Saturday, January 1, 2022

Ohio (& AZ) Reptiles and Amphibians, 2021 retrospective

This year, I was able to focus more of my time in the northeastern and western parts of the state, but I also made it down into southeastern Ohio as well. I am now located in Columbus Ohio which is a convenient and centralized home base and makes traveling to each corner of the state equally easy. 

This year has been unusually hard. I lost my dad unexpectedly to a stroke in October. I was lucky enough to go on a herping trip with him to Arizona for a week in August. I will always cherish the time we had together. 

This is not a comprehensive list of all the herps I saw in 2021, but it does include photos of my most notable finds.

Tiger Salamander

On March 1, I found dozens of Tiger Salamanders swimming in a vernal pool. 

Tiger Salamander Ohio
Another large, adult tiger salamander.

Tiger Salamander Ohio
A tiger salamander crawls towards the vernal pool.

Marbled Salamander Ohio
March 13, I traveled out to Southwestern Ohio to meet with my friend Mike Wilhelm to look for salamanders. He found this juvenile marbled salamander under a log. 

Marbled Salamander Ohio
Here is a larger adult marbled. 

Unisexual Ambystoma Ohio
We also found this unisexual ambystoma. 

Streamside Salamander Ohio
We were lucky enough to find two streamside salamanders under rocks in a stream. 

Streamside Salamander eggs Ohio
One of the rocks had streamside eggs under it. 

Spotted Salamander Ohio
March 16, I found this spotted salamander under a log near a vernal pool. 

smallmouth salamander ohio

March 18, I found this smallmouth salamander swimming in a vernal pool. 

smallmouth salamander ohio
March 24, It was an unusually warm day and I found a juvenile northern map turtle basking on a log near shore. 

green salamander ohio
March 27, Mike Wilhelm and I found this green salamander. It was one of two seen. 

ground skink ohio
We also found several little brown skinks under rocks on a cleared hillside. 

eastern fence lizard ohio
This eastern fence lizard was also found under a rock. 

midland mud salamander ohio
April 3, I found a midland mud salamander under a log in a seepage. 

kirtland's snake ohio
April 6, I found this Kirtland's snake crossing a forested road in the early afternoon. It was one of three seen in a half hour crossing the road. 

northern watersnake ohio
April 9, a dark-colored northern watersnake. 

blandings turtle ohio
April 10, the Blanding's turtles were out in force. I saw ten basking on this day. 

blandings turtle ohio
A juvenile Blanding's is an encouraging sign. 

blandings turtle ohio
Another Blanding's turtle basking near a midland painted turtle. 

great horned owl babies ohio
This is a family of Great Horned Owls. The owlets must have just fledged as they are still very fluffy.

mink ohio
Mink are certainly predators of the reptiles along the lakefront. 

midland mud salamander ohio

April 14, I found a single adult midland mud salamander under a rock near a seep. 

blandings turtle
April 19, this big male Blanding's turtle was found leaving a small wetland. 

melanistic plains gartersnake ohio
April 26, Mike Wilhelm found this melanistic plains gartersnake.

plains gartersnake ohio
A regular plains gartersnake found the same day for comparison.

eastern black kingsnake ohio
April 28, an eastern black kingsnake found with Carl Brune.

timber rattlesnake ohio
April 30, I found this large, dark-colored timber rattlesnake on a forested hillside. It is probably the nicest looking timber I have ever seen.

timber rattlesnake ohio
It started raining and the timber decided to crawl under the nearby log.

snapping turtle ohio
May 4, I found this snapping turtle crossing my path. 

northern water snake ohio
A nice-looking northern watersnake.

eastern fox snake ohio
An eastern fox snake.

blue racer ohio
May 5, my very first blue racer! I found this snake with Julia Joos after a thunderstorm cleared to reveal sunshine.

blue racer ohio
We found three more blue racers not far away. This one was even larger. 

spotted turtle ohio
May 6, Julia and I found an old male spotted turtle basking on some vegetation. 

spotted turtle ohio
Another male spotted turtle.

spotted turtle ohio
A look at the spotted's shell.

hatchling eastern hognose snake ohio
A juvenile eastern hog-nosed snake found on a chilly morning. It regurgitated a spring peeper before playing dead.

eastern massasauga rattlesnake ohio
May 17, a very muddy massasauga rattlesnake found near its crawfish burrow.

eastern massasauga rattlesnake ohio
A juvenile massasauga found in the grass.

eastern massasauga rattlesnake ohio
May 27, A big adult massasauga. this one was very clean for this time of year.

eastern fox snake ohio
June 3, A large eastern fox snake.

butler's gartersnake ohio
A Butler's gartersnake.

northern watersnake ohio
Two basking northern watersnakes.

eastern fox snake ohio
An eastern fox snake.

black ratsnake ohio
June 5, Aaron Crank and I found this large black ratsnake crossing a busy road.

northern twolined salamander ohio
This was my first Ohio northern two lined salamander.

Allegheny mountain dusky salamander ohio
This was my first Allegheny Mountain Dusky Salamander. 

shortheaded gartersnake ohio
Aaron and I found this short-headed gartersnake in a trash pile. This was the last thamnophis species I needed to see in the state.

eastern milksnake ohio
A colorful, juvenile eastern milk snake.

eastern milksnake ohio
An adult eastern milk snake found with the juvenile and two other adults. These northern specimens are just stunning.

timber rattlesnake ohio
I joined my lab-mates Andrew Hoffman and Marissa Roseman to track timber rattlesnakes. This individual is in ambush position.

timber rattlesnake ohio
Another look at this first individual. It is a large dark-phase female.

timber rattlesnake ohio
Here we have a light-phase female.

timber rattlesnake ohio
We happened upon this large male that does not have a transmitter.

dekays snake ohio
July 1, I found this Dekay's snake under a rock.

eastern fox snake ohio
July 3, Mike Wilhelm and I found several large fox snakes (a first for Mike).

lake erie watersnake ohio
July 8, this is a juvenile Lake Erie watersnake that shows the characteristic lack of any pattern.

midland smooth softshell turtle

July 15, I took a kayak to look for river turtles. I found this little, male midland smooth softshell.

midland smooth softshell turtle
This is a large adult female midland smooth softshell.

eastern spiny softshell ohio
August 6, I found a juvenile eastern spiny softshell why surveying for mudpuppies.


My dad and I had been talking about doing an Arizona herping trip together for years. We finally decided to make the trek out there this summer. We got to see some really amazing things.

mojave rattlesnake arizona
August 10, We road cruised this mojave rattlesnake. 

longnosed snake arizona
We also found this long-nose snake.

pink western diamondback rattlesnake
August 11, a large, pink-colored western diamondbacked rattlesnake we found crossing the road.

tiger rattlesnake arizona
August 12, we joined researchers with the University of Arizona. This tiger rattlesnake is a recapture which we could tell by its painted rattle.

gila monster arizona
The first gila monster of the night.

desert banded gecko arizona
A desert banded gecko.

gila monster arizona
Another Gila Monster!

acorn woodpecker arizona
August 13, an acorn woodpecker.

gila monster arizona
We joined the researchers again for another survey. A dark-colored gila monster.

sonoran desert toad arizona
A Sonoran desert toad. 

lyre snake arizona
A large lyre snake found on the road.

gila monster arizona
I think this gila monster looks like a dragon guarding its layer.

gila monster arizona
Another look at the gila.

tiger rattlesnake arizona
A large tiger rattlesnake.

southwestern blackhead snake
A tiny southwestern blackhead snake. 

southwestern blackhead snake
A closer look at the blackhead snake.

black-tailed rattlesnake arizona
A juvenile black-tailed rattlesnake.

western diamondback rattlesnake
A western diamondback rattlesnake in ambush position.

Back to Ohio

Kirtland's snake ohio
September 5, Mike Wilhelm found this Kirtland's snake basking on elevated vegetation.

massasauga rattlesnake ohio
We also found this neonate eastern massasauga. Check out the yellow tail.

massasauga rattlesnake ohio
Another neonate found crossing a road.

massasauga rattlesnake ohio
A closer look at the details on this snake.

eastern worm snake ohio
September 16, a neonate midwestern worm snake found with Carl Brune.

mudpuppy eating another mudpuppy

October 1, This large, adult mudpuppy regurgitated a juvenile mudpuppy over half its own body length!

smooth greensnake ohio
October 9, Rex Hill found this neonate smooth greensnake in the tall grass.

northern brown snake ohio
A Dekay's snake found crossing the road.

kirtlands snake ohio
A nice-looking Kirtland's snake found crossing the road.

northern red salamander ohio
November 6, a northern red salamander in the spout of a spring box. 

northern red salamander springbox ohio

A look at the spring box.

northern red salamander ohio

One of three adult northern red salamanders found near the spring box.

I have a new website dedicated to my research, writing, and photography.

In memory of Steven Bradley Wagner
The best dad

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