Gardening for Frogs, Snakes & More

Gardening for wildlife is becoming increasingly popular.  Most wildlife gardening information is geared towards attracting birds, bees, and butterflies.  At Reptiles Alive, we also like to garden to attract frogs, toads, snakes and other creatures too.

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If you want to attract some awesome critters into your yard, here are some really easy steps you can take.

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One of the easiest ways to attract wildlife is to do nothing! That’s right – just let a part of your yard go wild.

Birds, snakes, frogs and box turtles all love to live in areas that humans ignore.

Remember when mowing, trimming, or doing yard work to watch out for small creatures like snakes, turtles and bunnies.

When choosing plants, picking plants native to your area will encourage native animals to take up residence

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Leaving fallen logs can give salamanders, worms, and small snakes a place to live.

Rocks can add beauty to your garden and provide shelter for snakes, spiders, toads, and more. Adding a small water feature like a bird bath at ground level can attract not just birds, but many other animals as well. Just be sure to change the water every couple of days so you don’t add more mosquitoes to your yard.

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Even a vegetable garden can provide habitat for animals. Under the straw covering this asparagus bed, I find brown snakes and toads.

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Here’s a Reptiles Alive secret: My Dad introduced me to my first snake when he was lifting straw off the potatoes in our garden. I was 4 years old. I decided at that moment in our garden that I was going to be a herpetologist when I grew up.
So, who knows where gardening can take you?

Grand Cayman Island Adventure Part I: Creatures of Paradise

In February 2008, I went on an island adventure dubbed “Damas Locas” by my friend Kathy Stolzenburg.

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Welcome to Grand Cayman!

We explored the beautiful Grand Cayman Island on land and in the water.

While snorkeling, we saw amazingly colorful schools of fish, sting rays, a sea turtle, and even loads of live conchs!

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Live Conch

Conch are threatened in most of the Caribbean due to overfishing – but on Grand Cayman you can really find lots of them grazing on the submerged aquatic grass beds. After finding one and showing it to my friends who weren’t keen on snorkeling – I swam back to the same spot I found it, and let the conch go right where it belonged.

I love snorkeling and seeing all the wildlife that lives below the water – but some of those critters are venomous! Like brain corals that can sting if they are touched. It is always a good idea not to touch wild animals, whether a bear or coral, hands-off is the best policy. Of course, sometimes it’s hard to keep your knee off the coral in a shallow sea.

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Brain Coral Tattoo on my Knee

While searching for snakes on land, I found a critter that gave me a scare – I actually fell backwards after lifting a piece of plywood and finding this big guy:

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Yikes!

Of course, what I always am looking for when I travel are herps: reptiles and amphibians. Here is a herp that decided to hang out at our house:

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Cuban Treefrog

And I found a familiar face:
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Caroline and Cayman Island Snake

I get extremely excited when I find a snake (or any herp) that I have never seen before. These mildly venomous Cayman Island snakes are one of only two species of snakes found on Grand Cayman. I had never even known about this species, let alone seen it before! I was ECSTATIC to find and photograph these awesome snakes.

Anole lizards make up part of the diet of these snakes.

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Anole on Grand Cayman

But the BEST herpetological part of Grand Cayman Island was yet to come…

Stay tuned for Grand Cayman Island Adventure Part II: Blue Dragons!

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Kayaking the Carribean

Lesson Session – Sound Art

Sound Art

Inspire your students to create awesome art from sound.

Materialsroar

Animal sounds
markers
crayons
paper

First, play some animal sounds for your class. Many animal sounds can be found on the internet. Have a class discussion about the sounds. How does each sound make you feel? What do you think the animal is trying to say? How do you think the animal feels? Discuss what you think the sounds might look like if you could see them.

1. Write in big letters with a big marker a sound on a piece of paper. One for each student. Sounds might be ROAR, CHIRP, EEEEEEEP, SQUAAAAACK, SSSSSSSSSSS, etc. Be creative.

2. Have each student think about the sound and color or draw what they think the sound looks like on their paper.

Lesson Session – Chameleon Camouflage

Learn about creature camouflage

color an animal to match its surroundingsjunglecham

Grades: Prek-3

Description

Many animals use camouflage in order to blend in to their surroundings.  The animals can hide from predators (animals that want to eat them) and hide from prey (animals they want to eat for dinner!)

Many animals are the same color as their surroundings. If an animal lives in the desert, it might be a brown color that matches the color of the sand.  Animals that live in trees may be green or brown to match with the bark of the trees or the leaves on them.

Can you think of some animals that can blend in really well?  A good example is a box turtle.  They have a dark shell with an orange pattern on it.  This helps the box turtle hide in the leaves that had fallen from trees in the fall. Show students pictures of animals blending in with their surroundings and talk about them.

Materials

PDF print-outs are available HERE

Activity

Give each student a habitat picture and chameleon coloring page.

Instruct the students to color the chameleon so that it will blend in with the habitat picture they have.  (You may want to help younger children identify and choose crayon colors to match those in the habitat picture.)

After the students have finished coloring the chameleons.

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Cut out the chameleon and glue or tape it to the habitat picture.

Hang up on the wall for everyone to admire!

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UPCOMING EVENTS

  1. Dulles Town Center Reptiles Alive Show

    February 22 @ 10:00 am - 10:45 am
  2. Reptiles Alive Show at Doodlehopper 4 Kids

    February 25 @ 1:00 pm - 1:30 pm

TESTIMONIALS

"It was fantastic and the whole party was into it. Tony was truly a wonderful educational presenter."

Rachel Karnes, Mom, Potomac Falls VA

5.0
2016-11-16T17:25:35+00:00

Rachel Karnes, Mom, Potomac Falls VA

"It was fantastic and the whole party was into it. Tony was truly a wonderful educational presenter."

"Thank you! The information provided to the kids was so educational and fun. I am a homeschool mom and the way the material was presented...

Patty Coote, Mom, Herndon VA

5.0
2016-11-16T17:28:52+00:00

Patty Coote, Mom, Herndon VA

"Thank you! The information provided to the kids was so educational and fun. I am a homeschool mom and the way the material was presented felt like we were at a fun event! The parents even remarked that they learned something. My son has a lifetime memory because of your program."

"Thank you for an incredible birthday party! All of the children had a wonderful experience. Caroline was so easy to work with and Tony did...

Marcie Blackstone, Mom, Clarksburg MD

5.0
2017-01-02T09:08:56+00:00

Marcie Blackstone, Mom, Clarksburg MD

"Thank you for an incredible birthday party! All of the children had a wonderful experience. Caroline was so easy to work with and Tony did a great job presenting to the kids!"

"Liz was great. She was prompt, organized, knowledgeable, friendly and fun. Having her do the show in our home was effortless, entertaining, and overall a...

Tammy Berkon, Mom, Alexandria VA

5.0
2017-01-02T09:11:36+00:00

Tammy Berkon, Mom, Alexandria VA

"Liz was great. She was prompt, organized, knowledgeable, friendly and fun. Having her do the show in our home was effortless, entertaining, and overall a wonderful experience for everyone!"

"I loved it so much. They teach you about the animals and you get to touch them! Rachel did a really wonderful job" 

Birthday girl and Mom, Chantilly VA

5.0
2017-01-02T09:12:19+00:00

Birthday girl and Mom, Chantilly VA

"I loved it so much. They teach you about the animals and you get to touch them! Rachel did a really wonderful job" 

"I am so glad we hired Reptiles Alive for my son's birthday. CobraCaroline and all her reptiles were a huge hit! All the kids loved...

Elizabeth Poppi, Mom, Reston VA

5.0
2017-01-02T09:12:52+00:00

Elizabeth Poppi, Mom, Reston VA

"I am so glad we hired Reptiles Alive for my son's birthday. CobraCaroline and all her reptiles were a huge hit! All the kids loved it! Even those who seemed a little reluctant were reaching out to pe the animals at the end. Caroline's energy and enthusiasm was contagious and we couldn't have asked for more!"

"The program was outstanding. Caroline was so knowledgeable and was able to teach the children at their level. She handled the animals very professionally and...

Joan L. Mancuso, Director Potomac Nursery School

5.0
2017-01-02T09:13:30+00:00

Joan L. Mancuso, Director Potomac Nursery School

"The program was outstanding. Caroline was so knowledgeable and was able to teach the children at their level. She handled the animals very professionally and the hands on experience for the children was well received. I would highly recommend this program--both for our age group (3-4 yr olds) and for elementary school children."
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