December Discussion Post: What is your favorite herp observation?

Happy Holidays brosteners! As we enter the holiday season I know what I’m asking for for Christmas: a 2023 full of fantastic creature finds! Some of you who know me will know that I can’t get enough reptiles and amphibians, also often known as herps (not herpes, looking at you Retep!!). I’ve been blessed to find and research all sorts of species this year and I’m looking forward to more! I’m also proud to say that we’ve already accumulated a crazy diversity of herp observations in the Wild Times Project this year, so this month’s topic is simple: what are your favorite herp observations in the project? Let us know which of your own finds you’ve gotten to log as iNaturalist observations, or feel free to highlight some of your favorite finds from other users that you have seen.

I’ll go first:

I’ve had all sorts of observations this year, but two that stick out to me are my hellbender observation from a research trip to North Carolina and my observations of Black-tailed rattlesnakes out in Arizona (check out the hyperlinks). Talk about herp diversity!

I’m excited to see some of y’all’s favorite finds. Let’s talk herps!!

Always Wild,

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I’ll go second I guess!

I haven’t spent a ton of dedicated herp-time in the field, but I’ve got 2 observations from this year I’m stoked to share.

#1 is a Florida Cottonmouth I discovered under a large billet on the Gulf Coast of Florida. The beauty of this animal blew me away and it reignited my desire to see the world’s reptiles/amphibians that I had sort of put on the backburner since I was a kid. Since I saw that snake in November, I’ve been putting more effort into finding herps and learning about what lives in the area, despite it being a tough time of year for finding stuff.
This brings me to my 2nd favorite herp observation of the year:
I found a Four-toed Salamander; a much less impressive animal than the formidable Cottonmouth, but I felt very lucky to stumble across this uncommon Salamander. It is only the 5th observation (at the time of writing this) in the state of South Carolina, so I am pretty proud of that one.

Check out my observations here:
The Cottonmouth: Florida Cottonmouth from St. Marks National Wildlife Refuge, Crawfordville, FL, US on November 14, 2022 at 03:19 PM by Peter Wilson · iNaturalist
The Salamander: Four-toed Salamander in December 2022 by Peter Wilson · iNaturalist

I will be spending more time herping in 2023 in hopes of finding some animals I’ve never seen before.

Thanks for starting this thread Drew and Merry Christmas!

Those are some badass finds! You found that sallie about an hour away from me, hit me up if you’re ever in the upstate and want to herp!!

Man I’d be down! If I’m not out on my boat, I’m out in the woods of the upstate every weekend. I’m definitely going to be trying to hunt up some more Salamander species this winter…western NC and the upstate are where I’ll be!

Glad to meet you Drew, at least online!

Hell yeah man! Let me know what socials are good for a dm and we can chat. Nice to meet you too!

You can drop me a line at @nature_pete on insta any time!

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