Memorial Day or Reptile Day?

Memorial Day was a particularly busy day, herpetologically speaking.  I started the day in my garden with a cup of coffee and a Northern Brown Snake basking on top of some thyme.  I was careful not to disturb the little foot long snake, and he seemed happy to hang out.  I love having brown snakes in the garden since they love to eat slugs and snails.  I also just happen to like snakes in general.

As Rachel was getting ready to drive in to work, she spotted her neighbor about to hurt a Black Rat snake that was in his front yard. Luckily, she was able to save the snake and move it to the woods in the back of his property.  Black Rat snakes help control rodent populations and are not dangerous to humans in any way.

Later, while Rachel was loading animals to go to her show, she heard our next-door neighbor scream!  She asked if he was ok and he said he just saw a snake in his golf bag in the garage and would she please come and get it.  Rachel had to leave so she would be on time for her reptile birthday show, so she came and got me.  I went over to my neighbor’s and found the 4 feet long Black Rat snake hiding behind a shelf in the back of his garage.  I gently picked it up, carried it to the bushes in my front yard and released it.

Whew – but that was not all!

As usual, I saw the Five-lined Skink lizards that live in the my compost area.  These beautful blue, yellow, and brown striped lizards are fantastic insect hunters and are a fabulous addition to any garden.  They are also fun to watch.

The grand finale of the reptile day was in the evening.  We had a Reptiles Alive Memorial Day barbecue with Jen Pennington, Jen Rafter, Rachel and a few other friends and family members.  As Rachel was walking in the garden, she found a young Eastern Box turtle!  We all looked at the turtle and noted how young and healthy it looked before returning it to the garden.

So, to review, in one day in one neighborhood we saw:   One Northern Brown snake, one Black Rat Snake, two Five-lined Skinks, one Eastern Box turtle and Rachel saw one more Black Rat snake in her neighborhood before she came to work.

Exciting Times for Reptiles Alive Staff

May has been a crazy and busy month so far at Reptiles Alive.

Our Curator, Jennifer Pennington, and her husband Aaron recently bought a new house.  They and their German Shepherd Heidi all love the new place and are very excited about the move.  Of course, any move requires a ton of time and Jen has been spending any free time she has: cleaning, packing, unpacking, organizing, etc…  Whew – it is hard work to move!

At the same time Jen has been moving, I have been away on two trips.  First, I flew back to my other “home” in Reno, NV where my Dad lives.  I love Nevada, and I typically go back there about 2 or 3 times a year.  The desert is AWESOME, and hey, Reno is the “Biggest Little City”.  But this trip was not just about going back to visit Dad and hang out in the desert.  This time – my brother Will had bought tickets to the Dead concert at Shoreline in Mountain View, CA as my birthday present.

So, I flew to Reno from here, Will flew from Hawaii to Reno and we both borrowed my Dad’s Monte Carlo and drove across the Sierra Nevadas to the concert.  There was still a lot of snow in the Sierras, so I did not find any reptiles there.


Mt. Rose Highway, Sierra Nevadas, Nevada

I looked for herps in the hills surrounding the Shoreline Ampitheater and I didn’t find any reptiles, but I did find a ton of large and pretty snails.  The concert, by the way, was smokin’ – even without Jerry, the Dead rocked!

As soon as I flew back from Reno, I drove over to Rehoboth Beach, DE to meet up with some of my friends and go on a kayak trip sponsored by the Dogfish Head brewery.  On the kayak trip we saw quite a few northern water snakes, red-bellied slider turtles, osprey birds, and beautiful Fringe trees in full bloom.


Northern Red-Bellied Cooter, Milton, DE

So, while Jen Pennington, Jen Rafter, and I were all out of the office – who was taking care of our animals and performing shows?  Rachel Walker!  Today is the first day she has had off in more than two weeks!  Whew – she has been working hard!  Well, luckily, she has some trips coming up soon.

Ssssee you all out there at the shows soon!