2014: Lions & tigers & bears-- oh my! (mostly Peru and S.A.)

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snakemastermyke
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2014: Lions & tigers & bears-- oh my! (mostly Peru and S.A.)

Post by snakemastermyke » December 18th, 2014, 10:43 am

2014 was not my "BIG YEAR" (Movie reference), but it wasn't bad either. There were some fun experiences and a decent amount of new herp species, though I do regret not getting into the field much locally this year. In fact I hardly herped California at all this year. That said I did get to hit up a decent selection of places. This is in semi-chronological order so it takes a bit to heat up.
This one might take some time to load.

LOUISIANA 2014
Louisiana in February is not ideal... it was cold and didn't see much. Also didn't get a chance to photograph most of what I did see, so it was pretty much a wash. I have had good herping trips to the "other LA", but this wasn't really one.
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Florida was the same story... I only had a day and really only poked around for a night.
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PERU 2014
Next up I took off to Peru... Peru was good to me.

Xenoscolaris scalars
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Bothrops brazili
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Bothrops brazili
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Drymoluber ssp. In situ
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Leptophis ahaetulla nigromarginatus
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Leptophis ahaetulla nigromarginatus
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oxyrhopus melanogenys
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Dispsas indica
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Dispsas indica
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Dipsas catesbyi
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Corallus hortulanus
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Eunectes murinus
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Micrurus lemniscatus
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Liophis ssp?
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Typhlops reticulatus
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Leptodeira annulata annulata
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Lachesis muta, easily my favorite find of the year.
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Lachesis muta
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And the legged things...

Plica plica, these guys are near invisible from a distance.
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Plica plica, using it's killer camo.
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Pipa pipa, I did not know these were rare or I would of spent more time taking it's photo.
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Rhinella margaritifera
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Rhinella margaritifera
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Trachycephalus venulosus
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BAHAMAS 2014

Next up I headed to the Bahamas cat island for a day... unfortunately I didn't have my
camera gear with me most of the time and well, I had NO time to herp.
That said I will share these two photos... Sad story.

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Alsophis vudii, saw live ones, but never when the iPhone was handy. Was a
diving trip so I just didn't have gear on me at most times. Here is the only one I got
a photo of, a DOR.

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But... Off topic... did get some good shark diving in... I'm the dummy who forgot his gloves in the middle.

BTW... this is the "tigers" promised in the title... Tiger Sharks that is.

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SOUTH AFRICA 2014

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I had all of two days between the Bahamas and heading to South Africa... I was in South Africa to film the Nat Geo Wild Special "Man V. Lion" where we put tracker Boone Smith in a acyrlic enclosure to get up close and personal with a coalition of lions. The shoot was phenomenal and in the end I feel the show was both educational and entertaining. However the weather was cold... very very cold. So herping... not so much. South Africa is a place I have been several times, but this time it was in winter-- total bust for herps. Just like the Bahamas, I had some really cool non herp experiences I'll mildly share, but herp wise it was lack luster. Only herp to be found in the first spot we stopped in was this Agama.


I learned on these agamas, photograph in situ only, because the second you mess with them they go all brown and boring on you...

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More off topic crap, but I had to share...

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In Situ Lion feeding.
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Ok back to point...

So my friend Devon Massyn and I had some time in the background to poke around. We
went straight for gold and headed due south to the Drakensburgs. Our search was for two iconic South African species, Bitis atropos, and Hemachatus haemachatus.

We got to our first spot, on the border road to Lesotho (pronounced Leh-soo-too). It is illegal to drive on this road with out 4X4, and we were not in a 4X4, so we were not gutsy enough to go all the way to Lesotho, or face fines for having an improper vehicle. We scoured the mountains, where all the rocks had been overturned. This is not a popular herping area, WTF? Turns out the baboons have an unsavory habit of ruining habitat, by flipping all stones over in search of grubs. Granted they've been doing this since long before tacky herpers have, and I would assume the other fauna has adapted, but it was still a bummer none the less to find every single rock already flipped by some damn monkeys.

After two days of Goat cheese, biltong sandwiches and stout we were almost out of time. So as an effort to not get totally skunked we headed to some chameleon spots. We struck gold, but unfortunately all the photos I took were at night, and as such none of the chameleons had their true colors (or as they spell it in South Africa colours).

Bradypodion melanocephalum
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Bradypodion thamnobates
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After our run of Chameleons I headed to Durban to fly home, we did some poking around there... only found tons of Aparallactus capensis, like a dozen or more, and a couple herald snakes. Target was Psammophylax... or anything...
We achieved the anything goal, but that was about it.

The overly common Aparallactus capensis. Dietarily, habit wise, and looks wise, very similar to North America's tantilla.
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The Herald snake... Crotaphopeltis hotamboeia... very cool, but rather common.
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One last off topic. Spent 3 weeks on the Yukon River, started at the mouth and proceeded to boat down the entire remote river going village to village, definitely a work gig, not some where I would normally chose to go. However I was rather pleased with this grizzly bear photo so I figured I would share. (Plus if I don't share this my title does not make sense.)

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CALIFORNIA 2014
Not much of a Grand Finale, but oh well. I only herped my own home turf of California 5 times. None were serious efforts, more or less hanging out with friends in-between the crazy busyness we call life. Either way, in no real sensible order. California.

Crotalus mitchellii pyrrhus
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Lichanura trivirgata
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Phyllodactylus nocticolus
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Phyllodactylus nocticolus
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First time I have ever seen this, our flashlights attracted a cricket which allowed us to witness an in situ feeding of a
Phyllodactylus nocticolus
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And the Amphibians.

Aneides lugubris
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Aneides lugubris
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Ensatina eschscholtzi
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Ensatina eschscholtzi
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Happy Herping Everyone!
May 2015 top all years before... always looking for that "BIG YEAR".
Til next year.

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JAMAUGHN
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Re: 2014: Lions, and tiger (sharks), and bears oh my! (+Herp

Post by JAMAUGHN » December 18th, 2014, 10:50 am

Your non-banner year would make a satisfying lifetime for me. Brilliant stuff, all around. That Grizzly photo is great. All the photos are great.

JimM

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snakemastermyke
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Re: 2014: Lions, and tiger (sharks), and bears oh my! (+Herp

Post by snakemastermyke » December 18th, 2014, 10:57 am

JAMAUGHN wrote:Your non-banner year would make a satisfying lifetime for me. Brilliant stuff, all around. That Grizzly photo is great. All the photos are great.

JimM
Thanks! Yeah, it was up there for me, but not the year I had thought it would be at the beginning of it. Lots of trips got canceled, but the ones that didn't were good. I wish I had more luck in South Africa and more time in the Bahamas... that would of made the difference. It's hard to say what is the "year to beat".

2015 is looking VERY promising.

frogfish
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Re: 2014: Lions, and tiger (sharks), and bears oh my! (+Herp

Post by frogfish » December 18th, 2014, 10:59 am

love your work Myke

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snakemastermyke
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Re: 2014: Lions, and tiger (sharks), and bears oh my! (+Herp

Post by snakemastermyke » December 18th, 2014, 11:00 am

:beer: Thanks.

chad ks
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Re: 2014: Lions, and tiger (sharks), and bears oh my! (+Herp

Post by chad ks » December 18th, 2014, 12:16 pm

daaaamn, absolutely stellar post. I love seeing any and all wildlife from Africa. Well did.

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snakemastermyke
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Re: 2014: Lions, and tiger (sharks), and bears oh my! (+Herp

Post by snakemastermyke » December 18th, 2014, 2:30 pm

Awesome, glad to hear! I have a lot of Mammal pics, but I usually leave them out unless I am short on herp pics and need filler.

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Jeroen Speybroeck
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Re: EOY 2014: Lions & tigers & bears-- oh my! (+herps)

Post by Jeroen Speybroeck » December 19th, 2014, 5:30 am

Great post once more, Myke. Maybe I already wrote this when you posted some of it earlier this year, but that Liophis may be Erythrolamprus reginae (cf. the one I have here => http://www.hylawerkgroep.be/jeroen/index.php?id=69). Also maybe something I already asked, but which part of Peru did you visit?

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snakemastermyke
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Re: EOY 2014: Lions & tigers & bears-- oh my! (+herps)

Post by snakemastermyke » December 19th, 2014, 10:04 am

Jeroen Speybroeck wrote:Great post once more, Myke. Maybe I already wrote this when you posted some of it earlier this year, but that Liophis may be Erythrolamprus reginae (cf. the one I have here => http://www.hylawerkgroep.be/jeroen/index.php?id=69). Also maybe something I already asked, but which part of Peru did you visit?
Yeah the one thing about doing a EOY post is that by its very nature some of it is re-runs. Sorry about that. I went to a station outside Puerto Maldonado.

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