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DISPATCH FROM THE FIELD: Warm weather continues to keep our SC team busy. Field Project Manager Ben Morrison was reunited with an old friend earlier this week. We hadn’t seen Medusa, lower left, since last summer but she’s back, still fat and sassy, and enjoying the weather. Medusa is a large female Eastern Diamondback Rattlesnake, one of the at-risk species we’re studying. Great to see you again, Medusa!

Please visit our new website to learn more: http://amphibianandreptileconservancy.org/ While you’re there, please subscribe to our newsletter and drop a few dollars in the donation link so we can help assure Medusa and her friends have nice homes and plenty to eat.

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“Amphibian and reptile populations are declining in the United States and will continue to do so as human populations and associated development continue to expand.” - PARC Southeast Habitat Management Guidelines

Please visit our new website to learn more: http://amphibianandreptileconservancy.org/ While you’re there, please subscribe to our newsletter!

(American Toad © Steve Atkins, http://www.foxcovephotography.com/)

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“Open (non-forested to sparsely-forested) wetlands support a diversity of herbaceous plants including grasses, sedges, and rushes, while more densely forested wetlands may have little emergent non-woody vegetation. The species assemblages of amphibians and reptiles occurring from one pond to the next may vary according to differences in vegetative characteristics. Because fish are usually absent, seasonal wetlands are essential reproductive habitats for many amphibian species that are vulnerable to fish predation.” – PARC Southeast Habitat Management Guidelines

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(Ornate Chorus Frog © Kevin Messenger, see more of his outstanding photography on his Flickr photostream at http://www.flickr.com/photos/kevinmessenger/)

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“Jefferson Salamanders can breed as early as December in some areas, when snow still covers the ground. Females lay eggs one to two days after mating, attaching the masses to branches or other structures in the wetland. Outside of the breeding season, adults are rarely encountered because they spend much of the year underground in adjacent forest. Roads placed between breeding sites and terrestrial habitat used throughout the remainder of the year pose a significant risk to Jefferson Salamanders through direct mortality, and from runoff of pollutants into breeding ponds. The eggs are very sensitive to changes in pH, and an increase in acidity can prove lethal to both eggs and larvae.” – PARC Midwest Habitat Management Guidelines

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(Jefferson Salamander © Kevin Messenger, see more of his outstanding photography on his Flickr photostream at http://www.flickr.com/photos/kevinmessenger/)

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While our SC Field Team are still waiting for heavier rains to stimulate rare amphibian breeding, we continue on terra firma taking advantage of weather favorable for rare snakes and other reptiles. This young "Canebrake" (southern morph of Timber) Rattlesnake is one of 23 reptiles of six species found in one small area yesterday. We love the very light-colored morphology/camouflage of this individual!

PS: Numerous lizards, too numerous to list here, were also observed but not included in our totals.

(Find and photo © Kevin Messenger, see more of his outstanding photography on his Flickr photostream at http://www.flickr.com/photos/kevinmessenger/)

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Any Corn Snake fans out there? Ben Morrison, Field Project Manager for our SC team, found this beauty yesterday for our first new snake of the season! I'm told they've already reached around a dozen individuals of multiple species today. More photos as they are submitted.

Please visit our new website to learn more: http://amphibianandreptileconservancy.org/ While you’re there, please subscribe to our newsletter!

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“PASTURE AND HAYFIELD TIPS: When sown with native grasses, pastures and hayfields can closely mimic natural prairie habitats and may provide important habitats for grassland adapted amphibians and reptiles and other wildlife. If mowed, start in the center and use a back-and-forth approach to avoid concentrating fleeing animals where they may be killed or stranded. Elevating the mowing deck height to 8 or even 12 inches will reduce mortality and will leave important cover. This will help prevent killing Box Turtles and Wood Turtles that are common users of grassland habitats.” – PARC Northeast Habitat Management Guidelines

Please visit our new website to learn more: http://amphibianandreptileconservancy.org/ While you’re there, please subscribe to our newsletter!

(Wood Turtle © John White - Virginia Herpetological Society)

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#TBT One of your favorites from the past few years:

Another gem from our team in field!

“Important microhabitats within floodplain forests include standing dead trees, logs, and drift piles left by receding floodwaters. Bottomland forests provide movement corridors for amphibians and reptiles as well as other wildlife ranging from bears to migratory songbirds.” - PARC Southeast Habitat Management Guidelines

Please visit our new website to learn more: http://amphibianandreptileconservancy.org/ While you’re there, please subscribe to our newsletter!

(Eastern Mud Snake © Alex Bentley, see more at https://www.flickr.com/photos/alexbentley/)

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“Long recognized as a part of pine forest ecology, fire also plays a role in the maintenance of certain hardwood-dominated habitats. Wildlife of much of the Ozarks, Ouachita Mountains, Interior Low Plateau, Cumberlands, Ridge and Valley, Piedmont, and Coastal Plain ecoregions were adapted to more open woodland and savanna conditions than exist today. Recent fire suppression has contributed to the declines, rarity, and extirpation of many species, such as Pine Snakes and glass lizards, even on publicly managed forestlands.” - PARC Southeast Habitat Management Guidelines

Sign up for our mailing list to get the big news first by visiting http://amphibianandreptileconservancy.org/ and using the “Subscribe” box, upper right. How fast can you type your email? That’s all it takes!

(Eastern Glass Lizard © Nathan Shepard, see more of Nate’s great work at http://www.flickr.com/photos/nathanphotography/)

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