Reptiles and Amphibians


Northern cricket frog (Acris crepitans) 02-JUL-10
Members of the treefrog family (Hylidae) that have evolved back to a terrestrial niche, these tiny creatures inhabit the banks of Buttermilk Creek and the ponds. They create the dozens of tiny 'plops' heard in succession as you walk along the creek. This may be the Blanchard's variety (A. c. blanchardi).



Ground skink (Scincella lateralis) 20-AUG-10
Not sure why this fella was crossing the field in broad daylight. We usually see them in leaf litter among the trees.





Southern leopard frog (Rana sphenocephala) 03-SEP-10
Having wedged itself in a crack overnight, this rather large frog evaded capture with great leaps, one of which landed it in a nest of fire ants along the wall of the tent. I managed to brush them all off, but the frog may have taken a few stings. With a 'surrender' pose, it seems to say, "I've had enough!" Once let go in the creek, it resumed the healthy bounds.






Plain-bellied water snake (Nerodia erythrogaster) 15-OCT-10
This is the blotched variety (N. e. transversa), and this one lives in the rocks at the bridge.
Below is a close-up of its beautiful scales.









Texas rat snake (Elaphe obsoleta lindheimeri) 26-JUL-11
This large snake lives under a tree along the path from the barn to the tent, and has startled a few volunteers and students because it likes to bask on the trail when the sun hits it in the morning.






Woodhouse's toad - East Texas variety (Bufo woodhousei velatus) 04-AUG-11
These toads often invade the tent at night, and are evicted in the morning.






Bullfrog (Rana catesbeiana) 14-OCT-11
Though bullfrogs are the largest North American frogs, some Texas examples can pull the mean down. This little, yet fully mature one had to be evicted from the excavation tent. I would have mistaken it for a green frog, but it lacks the dorsolateral ridges.








Common snapping turtle (Chelydra serpentina) 22-FEB-12
Sporting a stylish carpet of moss, this snapper took advantage of a carcass of some small unfortunate  mammal for a few days of nourishment (which it shared on occasion with the turkey vultures).







Diamond-backed watersnake (Nerodia rhombifer) 14-MAY-12
I nearly stepped on this one, checking on the big pond. They can be aggressive, but this one allowed me to take several photos, posing for me (albeit in a defensive posture).







Rough green snake (Opheodrys aestivus) 24-MAY-12
Hunting for grasshoppers close to the tent, this one was nearly run over by the Gault Kart. A quick inspection assured me that it was unharmed.












Texas coral snake (Micrurus fulvius tener) 08-MAY-12 Tatum Milmore
New Hampshire volunteers (aka Hampsters) were lucky enough to be greeted by this colorful, but shy  species on two separate mornings: once in the tent and once on the trail from the barn. Of course, they knew to keep their distance... this is one of only a handful of venomous snake species at Gault.






Red-striped ribbon snake (Thamnophis proximus rubrilineatus) 05-JUN-12
The western ribbon snake is found over much of the central US, but this subspecies is only found in the central Texas region, including at Gault. They eat small fish, tadpoles and frogs.







Southern painted turtle (Chrysemis picta dorsalis) 30-JUL-12

This brightly colored turtle has taken up residence in the small pool below the bridge. Despite the mud covering the carapace, the head, neck and leg patterns rule out pond slider and cooter (the common local Chrysemis species). Not sure what it's doing this far west, though... escaped pet?





Eastern Common Tree Lizard (Urosaurus ornatus ornatus) 01-AUG-12
This little one finds the barn more comfortable than the trees this hot summer.



Gulf Coast toad (Incilius valliceps) 31-AUG-12
We are at the extreme western edge of this species' range. The little yellow dot on the side is a good way to differentiate this toad from other local toad species.




Eastern black-necked garter snake (Thamnophis cyrtopsis ocellatus) 12-SEP-12
A visiting biologist caught two small individuals by the creek. A red-striped ribbon snake was nearby as well.




Pond slider (Trachemys scripta) 17-OCT-12 Jill Patton
This old red-eared slider (T.s. elegans) was basking near the tent on a warm October day.




Mediterranean gecko (Hemidactylus turcicus) 22-FEB-14
An invasive species that has taken over much of Central Texas, these can be found mainly around peoples' houses. This one had moved into the barn at Gault.

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