Monday, July 6, 2015

Summer Herps

The west side of Algonquin Park where I work is pretty dismal for reptiles and amphibians, but I've had the chance to visit some other locations recently and have had some great sightings.

Pickerel Frog is a species that has long eluded me, but I finally found one a couple of weeks ago. I was surprised how distinct this species is from Northern Leopard Frog, with no risk of confusion. Although they are more common further south, in our area Pickerel Frogs seem to be restricted to spring-fed waters.

Nearly all of Ontario's reptiles and amphibians can be found along Georgian Bay and somewhat inland to the east. A trip to Muskoka yielded 8 species of snakes despite rainy weather.

I rarely see Smooth Green Snakes, so this beautiful individual, the first of three we saw, was very exciting. Green Snakes eat almost exclusively insects and spiders, unique among Ontario snakes.

Five-lined Skinks were everywhere in barren rocky areas. Although they have a fairly restricted range in Ontario, skinks often seem to be abundant where they are found.

The jewel of the barrens is the Massassauga Rattlesnake. This big individual was sheltering from the rain under some rocks.

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