Tag Archives: herpetology

Episode 73: Life Underfoot with Zach Truelock



Hello everyone and welcome to Episode Seventy Three! Tomorrow is Thanksgiving here in the US and I wish everyone a good holiday.  It’s good to be back in the studio again after a few weeks off.

As always, I want to say thank you to all of the show’s patrons!  I’m grateful for everyone’s contributions and it does keep the show rolling along. And if you’re out there listening and you would like to kick in a few bucks, it’s easy to do, you simply go to the So Much Pingle Patreon page. You can support the show for as little as three bucks a month – less than a fancy cup of coffee! You can also support the show via one-time contributions via PayPal or Venmo (please contact me via email to somuchpingle@gmail.com).

Our guest this week is Zach Truelock, an Indiana native who is currently doing some very important conservation work in Florida.  Zach has been involved with a number of very cool herp conservation projects over the past few years, and also a co-creator for the Life Underfoot YouTube channel.  I want to highlight a few links for Life Underfoot, some of which we talk about in the episode:

Can We Save North America’s Rarest Salamander?

Spotted Salamanders In A Vernal Pool

Timber Rattlesnake Male Combat

Jefferson’s Salamanders

Thanks for listening everyone! And as always, please keep the comments and suggestions coming, and please take time to rate the show on your podcast platform! The show email is somuchpingle@gmail.com, and there’s also a So Much Pingle group on Facebook, for discussion, comments, feedback, suggestions, herp confessions, tips for herping better, etc.

-Mike

 


Episode 70: Panel Talk with Some Illinois Bois



Hello everyone and welcome to Episode Seventy!  It’s nearly October and I hope all of you remain safe and healthy out there. It’s good to be talking with you all again after a bit of a gap – I had a lot on my plate for the past few weeks.  You’re probably thinking that an old retired guy ought to have plenty of free time, and usually that is true enough.  But I recently started doing some half-time consulting work for my old department at the university, and I’ll be working there for just a few months or so.  A temporary thing, I have no desire to rekindle a career.  So thanks for your patience while I worked all of that out and got started.

As always, a big thank you to all of the show’s supporters – there are costs associated with running any entertainment channel and I am grateful to all of you for keeping this little boat afloat.  And if you’re out there listening and you would like to kick in a few bucks, it’s easy to do, you simply go to the So Much Pingle Patreon page. You can support the show for as little as three bucks a month – less than a fancy cup of coffee! You can also support the show via one-time contributions via PayPal or Venmo (please contact me via email to somuchpingle@gmail.com).

Here we go with another panel discussion show!  I haven’t done one in a while, and I came up with the notion of getting a group together to talk about herping in my home state.  Jeremy Schumacher and Justin Michels return to the microphone for this, and I’m happy that Joey Cavataio agreed to join us, so we’ve got representation from the north, south, east, and west corners of the state.

Thanks Jeremy, Justin and Joey – it was fun chatting with the three of you.  And thanks for listening everyone! And as always, please keep the comments and suggestions coming, and please take time to rate the show on your podcast platform! The show email is somuchpingle@gmail.com, and there’s also a So Much Pingle group on Facebook, for discussion, comments, feedback, suggestions, herp confessions, dolomite prairies near you, tips for herping better, etc.

Cheers! Mike


Episode 65: Snakes are Long with Dr. Andrew Durso



Hello everyone and welcome to Episode Sixty Five!  I hope all of you remain safe and healthy out there.  I’m back in the booth after a couple of weeks in Peru and it’s great to talk with you all again.

As always, I want to thank all of the patrons of the show – we would not be kicking off a third season without you and I appreciate your support.  To others in the listening audience, if you like the show, please consider supporting it via the So Much Pingle Patreon page. You can support the show for as little as three buck a month – less than a fancy cup of coffee!  You can also support the show via one-time contributions via PayPal or Venmo (please contact me via email to somuchpingle@gmail.com).

I also want to mention that my buddy Bryan Hughes and I were recent guests on the Arizona Wildlife Federation podcast, which is hosted by my long-time friend, Michael Cravens.  And of course Bryan has been on my show a number of times and I did an episode with Michael back in season one.  At any rate, Michael had us on to discuss field herping, as a recreational activity and as a recreational activity in Arizona, and it is Episode 12.  It was a lot of fun and thanks Michael for inviting me to participate.  If you’re living out there and you’re partaking of the tremendous natural wonderland that is Arizona, well you should be listening to the Arizona Wildlife Federation podcast.  Michael does a great job with the show and it’s off to a great start.  Check it out!

My guest this week is Dr. Andrew Durso, he is an Assistant Professor of Wildlife Biology at Florida Gulf Coast University, and it’s been my privilege to know him for more than a decade and we’ve worked on a few projects together and I hope that continues.  Andrew describes himself as an ecologist but as you’ll hear from our conversation, he’s involved in other projects outside the focus of ecology, so I will just call him a scientist with a capital S.  Andrew is also the author of the fantastic Life is Short, but Snakes are Long blog, which we cover as well.  We also discuss one scientific paper in particular, “Harnessing the Power of a Global Network of Citizen Herpetologists by Improving Citizen Science Databases“, which can be downloaded from Dr. Durso’s list of publications.

Thanks so much for coming on the show Andrew!  It was great to chat with you and I look forward to our next meeting.

And thanks for listening everyone! And as always, please keep the comments and suggestions coming, and please take time to rate the show on your podcast platform! The show email is somuchpingle@gmail.com, and there’s also a So Much Pingle group on Facebook, for discussion, comments, feedback, suggestions, herp confessions, blind snake capture techniques, tips for herping better, etc.

Cheers! Mike


Episode 42: Herp Science Sunday with Dr. Alex Krohn



Illustrations from the Varanus and Spadefoot papers. Click image for full size

Hello everyone and welcome to Episode Forty Two!  It’s good to be back after a bit of a vacation, I was off in Mexico for a few weeks, chasing some herps in various locations.  But as always, I am not idle while on the road, and I captured some recordings for future episodes because that’s how this show rolls.

SMP Patrons!  I want to thank our latest Patreon member, Moses Michelsohn!  Thank you so much for supporting the show, Moses!  And thanks as always to all of the folks who help keep the show going. To others in the listening audience, if you like the show, please consider supporting it via the So Much Pingle Patreon page. You can also support the show via one-time contributions via PayPal or Venmo (please contact me via email to somuchpingle@gmail.com).

This episode comes out of the mind of Dr. Alex Krohn and some fortunate happenstance.  I’ve been looking for a way to talk about herp science in general, without boring everyone to tears, and Alex suggested that we have an informal chat (that’s just my game) about some of the recently published herp papers that we think are cool, and that our listening audience would think are cool as well.  So this episode is our Herp Science Sunday kickoff, and we plan to do this once a month or so. I hope you all enjoy it as much as Alex and I did!  This episode features two papers, and here they are:

“Ecosystem engineering by deep-nesting monitor lizards” published in Ecology and full PDF available here.

“Confirmation Bias Perpetuates Century-Old Ecological Misconception: Evidence Against ‘Secretive’ Behavior of Eastern Spadefoots” published in the Journal of Herpetology

Now as I mentioned after the show, it’s not always easy to get access to recent scientific papers, so if you would like a copy of one or both of the papers we discussed, send me a note to somuchpingle@gmail.com and I will get them to you.

Extra Credit:  To go along with the Varanus spiral burrow paper, here’s a link to the Wikipedia page on Palaeocastor, a genus of extinct beavers who, like the monitors, excavated spiral burrows in early Miocene Nebraska – really cool with some interesting photos.  Check it out!

One More Thing:  If you like Herp Science Sunday, please let us know!  Thanks for listening everyone!  And as always, please keep the comments and suggestions coming, and please take time to rate the show on your podcast platform! The show email is somuchpingle@gmail.com, and there’s also a So Much Pingle group on Facebook, for discussion, comments, feedback, suggestions, herp confessions, corkscrew techniques for the left-handed, tips for herping better, etc.

Cheers!  Mike

 


Episode 9: The Life Aquatic with Matt Sullivan



Hello everyone!  Episode Nine finds us both in and out of the water with photographer/herper Matt Sullivan.  Two shows in a row where we dip ourselves in the drink to visit with fascinating creatures!  We’ll have time to dry off before our next installment, but for the moment, we’ll talk with Matt about his experiences photographing both herps and cool aqua-creatures.  Matt’s underwater camera housing is featured in photo left – an awesome rig.

Matt’s photography portfolio page is 9 Miles North (love the name).  If you can, check it out before or during the podcast because we talk about some of the photos from his page.

Matt was also featured as Dive Photo Guide’s Photographer of the Week – pretty cool.

And he was a featured guest on the Wildlife Inspired YouTube channel – 10 Images With Matt Sullivan – I think you’ll enjoy a number of those episodes along with Matt’s.

During our conversation, we also talked about Monterey Bay, and Matt alerted me to the Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute’s channel on Instagram – mbari_news – where you can ogle ocean critters non-stop.  Check it out!

Thanks for coming on the show Matt!  I thoroughly enjoyed our conversation.  And as always, thanks for listening everyone!

The show email is somuchpingle@gmail.com, and there’s also a So Much Pingle group on Facebook, for discussion, comments, feedback, suggestions, Nemo sightings, octopi versus octopusses, herp confessions, tips for herping better, etc.

Stay tuned for more episodes! And don’t forget to herp better!

-Mike


Episode 8: Helping the Hellbender



Hello everyone!  For Episode Eight, we take a deep breath and submerge ourselves into the world of the Hellbender via a conversation with Nick Burgmeier.  When it comes to cryptobranchids (hellbenders are in the family Cryptobranchidae, along with the Chinese and Japanese giant salamanders), Nick is a subject matter expert.  I enjoyed talking with Nick on the subject, especially since he and his colleagues have made great progress in protecting Indiana hellbenders.  Nick is featured in the photo at left, with a hellbender, which is inside the water snake he’s holding – we realize that even water snakes gotta eat, but why not a delicious bass?

 

 

 

Nick provided a ton of links to hellbender materials – this is part of a comprehensive effort to educate kids, landowners, fishermen, etc.

Help the Hellbender:
Website
Facebook
Instagram

Brochures:
Help the Hellbender, North America’s Giant Salamander
How Our Zoos Help Hellbenders

Lesson Plans: These are standards based lessons that can be used in classrooms, home schooling, etc.
Videos: Just some short videos we’ve made over the last few years.

Thanks for coming on the show, Nick, it was great to talk with you about snot otters!  And as always, thanks for listening everyone!

The show email is somuchpingle@gmail.com, and there’s also a So Much Pingle group on Facebook, for discussion, comments, feedback, suggestions, alternate names for hellbenders, herp confessions, tips for herping better, etc.

Stay tuned for more episodes! And don’t forget to herp better!

-Mike

 


Episode 6: Origin Stories



Hello everyone!  Here in Episode Six we’re trying something a little different – we’re talking about origin stories.  How did YOU come into the world of amphibians and reptiles?  Everyone has a story, and on this show we’ve got five people telling us about theirs.  Four of the interviews were recorded in Peru in January 2020, and one just a few weeks ago. Some of these folks I met for the first time in Peru, and the rest I’ve known for some time.

Jill Rials is from Mesa, Arizona, and the critter she is holding is a smooth-fronted caiman (Paleosuchus trigonatus).

 

 

 

 

 

Andrew DuBois is from Lakewood, Colorado.  Here he is enjoying a Pinocchio Anole (Anolis proboscis) in Ecuador.

 

 

 

 

 

Cynthia Samake lives near Santa Fe, New Mexico.  In this photo she is sketching a leaf-mimic katydid in our Madre Selva field station.

 

 

 

 

Elizabeth (Liz) Hughes lives in Phoenix, Arizona and here she is with her first giant monkey frog (Phyllomedusa bicolor).

 

 

 

 

 

Justin Michels is from Pekin, Illinois.  We herp in Illinois together quite often, and here he is with a large and thankfully tranquil diamondback water snake (Nerodia rhombifer).

 

 

 

 

I hope you enjoyed our little origin story experiment!  Thanks to Jill, Andrew, Cynthia, Liz, and Justin for coming on the show!, And as always, thanks for listening everyone! The show email is somuchpingle@gmail.com, and there’s also a So Much Pingle group on Facebook, for discussion, comments, feedback, suggestions, origin stories, tips for herping better, etc.

Stay tuned for more episodes! And don’t forget to herp better!

-Mike


Episode 5: From the Golden Age of Snake Hunting



Hello everyone, and welcome to Episode Five!  In this episode I talk with Peter Mooney, a birder, world traveler, and herper from the era when it was called “snake hunting”.  A New Jersey native, Mr. Mooney served his country in Vietnam, and afterwards he spent time in teaching school in Jasper County, South Carolina.  Along the way he knew many of the old-school east coast herpers.

I’ve spent time with Pete in Peru and in Cuba (he’s on the far left in the photo, taken in Havana) and I’ve gotten to know him a bit. I heard some great stories from Pete about snake hunting in the old days, in both the New Jersey Pine Barrens and in the Okeetee area of South Carolina, and I knew I wanted to get him on the show.

I’m know many of you out there are are familiar with the works of Carl Kauffeld and Richard Bartlett, but since they are all out-of-print works that can be hard to find, I will list them here for those who haven’t read them yet – these books carry the essence of the old-time snake-hunting days.

Bartlett, Richard D.  In Search of Reptiles and Amphibians.  Published by EJ Brill, 1988.

Kauffeld, Carl F. Snakes: The Keeper and the Kept. Doubleday, 1969

Kauffeld, Carl F. Snakes and Snake Hunting. Hanover House, 1957.

All three are available from used book specialists (I like AbeBooks).

Thanks for coming on the show, Pete, and as always, thanks for listening everyone! The show email is somuchpingle@gmail.com, and there’s also a So Much Pingle group on Facebook, for discussion, comments, feedback, suggestions, herp confessions, tips for herping better, etc.

Stay tuned for more episodes! And don’t forget to herp better!

-Mike


Episode 4: Rattlesnake Relocation



Hello everyone, and welcome to Episode Four!  My apologies for being a few days late, I was doing some out-of-state herping.  In New Jersey.  And it was great!  But that’s another story for another time.

Back in January, I interviewed Bryan Hughes in the Peruvian Amazon, during a bit of afternoon downtime.  Brian and his wife Liz own and operate Rattlesnake Solutions, a Phoenix / Tucson company specializing in rattlesnake removal, and in techniques to keep rattlers away from homes and businesses.  The welfare of the snake is an extremely important element of relocation, and it was interesting and gratifying to hear how Bryan and his people use their data and experience to move snakes to appropriate habitat.  There is much more to successful rattlesnake relocation than I realized, but knowing Bryan, I’m not surprised that they are seeing positive results.  I hope you enjoy this interview as much as I did!

The Rattlesnake Solutions website also has some cool tshirts that you may like, and RS has a Facebook page as well.

Thanks for coming on the show, Bryan, and thanks for listening everyone! The show email is somuchpingle@gmail.com, and there’s also a So Much Pingle group on Facebook, for discussion, comments, feedback, suggestions, dirty limericks, tips for herping better, etc.

Stay tuned for more episodes! And don’t forget to herp better!

-Mike


Episode 3: The Episode of the Bushmaster



Hello again everyone!  Thanks so much for your support, and your kind comments and messages!  Much appreciated.

This is the Episode of the Bushmaster!  This past January I sat down with Matt Cage in my tambo (AKA jungle hut) and we chatted about bushmasters (known locally as “shushupes“.  This photo is an in situ shot of the first bushmaster that Matt and I found in 2013.  Since then we’ve paid attention to the habitat and weather preferences for this serpent, and have learned how to find shushupes on almost every trip (and we feel both lucky and grateful for such opportunities).  Join us as we talk about our experiences with this super cool pit viper.

Matt’s extensive herp photo collection is here on SmugMug.

Thanks for coming on the show, Matt, and thanks for listening everyone!  The show email is somuchpingle@gmail.com, and there’s also a So Much Pingle group on Facebook, for discussion, comments, feedback, suggestions, recipes, tips for herping better, etc.

Stay tuned for more episodes!  And don’t forget to herp better!

-Mike