Herpetology by Chris Harper, pp show

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2012 Class presentation

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Chris Harper Private Lands Biologist:

Chris Harper Private Lands Biologist U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service Austin Texas Ecological Services Office 512-490-0057 x 245 chris_harper@fws.gov http://www.fws.gov/partners/

U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service:

U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service The Partners for Fish and Wildlife Program in Texas Voluntary Habitat Restoration on Private Lands

PowerPoint Presentation:

The Mission of the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service: working with others to conserve, protect and enhance fish, wildlife, and plants and their habitats for the continuing benefit of the American people

Federal Trust Species:

Federal Trust S pecies The term “Federal trust species” means migratory birds, threatened species, endangered species, interjurisdictional fish, marine mammals, and other species of concern . “Partners for Fish and Wildlife Act” (2006) To authorize the Secretary of the Interior to provide technical and financial assistance to private landowners to restore, enhance, and manage private land to improve fish and wildlife habitats through the Partners for Fish and Wildlife Program.

Habitat Restoration & Enhancement:

Habitat Restoration & Enhancement Prescribed fire Brush thinning Grazing management Tree planting Native seed planting Invasive species control In-stream restoration “Fish passage” W etlands

Fire as a Driver of Vegetation Change:

Fire as a Driver of Vegetation Change Climate X Fire Interactions Climate X Grazing Interactions Climate X Grazing X Fire Historic effects Time lags Time functions Climate-fuels-fire relationships Fire regimes Restoring fire-adapted ecosystems

PowerPoint Presentation:

Woody encroachment

Austin PFW :

Austin PFW Houston Toad Pine/oak savanna/woodlands Southern Edwards Plateau Grasslands/savannas Mixed-oak/juniper woodlands Trans-Pecos D esert grasslands Springs, streams, rivers S ky-islands

Trans-Pecos:

Trans-Pecos Trans-Pecos / Chihuahuan Desert

Sky-islands:

S ky-islands

PowerPoint Presentation:

Edwards Plateau savanna shrublands and mesic slope forests

PowerPoint Presentation:

Tobusch fishhook cactus

Edwards Plateau: shrublands & woodlands:

Edwards Plateau: shrublands & woodlands Black-capped vireo Golden-cheeked warbler

PowerPoint Presentation:

Restoring natural ecotones

PowerPoint Presentation:

Mechanical brush treatment

Edwards Plateau savanna grassland:

Edwards Plateau savanna grassland

PowerPoint Presentation:

City of San Marcos TX Texas blind salamander

PowerPoint Presentation:

San Marcos salamander, Eurycea nana

Houston toad:

Houston toad

Houston Toad focus areas:

Houston Toad focus areas

Closed Post oak savanna woodland:

Closed Post oak savanna woodland

Herpetology:

Herpetology Texas Master Naturalist Program El Camino Real Chapter

Objectives:

Objectives Become familiar with and be able to explain the herpetological conservation topics relevant to Texas Become familiar with and recognize the principle causes of biodiversity losses Become familiar with and recognize the common characteristics of amphibians and reptiles and how they differ from other vertebrates

Objectives:

Objectives Become familiar with the natural history and diversity of amphibians and reptiles in Texas Outline and communicate the issues affecting the conservation of Texas herpetofauna

“Herps”:

“ Herps ” Salamanders Frogs and Toads Turtles Snakes Lizards Alligators

Herps: Taxonomy:

Herps : Taxonomy Class Amphibia Order Caudata Order Anura >4900 spp. worldwide Class Reptilia Order Testudinata Order Squamata Order Crocodylia >7400 spp. worldwide “living a double life” “with tail” “without tail” “creeping, crawling” “tortoise/shell” “scaled” “pebble-worm”

Conservation Concerns:

Conservation Concerns “global amphibian decline” Habitat alteration, fragmentation Invasive species interactions Contaminants Over-collecting, etc. Global change, climactic cycles Chytridiomycosis

Central Newt, Notophthalmus viridescens v. louisianensis:

Central Newt, Notophthalmus viridescens v. louisianensis Order Caudata, Family Salamandridae The Eft stage may last anywhere from 1-7 years. Sometimes the eft stage is skipped completely and they go directly from the larval to the adult aquatic stage. This is particularly common in populations that live in xeric (dry) environments such as the pine barrens and sand hills found in the eastern coastal plain. The skin of the Eft is toxic and their bright coloration serves as a warning - it is not so rare to find an Eft wandering about in broad daylight after rain. When Efts transform into adults the red background color changes to olive green or brown, but the red spots remain. They also develop a more compressed tail that helps them swim in the aquatic environment into which they move. Eft = immature land phase Newt = breeding aquatic adult

Edwards Plateau Salamanders (Eurycea spp.):

Edwards Plateau Salamanders ( Eurycea spp. ) Order Caudata, Family Plethodontidae Neotenic (does not transform into a terrestrial form) As neotenic salamanders, they retain external gills and inhabit aquatic habitats (springs, spring-runs, and wet caves) throughout their lives. Jollyville Salamander Barton Springs Salamander Texas Blind Salamander

Houston toad, Bufo houstonensis (aka Anaxyrus):

Houston toad, Bufo houstonensis (aka Anaxyrus ) Order Anura , Family Bufonidae 1970 – protected by Endangered Species Act Hibernate in the winter and aestivate in the summer. Deep sands. The males’ advertisement call is a sustained high-pitched trill

American toad, Bufo americanus:

American toad, Bufo americanus Order Anura , Family Bufonidae Medium sized toad usually found in the range from 2 to over 3 1/2 inches. The color and pattern is somewhat variable. The Eastern American Toad has spots that contain only one - two warts (photo to right). It also has enlarged warts on the tibia or lower leg below the knee. While the belly is usually spotted, it is generally more so on the forward half.

Gulf coast toad, Bufo valliceps (Incilius nebulifer):

Gulf coast toad, Bufo valliceps ( Incilius nebulifer ) Order Anura , Family Bufonidae Dark lateral strip running the full length of the toad behind the eye. Light middorsal strip like many other toads. The call is a short flat raspy trill, lasting 2 - 6 seconds.

Woodhouse’s toad, Bufo woodhousii:

Woodhouse’s toad, Bufo woodhousii Order Anura , Family Bufonidae No distinguishing markings… East Texas Toad a hybrid? B woodhousii X B fowleri

Texas toad, Bufo speciosus:

Texas toad, Bufo speciosus Order Anura , Family Bufonidae Has no middorsal stripe, widely spaced parotid glands, 2 black tubercules on each of hind feet.

Know your toads! Thanks Houston Zoo! :

Houston toad – Cranial crests are thickened, particularly the ones that touch the parotoid glands. Woodhouse toad – Cranial crests are prominent and the parotoid glands are elongated. Coastal Plain toad – The cranial crest forms a ridge on the center of the head, parotoid glands are triangular and connect with the cranial crests. Texas toad – Cranial crests are indistinct or absent, the parotoid glands are oval shaped. Color and patterns are less reliable characteristics because they can vary over seasons, time of day, and temperature. Know your toads! Thanks Houston Zoo!

Blanchard’s cricket frog, Acris crepitans:

Blanchard’s cricket frog, Acris crepitans Order Anura , Family Hylidae Small warty skinned frogs reaching maximum lengths of around 1 1/2 inches, characterized by a triangle on their head between their eyes . The calls start out slowly, then gradually increase in speed - a series of clicks, sounding like rocks tapped together.

Green Treefrog, Hyla cinerea:

Green Treefrog , Hyla cinerea Order Anura , Family Hylidae A slender frog, reaching 2.5 inches in length, color is generally a bright green. The advertisement call of the Green Treefrog is a loud abrupt nasal honk or bark, repeated up to 75 times per minute, though it is commonly described as a loud bell-like sound (the origin of the common names "Bell Frog" and "Cowbell Frog").

Gray Treefrog, Hyla versicolor:

Gray Treefrog , Hyla versicolor Order Anura , Family Hylidae Small to medium sized frogs reaching lengths of about 2 inches. An individual frog can be gray or green or various shades of brown or even nearly white. The voice of the Gray Treefrog can be described as a high-pitched musical trill.

Spotted chorus frog, Pseudacris clarkii:

Spotted chorus frog, Pseudacris clarkii Order Anura , Family Hylidae Small, slender frog with small, round toe pads. 2-3cm in length. The advertisement call of the Spotted Chorus Frog is a fast series of rasping trills. A group of frogs calling at a distance can sound like sawing.

Strecker’s chorus frog, Pseudacris streckeri:

Strecker’s chorus frog, Pseudacris streckeri Order Anura , Family Hylidae Stout toadlike body; no toe pads; robust forearms; dark masklike stripe from snout to shoulder; dark spot under eye; V- or Y-shaped mark between eyes. The call of Strecker's Chorus Frog is a single bell-like note repeated rapidly. A large chorus sounds like a squeaky wheel.

Great plains narrowmouth toad, Gastrophryne olivacea:

Great plains narrowmouth toad, Gastrophryne olivacea Order Anura , Family Hylidae Small; up to 1.5 inches long; females usually larger than males. Relatively stout body tapers to a narrow, pointed, flattened head. Smooth, tough body skin forms a fold along back of head.

Hurter’s spadefoot toad, Scaphiopus hurterii:

Hurter’s spadefoot toad, Scaphiopus hurterii Order Anura , Family Pelobatidae / Scaphiopodidae Stout toad with prominent boss between eyes. Vertical pupils and skin covered with many small warts. Hind limbs have single, sickle-shaped tubercle, or spade on inner surface.

American Bullfrog, Rana catesbeiana (Lithobates catesbeianus):

American Bullfrog, Rana catesbeiana ( Lithobates catesbeianus ) Order Anura , Family Ranidae The Bullfrog is a large frog attaining lengths in excess of 6 inches. The dorsal color is usually a dull green, but may be brownish. Some specimens are dark gray to black. There are usually no markings on the dorsal surface. The ventral surface is often ranges between shades of white to yellow. They have little to no dorsolateral ridges . Call can be described as a loud low-pitched two-part drone or bellow.

Dorsolateral folds:

Dorsolateral folds Many frogs have dorsolateral folds . These are lines of raised glandular skin in an area between the back and the sides. In North American frogs there are usually two (when present) running parallel to the midline of the body, as in the Green Frog to the left. The Bullfrog is an exception in that its dorsolateral folds start behind the eyes and sweep back and down around the ears or tympanic membranes. Knowing this difference can help distinguish adult Green Frogs and Bronze Frogs ( Rana clamitans ) from young Bullfrogs. These two species overlap considerably both in range and habitat.

Southern Leopard Frog, Rana sphenocephala (Lithobates spenocephalus):

Southern Leopard Frog, Rana sphenocephala ( Lithobates spenocephalus ) Order Anura , Family Ranidae can be distinguished by a light marking on the center of the tympanic membrane. It is located in most species directly behind the eye. They function in a similar fashion to our own eardrum. The Leopard Frog's call is the grating, croaking, chuckling sounds heard in the foreground.

Three-toed box turtle, Terrapene carolina triunguis :

Three-toed box turtle, Terrapene carolina triunguis Order Testudinata, Family Emydidae These turtles occur in damp grasslands, within and at the edge of open deciduous and coniferous forest, and near permanent and temporary bodies of water.

Ornate box turtle, Terrapene ornata:

Ornate box turtle, Terrapene ornata Order Testudinata, Family Emydidae Throughout most of their range ornate box turtles may be active from March to November. Their activity, of course, is largely dictated by weather events and climatic factors. Is most commonly encountered during the spring months after the first heavy thunderstorms. Their springtime activities begin to slow down by June when warmer temperatures and less frequent rains prevail. During the hot months of late June to September ornate box turtles aestivate below the substrate or in other suitable refugia. Ornate box turtles are chiefly carnivorous.

Red Eared Slider, Trachemys scripta elegans:

Red Eared Slider, Trachemys scripta elegans Order Testudinata , Family Emydidae Red eared sliders are the most widespread of aquatic turtles in Texas.  They are capable of living in a wide variety of habitats including, but not limited to: lakes, ponds, rivers, swamps, bayous, creeks, and even brackish estuaries along the Gulf coast. After hatching, red ear sliders are primarily carnivorous however, their dietary preference shifts towards vegetative matter as they mature.   Adults primarily consume aquatic vegetation and are important for keeping waterways clear of excess and sometimes invasive aquatic vegetation.    It is an inaccurate notion that this turtle poses a threat to fish populations.  Most healthy fish are too fast and wary to be caught by the red ear slider and the removal of any old or sick fish is a manner by which the overall health of the remaining fish population is improved.  Sliders will also consume carrion that has fallen into the water.

Yellow mud turtle, Kinosternon flavescens:

Yellow mud turtle, Kinosternon flavescens Order Testudinata , Family Kindosternidae These are small turtles, with the largest species in Texas achieving a maximum length close to 7 inches (17.8 cm). Members of this family are aquatic and sometimes seen patrolling the bottoms of brackish marshes, creeks, flooded fields, lakes, ponds, and rivers. Mud and musk turtles engage in moderate amounts of basking. However, because the turtles’ lifestyle causes significant algae growth on their shells, observers occasionally mistake an algae-covered turtle for a rock. Kinosternid turtles are capable of remaining submerged underwater without surfacing for several minutes. Their underwater ability is due in a large part to buccopharyngeal respiration (via mouth/throat).

Eastern mud turtle, Kinosternon subrubrum:

Eastern mud turtle, Kinosternon subrubrum Order Testudinata, Family Kindosternidae An inhabitant of slow moving streams, lakes, lagoons, rivers and swamps with soft bottoms and aquatic vegetation.  This species can also be found in undisturbed marshes with brackish water.  The Mississippi mud turtle is primarily aquatic but ventures onto land during the morning and on overcast days just before and after rain showers. This species will exude a pungent and smelly musk from glands situated near the edge of the bridge near the point of insertion of the limbs.

Razor back musk turtle, Sternotherus carinatus:

Razor back musk turtle, Sternotherus carinatus Order Testudinata, Family Kindosternidae 4-5inches (10-12.5 cm)   In lateral perspective the carapace is highly domed with each side shaply sloping at an angle from the keeled midline of the carapace. Two barbels are present on the chin. This small turtle inhabits  bodies of freshwater with soft bottoms and aquatic vegetation.  While common musk turtles seem to prefer still to slow moving bodies of water they have been found in numerous streams with swift currents.  Populations from southern localities may remain active throughout most of the year.  This species is primarilly aquatic but spends more time basking than any other species of musk turtle.

Spiny soft-shelled turtle, Apalone spinifera:

Spiny soft-shelled turtle, Apalone spinifera Order Testudinata, Family Trionychidae Soft-shelled turtles are almost entirely aquatic powerful swimmers, fond of basking and rarely venture far from aquatic margins.  However, females seeking suitable nesting locations sometimes wander considerable distances from water in search of ideal nesting locations.  Within their geographic distribution spiny soft shell turtles can be found in streams, rivers, oxbows, lakes , lagoons, water filled ditches and coastal areas.  Softshell turtles are carnivorous and will hunt down or use ambush tactics to secure prey which includes but is not limited to: insects, crayfish, tadpoles, frogs, fishes and other small vertebrates.

Glossy snake, Arizona elegans:

Glossy snake, Arizona elegans Order Squamata , Family Coluberidae Glossy snakes are non-venomous and but like many snakes, they may bite if provoked. Their countersunk lower jaw enables them to burrow into loose soil quickly. They are nocturnal, feeding on small mammals, lizards, and other snakes during evening while remaining in underground burrows during the day. Glossy snakes may often be encountered on roads at night during April - September. Glossy snakes are commonly associated with sandy soils found in a variety of different habitats: creosote flats, grasslands, and sagebrush plains.

“Black” Racer, Coluber constrictor:

“Black” Racer, Coluber constrictor Order Squamata , Family Coluberidae One of the few truly diurnal snakes in Texas, the slender body and, generally, uniform pattern make it difficult to catch or even seen when moving through underbrush. Non-venomous, these nervous snakes will not hesitate to bite or strike if captured. P rey from small mammals to reptiles and amphibians. Insects may also be taken, especially when the snakes are juvenile.

Cornsnake, Elaphe guttata:

Cornsnake, Elaphe guttata Order Squamata , Family Coluberidae Secretive but active in warm months. Generally a calm species, but it may strike if threatened. This snake feeds on small mammals, birds, frogs, and lizards that are killed by constriction. N octurnal and remains under the cover of logs and other debris during the day. In Texas, is seen in wooded areas and along the edge of agricultural areas.

Texas/black rat snake, Elaphe obsoleta:

Texas/black rat snake, Elaphe obsoleta Order Squamata , Family Coluberidae Can be considered arboreal, as they seek food and refuge inside hollow limbs as well as on exposed branches. Being able to access many different habitats, these rat snakes feed on a variety of mammalian, avian, reptilian (mainly lizards) and amphibian (mainly frogs and toads) prey. Can be found associated with human habitations, as snakes may take up residence in barns and associated farm structures. They kill their prey by constriction, immobilizing their prey in coils of their bodies before consuming them. Easily one of the most ill-tempered snakes found in Texas, it is non-venomous but will bite any aggressor voraciously. A common snake that can be found in a variety of habitats, including rivers and streams, heavily wooded areas, and rocky canyons throughout in central and eastern Texas.

Eastern hog-nosed snake, Heterodon platirhinos:

Eastern hog-nosed snake, Heterodon platirhinos Order Squamata, Family Coluberidae Hog-nosed snakes are so named because of their upturned keeled rostral scale. This modification allows them to burrow easily into the soil, either to seek shelter or to seek out their prey. Eastern hog-nosed snakes are rear-fanged, that is they are venomous, though they pose little threat to humans, even when handled, because of this species reluctance to bite. Occasional bites to humans do occur, usually when a person has been handling toads prior to handling a hog-nosed snake. Human reactions to hog-nosed snake bites can include large amounts of swelling, depending on the duration of the bite. Their venom, though mild to human, is highly effective against its usual prey of frogs, toads, and occasionaly lizards. Young snakes may ingest crickets and other insects. The venom is delivered to the prey by way of enlarged teeth in the rear of the mouth.

Kingsnake, Lampropeltis getula:

Kingsnake, Lampropeltis getula Order Squamata , Family Coluberidae A non-venomous constrictor, feeding primarily on other snakes, lizards, and rodents. Common kingsnakes have also been known to feed on reptile eggs, relying on their sense of smell to find most of its prey, including prey buried underground. These kingsnakes are famous for their ability to be immune to rattlesnake venom and they commonly feed on rattlesnakes as part of their diet. May bite hard and vigorously when first handled, but in captivity they often become accustomed to handling and stop biting. Another line of defense is their powerful smelling musk, which they can release from their vent when threatened.

Coachwhip, Masticophis flagellum (Coluber flagellum):

Coachwhip , Masticophis flagellum ( Coluber flagellum) Order Squamata , Family Coluberidae Although non-venomous, a captured coachwhip will not hesitate to bite quickly and repeatedly, leaving a series of shallow gashes in its aggressor's flesh. They are extremely quick and agile, moving across open ground and thick brush with equal effort and speed. Diurnal hunters, their large eyes help them see movement across their terrain. An observer may catch a glimpse of a coachwhip " periscoping " as the snake lifts the anterior third of its body perpendicular to the ground, allowing the snake to survey the landscape above for any potential prey movement. They feed on many different types of vertebrate prey, ranging from lizards and other snakes, to small cottontail rabbits and birds. Coachwhips will frequently climb trees to eat nestling birds or to escape predators. They are active from March to November in the warmer parts of its range.

Plain-bellied/Blotched watersnake, Nerodia erythrogaster:

Plain-bellied/Blotched watersnake , Nerodia erythrogaster Order Squamata, Family Coluberidae Adults feed primarily on fish and amphibians, whereas juveniles often feed on tadpoles, small fish, and invertebrates. Found foraging both at night and during the day, though it is much more nocturnal in the western part of its range. Though non-venomous, will not hesitate to strike and bite an attacker, and will often release a terrible smelling musk to complement its defense. During the day, can be found basking on branches and vegetation overhanging the water. This allows for a quick escape into the water and a startled snake will frequently drop into the water and swim across to the opposite bank to seek refuge.

Flat-headed snake, Tantilla gracilis:

Flat-headed snake, Tantilla gracilis Order Squamata, Family Coluberidae A smallish snake, with adults growing to 18-20 cm (7-8 in). Feeds on arthropods, including centipedes, which also take advantage of the high moisture in such habitats. Not a threat to humans who handle it, and captive snakes will often shove their heads into the folds of a captors hands looking for advantages to escape.

Western ribbon snake, Thamnophis proximus:

Western ribbon snake, Thamnophis proximus Order Squamata , Family Coluberidae One of the largest gartersnakes in Texas with adults measuring between 51-76 cm (20-30 in) in length, with exceptional individuals measuring over 91.5 cm (36 in). Foods consumed by ribbonsnakes are primarily amphibians, with tadpoles eaten when available and frogs and toads taken year round. Fish and lizards are also known as potential prey items. Active at dusk and dawn during the spring and fall seasons, can be entirely nocturnal in hot habitats during the summer months. Red-striped Gulf Coast

Rough Earth snake, Virginia striatula:

Rough Earth snake, Virginia striatula Order Squamata , Family Coluberidae Only reaches a length of 17.5-27.5 cm (7-11 in). A frequently seen snake, especially after rains, Poses no threat to humans and is non-venomous. Preferring soft bodied prey (earthworms are the only prey known to be consumed) these snakes often seek refuge in the same places as their prey: under logs, stones, and various piles of debris. Its pointed head comes in handy and works as a spade for the snake as it searches in soft soils for earthworms.

Texas Coralsnake, Micrurus tener:

Texas Coralsnake, Micrurus tener Order Squamata, Family Elaphidae Venomous and should be treated with great respect and viewed only from a distance. Coral snakes are not generally aggressive and will most likely flee any confrontation if given a chance to retreat. A member of the family of snakes which also includes cobras, the venom is much like that of its relatives in that it is neurotoxic. A neurotoxin affects the respiratory and nervous system of an envenomated animal and it allows the coral snake to subdue its prey without worry of an injury during a struggle. Has small fangs in the front of its mouth (fangs which do not hinge like those of a rattlesnake) and will repeatedly strike its prey in order to deliver its venom. Can often be found under boards or large stones during certain times of the year, living in places where other snakes may likely be encountered. Feeds almost exclusively on other snakes, though a few smooth scaled skinks may be eaten from time to time.

Copperhead, Agkistrodon contortrix:

Copperhead, Agkistrodon contortrix Order Squamata , Family Crotalidae / Viperidae Venomous, and are therefore highly dangerous if approached or handled. They are not generally aggressive and will most likely flee any confrontation if given a chance to retreat. Called copperheads because of their distinctly colored heads. Hiding in leaf piles beneath trees, or alongside logs and stones in wooded forests, the copperhead is able to elude predators because of its camouflage. This cryptic behavior also allows copperheads to strike out at unsuspecting prey. The light grey or olive colored tail of the copperhead is used to lure prey to within striking distance. Prey includes rodents, birds, lizards, frogs and other amphibian species. Being nocturnal during the hotter summer months is active during the day only during the cooler spring and fall months.

Cottonmouth, Agkistrodon piscivorus:

Cottonmouth, Agkistrodon piscivorus Order Squamata, Family Crotalidae/Viperidae Cottonmouths are venomous, and are therefore highly dangerous if approached or handled. They are not generally aggressive and will most likely flee any confrontation if given a chance to retreat. Cottonmouths are dark, faintly patterned snakes, best known for their defensive posture with a gaping, white lined mouth. The specific epithet piscivorus describes the one of the prey species of the cottonmouth fairly accurately: fish. The cottonmouth is also fond of frogs, mammals and other snakes. Although it may be commonly seen in lakes and ponds, areas frequented by humans, few human fatalities are recorded as a result of bites by cottonmouths.

Western Diamondback Rattlesnake, Crotalus atrox:

Western Diamondback Rattlesnake, Crotalus atrox Order Squamata , Family Crotalidae / Viperidae All rattlesnakes are venomous, and therefore potentially dangerous if approached or handled. Rattlesnakes are not generally aggressive and will most likely flee if given a chance to retreat. The western diamond-backed rattlesnake is primarily a nocturnal animal, hunting for its prey on warm summer nights. It is, however, seasonally diurnal, moving between hunting sites during the day during the cooler spring and fall months. The western diamond-backed rattlesnake is usually inactive between late October and early March, though an occasional rattlesnake may be seen sunning itself on warm winter days.

Timber /Canebrake Rattlesnake, Crotalus horridus:

Timber /Canebrake Rattlesnake , Crotalus horridus The timber rattlesnake is the only protected species of venomous snake in Texas and can not be collected without a scientific collecting permit.

Texas Horned Lizard, Phrynosoma cornutum:

Texas Horned Lizard, Phrynosoma cornutum Order Squamata , Family Phrynosomatidae This diurnal lizard is quick, seeking shelter among the brush or in animal burrows. The Texas horned lizard may also cover itself in loose sand. This species is typically seen on warm days of late spring or summer, particularly in the first few hours after dawn and the hours just before dusk; hibernation is from late summer to the following spring. This species of horned lizard feeds on large ants and may squirt blood from its eyes under stress. Prefers warm, sandy, arid environments and is typically found in flat, open areas with little vegetation. The Texas horned lizard is considered an threatened species by the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department and is fully protected by the state.

Texas Spiny Lizard, Sceloporus olivaceus:

Texas Spiny Lizard, Sceloporus olivaceus Order Squamata, Family Phrynosomatidae This diurnal lizard will retreat up a tree when threatened. Sceloporus olivaceus is adept at climbing and is well camouflaged on tree trunks and limbs. This lizard species primarily eats insects, though some small vertebrates may be consumed. Is arboreal and prefers mesquite trees, but may be observed on other tree species (such as oak, pecan, and cedar) as well as along fences, walls, and poles.

Texas spotted whiptail, Aspidoscelis gularis:

Texas spotted whiptail, Aspidoscelis gularis Order Squamata, Family Teiidae Maximum total length ranges from 16-28 cm (6.5-11 in). This diurnal lizard actively forages for termites, caterpillars, and large insects in sand and debris. Will run if threatened, but generally it is not as wary as other whiptails. Can be seen in a variety of habitats ranging from rocky slopes near floodplains to prairies to canyons and is almost always near a watercourse.

Six-lined racerunner, Aspidoscelis sexlineatus:

Six-lined racerunner, Aspidoscelis sexlineatus Order Squamata, Family Teiidae Can reach 15-26 cm (6-10.5 in) in total length as an adult. Diurnal lizards are especially active in the morning. They forage for insects and are wary of being approached. They quickly retreat under vegetation or rocks if approached. They burrow in the soil in cooler temperatures. Prefers open areas with loose soil. It is also seen near wooded areas, on floodplains, and in rocky outcrops.

Little Brown Skink, Scincella lateralis:

Little Brown Skink, Scincella lateralis Order Squamata, Family Scincidae One of the smallest skink species in Texas, only growing to a total adult length of 7.5-12.5 cm (3-5 in). This diurnal skink is wary and quickly retreats when approached. This species forages for insects in leaf litter and has snake-like movements. Often observed in moist, humid, wooded environments among the leaf litter or other debris, but is also common in urban gardens.

American Alligator – Alligator mississippiensis:

American Alligator – Alligator mississippiensis 1969 – protected by state of Texas (unregulated harvesting for hides) 1973 – protected by the Endangered Species Act, delisted 1985 Now a protected game species in Texas, special permits are required.

References:

References http://www.npwrc.usgs.gov/resource/herps/amphibid/index.htm#contents Herpsoftexas.org http:// www.californiaherps.com/texas.html Texasturtles.org

Chris Harper Private Lands Biologist:

Chris Harper Private Lands Biologist U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service Austin Texas Ecological Services Office 512-490-0057 x 245 c hris_harper@fws.gov

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