We had explored this area during the day, but recent night visits revealed orb-weaver spiders, rattlesnakes and vinegaroons hunting under cover of night. Though the pine forest air cools off quickly after sunset, rocky canyonsides hold heat a bit longer, …

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Emerging With Care

A snake’s scaled snout pokes forth from a crag recess and feels its first direct rays of sun in months. Her body remains in passage, still nearly as cold as the contents of your refrigerator. After months in her dark retreat, her now-warming head, the seat of most information sensing and processing, must be overwhelmed …

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Daryl Finds Carol!

A Tale of Two Trash Snakes Part 6 Read: A Tale of Two Trash Snakes Part 5 After a late night of surveilling wild snakes, I get outside mid-morning on the off-chance I can find one of our subjects sunning in the damp vegetation. With all the difficulty we’ve had in keeping up with them …

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Daryl Plays Catch-up

A Tale of Two Trash Snakes Part 5 Read: A Tale of Two Trash Snakes Part 4 What would a downpour do to Carol’s scent trail? It’s already been a couple of days since she passed over the ground here – did Daryl miss his chance at love, at least for now? The ground is …

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Daryl Prowls

A Tale of Two Trash Snakes Part 4 Read: A Tale of Two Trash Snakes Part 3 The day Carol showed up, we checked under the truck bed liner to find Daryl still coiled in a hunting posture under its downhill edge. “There are two lepidus in the yard…” we would say to one another …

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Daryl Saves

A Tale of Two Trash Snakes Part 1 Well into our second summer, we didn’t have much hope left that we’d moved to serpent’s paradise. We had traded the city for the Gila National Forest with high hopes of snakes on our doorstep, but with each passing, snakeless day, we questioned whether our forested, northern …

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Just for kicks?

Ecologists study how interactions between species affect populations. Trophic (feeding) interactions are the most obvious (e.g., lions eat zebras), but competition and mutualism are also important in structuring populations residing together. Food webs consider how seemingly non-interacting populations of species may influence each other indirectly, often through the actions of other species. How individuals interact …

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