Monthly Archives: May 2013
So sorry to have not posted for a few weeks, but I have been in the mountains of east Tennessee and Virginia where internet has been sporadic at best, but salamanders were quite plentiful! The above photo is of the majestic Yonahlossee salamander.
Today is day 2 of the CSC snake count and Project NOAH is so excited to be a part of this. We are getting ready for our trip to snake road next week and are excited to meet with members of our PN community. If you are unable to attend this event, you should consider having an event of your own! In our PN blog this week, Cameron Young tells how to go out and spot some snakes! http://blog.projectnoah.org/
In the past three weeks at Project Noah, the Snakes of the United States – Center for Snake Conservation (CSC) mission finds an addition of 228 new spottings bringing the total number of snake spottings to 1,842. We have also added an amazing 162 new members to the mission in the past 3 weeks, bringing the total to 782 users. Thank you to everyone who has joined, shared the site and is contributing to this important mission!
The Project Noah: CSC-Snakes of the United States Mission Spotting of the week is this terrific photo of 3 Northern ring-necked snakes found beneath artificial cover by Project NOAH member s.eric.preston . Artificial cover, such as roofing tin or untreated plywood can be used to attract snakes and other reptiles and amphibians to your yard.
And since I skipped a couple weeks, I thought I would throw in a couple of extra spottings this week.
The eastern diamond-backed rattlesnake is our largest venomous snake in the United States. This beauty was spotted by PN member vonhandorfa.
The beautiful, harmless and gentle mudsnake is a favorite of snake lovers everywhere. PN user lewisbioed spotted this beauty in North Carolina.
Now lets see the PN-CSC Snake Count mission numbers climb sky high this week. Get out there and find some snakes. Be sure to post them to Project Noah and don’t forget to add them to the CSC-Snakes of the United States mission!
Are you ready to count snakes? The forecast for the opening weekend of the Spring Snake Count is perfect for finding snakes at the CSC headquarters. We plan on turning up a few gems this weekend and then count many, many snakes next week. Follow us on Twitter (@CSCSnakeTweet) or on Instagram (cscsnake) to see what the CSC finds during the Snake Count as we find them. We have folks registered for the snake count in 47 of the 48 states with snakes (missing Delaware so get there if you can!) so this is going to be an amazing Snake Count!
The Snake Count is a first step towards understanding the conservation needs of snakes. We need your help to make it successful. We are excited to partner with Project Noah (www.projectnoah.org) to help collect and manage data. Project Noah is a GREAT tool to explore and document wildlife and a platform to harness the power of citizen scientists everywhere. Sign up and download their free smartphone app today. Do not worry; we will still accept data via email, our online webform, or hardcopy if you do not have a smartphone or GPS. This count is going to be incredible! Below are few highlights from the Snake Count webpage to help you have a great Snake Count. Next week will be a very exciting one here at the CSC and I sincerely hope you can share in our excitement!
Thank you, please be safe, and have fun counting snakes!
Cameron A. Young
Center for Snake Conservation
Specific Geographic Location Concerns: Participants have expressed concern about the collection and potential release of specific geographic locations during the Snake Count and the effect this may have on snake populations. The CSC shares these concerns for many rare, threatened, or endangered species across the world. That said, we do ask that you collect and provide data at least to the county level during the Snake Count. This will help us analyze trends, look for new distributional records, and provide current, accurate data to scientists and state wildlife agencies after the count. If you use the Project Noah smartphone application, GPS coordinates will automatically be recorded for you. If the location you are in is sensitive or your secret spot, the Project Noah software will allow you to move the pin for the location. We ask that you move the pin to the nearest town or other landmark and notify us that the pin was moved in the “comments” field when entering data. This way we can protect sensitive snakes and locations while conducting a thorough census of snakes during the Snake Count.
Snake Count Contest: Herpers are naturally competitive so we added a Contest to the Spring Snake Count. In short, each snake species in North America has been assigned a point value (Range is 1-50 Points) based on its rarity, detectability, and geographic range. Bonus Points will be awarded for submission to Project Noah (5 Points Each), New County Records (10 Points Each), and New State Records (Range from 15-50 Points Each). Prizes will be awarded to the Overall Highest Point total and each Highest Point Total for each Snake Count Region. We will be announce prizes during the Snake Count which include a personalized Center for Snake Conservation Snake Hook, GoPro Hero 3 (prize pending), and other snake related items.
Snake Count T-shirts: We are selling Snake Count T-shirts through the CSC CafePress online store. Get yours today! http://www.cafepress.com/centerforsnakeconservation
Facebook: We will be posting daily results of the Snake Count on our Facebook page. Don’t forget to go to the CSC Facebook page and “like” us to stay updated.
Snake Count Toolkits: Don’t forget to visit the Snake Count Toolkit for datasheets and protocols to use during the snake count. Snake Count Tool Kit
Events: Do you want or need to look for snakes with someone else? There are several events being organized by CSC volunteers across the country. If you want to host an event or are interested in having people join you during a snake count, please send us information so we can post it on our event link (send email to firstname.lastname@example.org).
Prizes: Yes, we will be giving away prizes to individuals who count the most snakes during the Snake Count. We will also be drawing random names from the list of registered participants to give away free CSC memberships throughout the week.
Need Help Identifying Snakes? Send your photo to us and we will identify the snake for you. Email photos to snakeID@snakecount.org. If you are using Project Noah to submit your results, just click on the “Help me identify this species” to alert us and Project Noah’s team of Rangers.
Official Snake Names: The CSC has adopted an easy to use 9-letter shorthand code for snakes in North America. You simply use the first three letters of the genus, species, and subspecies to record a snake with NO overlap. If the species does not have a subspecies, simply enter XXX at the end of the code to make it nine-letters long. If you don’t know the scientific name of the snakes you observe, you can find the 9-letter code for each species in the state lists on the Snake Count website here. Please use this code on your datasheets to help simplify and organize your data. If all else fails, just write in what you know and we can figure it out.
Reporting results: There are 3 ways you can submit your observations from the Snake Count.
1. You can use your smartphone or computer through Project Noah to submit your data. Be sure to enter your spotting into the Snakes of the United States Mission or Snakes of the World Mission. If you are worried about giving away your secret location, remember to relocate the pin to the nearest city or other landmark. Please note in the comments that you did this so we can get it into our records.
2. You can submit data online using the form on the Snake Count website (www.snakecount.org/submit-results)
3. You can scan and email your datasheet to email@example.com
4. You can mail your datasheets to the Center for Snake Conservation, 1581 Ridgeview Drive, Louisville, CO 80027
Why count snakes during the Center for Snake Conservation’s Spring Snake Count?
The Snake Count starts May 18, 2013 and I am writing a short blog post each evening to get us excited about it. Each post will contain a reason to get outdoors and count snakes. You can sign up and learn more about the Snake Count at http://www.snakecount.org.
Reason #1: Counting snakes is fun! Trust me. It is a lot of fun! Getting out and flipping rocks, looking in holes, and looking in bushes for snakes is like unwrapping presents – you never know what you are going to get until you find it. The thrill of spotting a snake is a just that – a thrill. It is exhilarating and fun to spot a snake before anyone else or in a place least expected. It may be a greensnake in a bush that your group of friends all walked right by and you found it. It may be a rattlesnake that let you know of its presence with its rattle before you even saw it. It may be a watersnake high in a bush about to plunge into the creek below if you get too close. SPOTTING SNAKES IS FUN! Don’t believe me? Get out and try it. The challenge alone is fun and exciting but when you spot a snake you will be forever hooked.
Below are a few examples of snake spottings from previous outings – enjoy and have fun spotting snakes.
Cameron Young is the Executive Director of the Center for Snake Conservation. Cameron has a rarely matched passion for snakes in the field and brings his experience and knowledge to all people who are willing to listen. To learn more about Cameron, please visit http://www.snakeconservation.org/board-members/cameron-young
Awesome Welcome to May from Rattlesnake Research at Muleshoe Ranch
For the month of May I intend to do a short blog post every day, focused on a recent experience at the Muleshoe Preserve. I’ll start with this lovely Sonoran whipsnake (Coluber bilineatus):
While hanging out on the couch yesterday afternoon, I spotted a shiny, slender figure moving along a mesquite branch, 4-5 feet off the ground. Sonoran whipsnakes are often difficult to photograph as they are fast-moving snakes. They often climb into trees to escape danger, so I guess this guy thought he was safe and let us get pretty close and photograph him.
Don’t they have lovely faces?