Reptiles and amphibians. Collectively and separately they represent life much older than us, each group having taken its turn ruling the planet long before mammals were a twinkle in the cosmos’ eye. First came amphibians, giants by modern standards, larger than the largest dogs and enjoying mastery of the land as top predators. Then reptiles displaced them as kings of Earth, behemoths we would eventually call dinosaurs who often represent a child’s first true interest in science.
But all things change, and mammals slowly climbed the evolutionary ladder until they brushed aside reptiles and amphibians to become the dominant form of life. From little critters scampering about and trying to avoid being stepped on or eaten by our very large reptilian forefathers, over time mammals gave rise to primates and primates gave rise to humans. And as we humans grew and developed and somehow stumbled upon the stage of intelligence, we created the internet! Then we created nature blogging.
We nature bloggers love to celebrate. We hold carnivals for the trees that shelter life around the globe and the plants that grow alongside them, the birds flitting and flying and filling every ecological niche, the invertebrates whose near limitless presence outnumbers and outweighs all other life on the planet, the oceans that offer incomprehensible diversity, and the moths fluttering in and out of our lives on a regular basis. We even celebrate the best science writing in the blogosphere and the very mechanism of biology that gave rise to all the life we see around us.
Yet our cold-blooded ancestors didn’t vanish into the ether. They evolved right along with everything else, and today their children share the world with us as toads, frogs, lizards, turtles and terrapins and tortoises, salamanders and newts, crocodiles and alligators, snakes, and a veritable horde of creatures. We see the gecko walk across the ceiling whilst miraculously defying gravity. We see the crocodile hunt and kill something as large as a wildebeest. We see the snake whose venom not only subdues but saves lives by treating stroke victims. We see turtle traffic jams with each individual climbing atop the next as everyone vies for a bit of sunshine. We see the poisonous frog with colors so bright that we scarcely can imagine something that beautiful. We see the skink who grows back a tail just as easily as we might grow a fingernail after it’s been trimmed. And with all that beauty and all that magic, we don’t see a blog carnival to celebrate them.
So we decided to change that. Amber of Birder’s Lounge and I (Jason of xenogere) have conspired together to kick off a celebration of all things herpetological. With not too small a portion of co-conspiracy prodding by Ted of Beetles in the Bush, along with the expert guidance of Mike from 10,000 Birds and Nature Blog Network, the time has come for House of Herps, a monthly blog carnival centered on all things amphibian and reptilian.
House of Herps will be a monthly carnival. The first edition will be hosted at the carnival site, House of Herps, after which it will begin traveling to host blogs. The general deadline for submissions is the 15th of each month with the carnival appearing a few days after that. And much to our joyful excitement, we already have submissions for the first carnival from people who knew of our plot to launch this extravaganza.
So if you love herps—if you photograph them, write about them, sketch or paint artwork based on them, study them, or just happen to see one that you mention on your blog—we want to hear from you for House of Herps #1 coming in mid-December. We also want to hear from you if you’re interested in hosting the carnival. Please visit the House of Herps site for contact information, or send your submission links to us at submissions [at] houseofherps.com