Sonoran Desert Reptile Hike March 2015

sonoran desertI had the chance along with my best bud to get out on a hike to enjoy nature and to look for reptiles. As were driving to our hiking spot, we each made guesses as to what we would find on our hike. We made a first and a second guess. I chose a patchnose snake as my first guess. I have routinely found them on spring hikes in the sonoran desert, so I thought this would be a good choice. For my second guess, I got a little braver and chose a speckled rattlesnake. My friend chose a ground snake and a black headed snake.

We ended up finding a patchnose snake as our first snake, so I won! Woohoo! I tried to take a photo of it, but it slithered away before I could get a good shot. If you look closely, though, you can see it in the photo:
Patch-nose snake

We saw several other lizards, of course. There were at least some variety of whiptail lizards as well as plently of zebra tailed lizards. The only other snake that we found was this diamondback rattlesnake, who was fully active in the middle of the sandy wash:
western diamondback rattlesnake

Here is a short video of the 9.5 mile 5 hour hike:

And finally, here are a few more photos of the area where we hiked and the hike itself:

yellow desert poppies

cactus with flowers

desert canyon

dead saguaro in desert

US Fish and Wildlife abuse of power

This past Friday the Boa Constrictor was at risk of being classified as an “injurious” species and restricted from further interstate commerce. Four large constrictors were added to the list (Reticulated Python, and a few varieties of Anacondas), but luckily the Boa Constrictor was not added to the list. The reason that they were “banned” from further interstate commerce is because some believe that there is a substantial risk of these snakes being “invasive” wildlife in nature.

It has been shown that some of these varieties of snakes are, in fact, surviving and living in the wild in parts of Florida. I agree that these animals should be restricted within Florida and perhaps a few adjacent States. However, the US Fish and Wildlife has chosen to treat this as a national problem, as Federal agencies tend to to, instead of letting individual States, who are closer to the people and who are more properly equipped to make appropriate decisions on how to handle these State specific situations.

I am grateful that Boa Constrictors were spared from this list, but am very perturbed and disgusted that the citizens of this country and of individual States are not able to make these decisions. Instead, non elected Federal officials from the US Fish and Wildlife are making these “rules” and destroying the free industry of reptile keeping. This sort of “rule making” that is being done by these federal agencies instead of being passed by a system or process that is under more direct control and oversight by the people or their elected representatives must stop. This is not how legislation was intended to be made and is a gross abuse of federal power. These kinds of decisions should be up to the States and more closely subject to the will of the people.

What makes matters worse is that extreme animal rights groups, such as HSUS (The Humane Society of the United States) are behind the scenes spending their money (that they raise through misleading advertising about helping starving puppies and kittens) to try and push this sort of extreme agenda driven legislation.

I support organizations such as PIJAC and USARK that are attempting to stop this immoral and dishonest legislation from passing. Please support them financially if you care about your right to own any kind of pet animal.

For more information about the constrictor ban, click here.

Here is some more information about the phony animal rights movement. Keep in mind that taking proper care of animals is most definitely something that is important. I deplore intentional animal abuse and am strongly opposed to it, but what I am describing is something different altogether. Take a look below:

Phoenix Reptile Show Repticon 2015

20150307_112656(1)I went out to the Phoenix Repticon reptile show down at the Arizona Fair Grounds this weekend. The show was much smaller than I thought it would be, not nearly as large as the Tucson Reptile Show or the ARBA reptile breeders shows that they used to have 15-20 years ago here in Phoenix. I took two of my daughters to the show this time.

The show had plenty of Ball Pythons, Leopard Geckoes, and other common pet reptiles. I enjoyed viewing the Arizona Herpetological Associations (AHA) display of native Arizona reptiles. In particular, I enjoyed seeing these two speckled rattlesnakes from a few popular Arizona locales. 20150307_113513(1)

There was a table with some interesting insect art. I didn’t catch the name of the place, but they were selling insects that were encased in some sort of crystal clear resin of some sort. I would really like to have some of these on display in a future nature room when I get too old to travel into the field and I want to share some of my love for natures creations with others.




And here are a few photos of some of the reptiles that I saw at the show. I only took two photos of these interesting geckoes. I am not up on my old world geckos so I don’t know what they are exactly.