Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Reptile and Amphibians at Timber Life

Blue Speckled Salamander
The past season  provided some good weather for our reptile and amphibian populations at Timber Life.

While working outside Sunday, our dog Sadie alerted us to a presence in the pit surrounding our soon to be earth bermed home. The soil has been slow to dry after the huge amounts of rain received throughout the summer.

This little fellow was one of two sightings these past couple weeks that don't happen on a regular basis. I heard that our oldest Granddaughter did happen to find one in their small town yard six miles to the west of us yesterday as well. I can only think that the recent temperature cool down has them looking for spaces to get prepared for hibernation. Our sandy soiled location here in the country is a great place for burrowing.

It appears these salamanders are at the southwestern edge of their normal range here in central Iowa. Some concern about their future has been expressed due to enviromental issues.
Western Painted Turtle

Two teeth like projections
Brightly colored carapace characteristic of  Western Painted Turtles
A reptile species that is common in a wide range throughout the United States stopped to visit; moving from one moisture laden vicinity to another. It too found it's way into the shaded pit surrounding our construction...When I first saw it, it was between our current home, and the corner of the drop off. I came back to find it to snap some pictures of the underside, to verify which species of Painted Turtle I had crawling through the yard. The turtle had made good progress, making it to the mud before I found it again .

Cope's Gray Tree Frog
The  Cope's Gray Tree Frog seems to enjoy adhering to house surfaces from dusk into the night looking for an evening meal. There are two color variations for the frog, true gray and green over gray.

Hubby even found one clinging to the  roofing felt as we were preparing to apply our metal roofing one morning.

The frog not wanting to share the space leaped to the ground. Being on the ground I placed it into the tall
 grass for it to catch it's breath and move to a better situation.
At the moment the interior of our wood foundation home is perfect for toad habitation with river rock and damp conditions where the ground hasn't been totally covered.

Throughout the summer we have  gathered up various sized American toads and placed them outside to find another natural setting to become home .

We saw an increase in little green snakes and the Leopard Frogs. The frogs seemed to be wherever you would walk in the yard, in the garden, or puddles in the drive. I was almost afraid to step anywhere in case I might accidentally squash an innocent in hiding.

I am confident there were other reptiles and amphibians at TimberLife,
but these are the ones that crossed our path this year.The snakes,frogs and toads were hard to avoid becoming noticeable by their numbers.

The weather has become dryer and Fall has arrived - time to bid our summertime visitors farewell, and look forward to their return next Spring...


Gorges Smythe said...

I remember that when I was a kid, I played with green snakes and the little ring-necked racers that were common in our area. They were always good for pulling out of your pocket and scaring visiting city friends and relatives! The only danger was that one would "unload" in your pocket. Few things smell worse than snake poop!

Mel said...

I enjoyed the reptile and amphibian tour of the Timber Life. My wife is a Turtle fan so she would enjoy seeing them up close like that. Hope all is well!

CDGardens said...

Gorges Smythe - I can imagine the reaction you would get by pulling a snake out of your pocket. The unsuspecting individual would jump a mile backwards...That would be entertaining. So, your mother knew what you had been up to by how your clothes smelled? ;)

CDGardens said...

Mel - Glad you had a chance to take the tour. I have been blessed this year in getting to see some creatures that aren't apart of our daily lives. Hope your wife gets the chance to see a Turtle up close...they are awesome.

Things are going okay here. I am working on moving river rock with five gallon buckets. Some days I get a little stiff. ;)

Rick Kratzke said...

My 8 year old would get a kick out of this post. I am going to try and print it so he can read it when he get home.

Whitetail Woods Blog / Blackpowder Shooting

CDGardens said...

Rick Kratzke - I hope it prints out for you. That Turtles toothy grin made me smile. ;)

SimplyOutdoors said...

Man. You have a bunch of neat little critters hanging out around your place.

Our yard always holds an abundance of toads, but we don't have quite the variety you have around your place.

A very interesting and informative post.

CDGardens said...

SimplyOutdoors - It has been another great year for unusual critters or the run of the mill creatures here at Timber Life...I call it fun!

The abundance of toads means you have good conditions around your place. Depends on whether or not you like their company I guess. ;)

The Hunter's Wife said...

Even in the middle of the city I've seen coyotes, foxes, even a deer around our house. In our fenced yard we've had ducks, moles, turtles, mice (eww), and heard there was a snake. Thankfully I didn't see it.

CDGardens said...

The Hunter's Wife - It goes to show that wild creatures know no boundaries - they will habitat wherever conditions will supply what they need...