Welcome to House of Herps #8, July, 2010!

Our host for this edition had a last minute change to her schedule, so the challenge of presenting this month’s contributions in a new and interesting manner has come my way.  Having very recently spent a week playing with my 9yr-old niece (who visits every summer), my thoughts gradually turned to our visit to the planetarium.

During the planetarium show, I was reminded of how many constellations have been named for animals, and herps – real and imagined – are well represented among them. To wit:

The Dragon stuck in my mind, as I considered how many constellations must have taken a great deal of imagination to be envisioned in the first place. So many of them, when only viewing the connect-the-dots version in the nighttime sky, only really come to life when their full-fleshed images are overlaid. This is the best part of the show at the planetarium, as evidenced by the hushed whispers after each overlaid drawing made sense out of the simulated starry sky.

It didn’t take me long to envision a reverse constellation, viewed from the heavens rather than the Earth, where each “star” represents a herpetological experience from each of our contributors.

And thus, Nogard, the reverse herpetological constellation was born.

Each of our 7 contributors is a star in this far-out edition of House of Herps. I hope you’ll enjoy the show!

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1.  Elizabeth of Yips and Howls was enjoying the cuteness of birds and their young, when she looked up to see a robust Bull Snake wrapped around a tree limb. Join Elizabeth as she relates her initial reaction to the snake and the ecological realities that she soon realized.

2. Ted MacRae of Beetles in the Bush has taken to catching venomous snakes with his bug net. You think I’m kidding? I know you’ll enjoy reading about Ted’s successful tiger beetle field trip, that also “netted” him a young Timber rattler.

3. Bernard of Philly Herping spends a day in the Delaware River, where he swims with the dolphins turtles. Lots of turtles, and a variety of species. If this isn’t enticing enough, add in the fact that Bernard has a new, underwater camera and uses the word, “oodles,” in a sentence!

4. Joan of Anybody Seen My Focus? had the great good fortune to encounter a confused Southern Leopard Frog, who, instead of hopping away from her, hopped right toward her, landing at her feet. The super-cool thing about the frog is that it still had quite a long tail, evidence of its transformation from a tadpole.

5. Amber of Birder’s Lounge (that’s me) encountered a Rough Green Snake, up close and personal, in her own backyard.

6. Joy of The Little House in the Not-So-Big Woods writes about a Green Anole who changes color as she snaps a Million pictures.

7. As a birder living in Panama, Jan Axel (Jan Axel’s Blog) enjoys watching the abundant avian species – but not to the exclusion of all others. On a recent birding trip, Jan and his wife encountered many fantastic and colorful herps. You’ll want to see his collection of photos, including the brilliantly colored Poison Dart Frog!

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The next edition of House of Herps will be hosted by Andrea Jaszlics of  Worm Salad, in August 2010. Please send your submissions for HoH #9 to:

submissions [at] houseofherps [dot] com

by August 15th.

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