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Herpetofauna: Season by Season

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Presentation on theme: "Herpetofauna: Season by Season"— Presentation transcript:

1 Herpetofauna: Season by Season
Compiled by the Davidson College Herpetology Laboratory This lesson goes through what amphibians and reptiles are doing and which species can be found during each season. Photos by Pierson Hill and Aubrey Heupel Eastern Hognose Snake Green Tree Frog Photos by J.D. Willson, K Cecala, M.E. Dorcas, Pierson Hill, A. Heupel, Eric Stein, Wayne Van Devender, Tom Luhring, John White

2 What do amphibians and reptiles do during the winter?
Some Hibernate Spend part of the cold season in an inactive state Who Hibernates? Snakes Turtles Frogs Salamanders Photos by J.D. Willson Common Garter Snake Eastern Box Turtle

3 Why hibernate? Protection from cold Less food resources
Low energy requirements Bullfrog They need protection from the cold since their body temp is determined by the surrounding air temp (they could freeze if they don’t hibernate) Since other animals are hibernating and there are fewer plants during winter they have less food resources They in general have relatively low energy requirement (compared to say mammals and birds) so they can go for a long time without a meal Photos by J.D. Willson (2), and Erik Stein Worm Snake Eastern Mud Turtle

4 Where do they hibernate?
Frogs: Bottom of ponds, under leaves, burrow under ground Snakes: Alone or in groups Use holes, burrows, termite mounds, cracks in rock walls, etc. Turtles: Burrow into dirt or mud Salamanders: Under logs, leaves or in burrows Photos by J. D. Willson, Wayne Van Devender, Kristen Cecala Ringneck Snakes Marbled Salamander

5 But some species are active in winter
Frogs can be winter breeders Spring Peeper Call on warmer, wetter nights and during the day starting in January Stream Salamanders can be active Water temps can be warmer than air Dusky Salamander Very common and can be found year round Spring Peeper calling Photos by Tom Luhring and J.D. Willson Dusky Salamander

6 Spring means breeding season!
Southern Leopard Frog Egg Mass Many Frogs breed Pickerel Frog, Southern Leopard Frog, Green Tree Frog etc. Salamanders breed Reptiles come out of hibernation and breed Southern Leopard frog (photo by Aubrey Heupel) Glossy Crayfish Snake (Photo by J.D. Willson) Southern Leopard Frog Glossy Crayfish Snake

7 Bull Frog Common in ponds and lakes Males call after heavy rains
Largest frog in the NC Piedmont area What do they eat? One example of a spring breeding frog is the bull frog They eat anything they can catch – insects, other frogs, small snakes, even records of them eating birds and baby alligators!! Top and Bottom Left (Photos by J.D. Willson), Bottom Right (Photo by John White)

8 Pine Woods Tree Frog Tadpole
Life cycle of a frog Upland Chorus Frog Egg Mass Frog Eggs (Photo by J.D. Willson), Pine Woods Tree Frog Tadpole (Photo by J.D. Willson), River Frog Metamorph (Photo by J.D. Willson), Cricket Frog (Photo by K. Cecala), Cricket Frog (Photo by Aubrey Heupel), Upland Chorus Frog (Photo by J.D. Willson) Hatch, Tadpole, Metamorph, Juvenile, Adult calling, Amplexus and breeding, Egg Mass Pine Woods Tree Frog Tadpole Cricket Frog calling Cricket Frog River Frog Metamorph

9 Spotted Salamanders Wetland salamanders
Breed in temporary ponds and wetlands Warm early spring rains bring many salamanders to the ponds Lay 200 eggs! An example of a species which breeds in the spring Photos by J.D. Willson

10 Eastern Hognose Snake Mate in Spring Lays 5-500 eggs in June or July
Eggs hatch in 2 months and look just like smaller adults Hognose Snakes have the upturned nose to dig for their favorite food… toads! Can mate in spring or sometimes fall Photos L-R: Wayne Van Devender, Pierson Hill, J.D. Willson

11 Many reptiles and amphibians are active in the summer!
Summer is the warmest season Sun provides warmth Other animals provide food Some frogs are still breeding Bullfrogs, Spadefoot toads, Grey Tree Frogs Reptiles are most active Spadefoot Toads Spadefoot Toads (Photo by Aubrey Heupel) Grey Tree Frog (Photo by K. Cecala) Eastern King Snake (Photo by J.D. Willson) Grey Tree Frog Eastern King Snake

12 Worm Snake Very common and abundant Lays eggs in early summer
Hatch in late summer Usually found when digging or under logs or mulch Left – Photo by Wayne Van Devender, Right – Aubrey Heupel

13 Black Rat Snake One of the BIGGEST snakes in the U.S. Live near humans
Largest are over 8 feet Live near humans Non-venomous and non-threatening Active during the day Eat rats, birds, and squirrels How do they kill and eat their prey? Squeeze prey to death by constricting it and then swallow it whole Photos by J.D. Willson

14 Box Turtle Common residents of the woods in the Southeastern U.S.
Males have red eyes, females have brown eyes Eat a variety of plants and animals Live for a very long time – for 50 years or more! photos by J.D. Willson Box turtles

15 In fall some salamanders breed
Marbled Salamanders Females lay eggs in areas that become puddles when it rains Guard eggs until they get covered by water and hatch Give juvenile salamanders a head start on growing so they can be bigger than other salamanders in the spring! Top 2 photos by K. Cecala, bottom photo by J.D. Willson Marbled Salamanders

16 Snakes are most abundant in the fall!
Snakes are more common in the fall than in any other season Most snakes are born between July and September Many baby snakes are around and going to find their first meals Adults move around looking for good places to hibernate Ringneck (photo by Wayne Van Devender) Black rat snake – photo by J.D. Willson Juvenile Black Rat Snake Ringneck Snake

17 The year ends… and starts over again
In the fall many amphibians and reptiles find their homes to hibernate for the winter. And then the whole process starts over again! All photos by J.D. Willson Smooth Earth Snake Fowler’s Toad Green Anole

18 Any Questions? Photo by J.D. Willson Spring Salamander

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