The First Herps of 2013

With temperatures hitting the mid-60s today, I decided to go outside and take a look around. Though warm, there were still patches of snow on the ground and many areas of standing water were still frozen.

As I hiked, I could hear Spring Peepers calling off in the distance, but there calls were scattered and sporadic. The first herp of 2013 was a much bigger frog than a Spring Peeper – American Bullfrog.

In the same area while looking through the underbrush, I spotted my first reptile of the year – Midland Painted Turtle. I could hear lone Spring Peepers calling off in the distance, but these herps were right in front of me, so I photographed them.

I wasn’t the only one herping today – Red-tailed Hawk.

Here’s male a Midland Painted Turtle courting a female. To express his affections, he scratches her cheeks with his extra-long front fingernails.

She did not seem impressed with his technique.

These Ground Beetles are cool. They have big jaws and “play dead” by freezing in this position when they feel that they’re in danger.

Soon it began getting dark. I decided to track down one of those Spring Peepers that I’d been hearing throughout the day. Finding one can be tricky, they are very small and tend to stop calling as they are approached. But persistence paid off.

Not a bad outing for January 12th in the Greater Cleveland area!

Third Eye Herp

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