Tag Archives: reptiles

Episode 66: Herp Adventures in China with Kevin Messenger



Photo by Kevin Messenger.

Hello everyone and welcome to Episode Sixty Six!  It’s good to be back in the studio, and I hope all of you remain safe and healthy out there.  It’s mid-summer here at SMP world headquarters and I’m back after a week off to get some work done around the house.

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).

This week it’s my great pleasure to talk with Dr. Kevin Messenger.  Kevin is a professor at Nanjing Forestry University in China.  I’ve known Kevin for a number of years and we’ve spent some time in the field, and he and his dad came down to Peru on one of our tours a few years ago.  Anyone involved with field herping for a while is familiar with Kevin’s China posts on the old Field Herp Forum.  Of course, we talk about those posts, but Kevin has more awesome cards up his sleeve, including his discovery of multiple new herp species in China, and his book on the rat snakes of China.  I hope you enjoy our conversation as much as I did, and here are some important links to Kevin’s work (and play):

Kevin’s post on Field Herp Forum – “A New Species of Kurixalus Treefrog!”

A link to the paper in which Kevin and his colleagues describe the new Kurixalus treefrog

Another paper we discussed where Kevin and colleagues describe a new species of Megophrys

Kevin’s list of publications on ResearchGate

Let’s not forget about Kevin’s new book, “The Asian Ratsnakes and Kin of Greater China”.  You can find the softbound copy on Amazon.com, or go to Lulu.com if you prefer a hardbound edition.  I’m a big fan of this book and I hope you enjoy it as much as i do.

One more thing – you can search Kevin’s name on YouTube and find his channel, which includes the “Baby Monkeys Playing in China” video (currently with 55m views).

Thanks for coming on the show, Kevin!  It was good to talk with you again.  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, frog call recording, 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 64: A European Odyssey Examined



Hello everyone and welcome to Episode Sixty Four!  I hope all of you remain safe and healthy out there as we roll into June. First up I want to give a shoutout to the Minnesota Herpetological Society for inviting me to speak at their first in-person meeting since pre-Covid.  I made a rocket run up to Minneapolis St. Paul on Friday and back on Saturday, and I talked about The Field Herping Guide, the Pingleton/Holbrook collaboration project, and also, this show and how it got started.  It’s a great herp society and they once again made me feel welcome, so thanks again to all the folks in the MHS.

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 also support the show via one-time contributions via PayPal or Venmo (please contact me via email to somuchpingle@gmail.com).

HERPETOLOGY SUMMER CAMP!  Coming up this summer! Through their Compass Summer Experience program, Montreat College is hosting their annual Herpetology Summer Camp for high school students, from June 19th thru the 24th, with an option for an additional week thru July 1st.  The camp is hosted by Professor Josh Holbrook, and students will experience amphibians and reptiles through a blend of classroom and field sessions.  For more information and to register, see the Herpetology Summer Experience page.

This week’s show is a discussion of a recent field herping trip to Greece, Hungary, and Slovenia.  I set up a microphone in our AirBNB suite at the end of the trip, in order to get everyone’s impressions of the trip.  Special thanks to John Burris, Matt Cage, Bryan Hughes, Pat Kain, Chris MacDonald, Jeff Martineau, Erik McCormick, Anniek Tump, Gerrit Verspui, and Tim Warfel.

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, herping tips for the Acropolis, tips for herping better, etc.

Cheers! Mike

 


Episode 63: Herp Science Sunday with Drs. Alex Krohn and Drew Davis



Hello everyone and welcome to Episode Sixty Three!  I hope all of you remain safe and healthy out there as we feature yet another Herp Science Sunday episode, which features aquatic turtles and drones – yay science!

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 also support the show via one-time contributions via PayPal or Venmo (please contact me via email to somuchpingle@gmail.com).

HERPETOLOGY SUMMER CAMP!  Coming up this summer! Through their Compass Summer Experience program, Montreat College is hosting their annual Herpetology Summer Camp for high school students, from June 19th thru the 24th, with an option for an additional week thru July 1st.  The camp is hosted by Professor Josh Holbrook, and students will experience amphibians and reptiles through a blend of classroom and field sessions.  For more information and to register, see the Herpetology Summer Experience page.

This Herp Science Sunday is a three-person conversation between me, Dr. Alex Krohn, and Dr. Drew Davis, a post-doctoral researcher at the University of Texas Rio Grande Valley.  Drew describes the details of a drone survey project along the Rio Grande drainage in south Texas, which looked for presence and numbers of the Rio Grande Cooter (Pseudemys gorzugi).  The results are published in a PLOS ONE research article entitled:

A drone-based survey for large, basking freshwater turtle species

and the authors are Amy P. Bogolin, Drew R. Davis, Richard J. Kline, and Abdullah F. Rahman. You can download the paper as a PDF from the link above, or you can contact me and I will email you a copy.

I enjoyed our conversation and was amazed at all of the logistical and bureaucratic hurdles that needed to be cleared to do this survey.  Dr. Davis is also the chief editor for the SSAR publication Herpetological Review, which we also discuss for a bit.  I should also mention that Drew is also researching the distribution and ecology of the threatened Black-spotted Newt (Notophthalmus meridionalis) in south Texas.  Did I mention he’s very busy?

Thank you Drew for coming on the show, and thanks as always to Alex, who makes Herp Science Sunday possible. 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, drone acrobatics exercises, tips for herping better, etc.

Cheers! Mike

 


Episode 62: Origin Stories V with Tom, Greg, and Nick



Hello everyone and welcome to Episode Sixty Two!  I hope all of you remain safe and healthy out there as we roll into Season Three!

First of all, 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 also support the show via one-time contributions via PayPal or Venmo (please contact me via email to somuchpingle@gmail.com).

It is great to be back in the studio again after what seemed like a long time away.  If you’re on social media, chances are you already know I spent 21 days in Greece, Hungary, and Slovenia.  And about two hours in Italy.  But mostly Greece, which was amazing and I and I can’t wait to return there.  It was a big herping trip and my group did quite well over there, finding more than fifty species, and some of them iconic European herps. I have been reading about these species for the past half century, so it was pretty special to see some of them, like marginated tortoises, and four-lined rat snakes and green lacertas, along with European pond turtles, vipers and Aesculapian snakes.

But it’s good to be back home and I thank you all for your patience while I was away. A few final bits of housekeeping – as I mentioned earlier, I’ve got an AMA slash origin stories show featuring yours truly coming up this summer (and it’s the summer of 2022).  AMA means Ask Me Anything, so if you’ve got some questions for me, QUESTIONS THAT CAN BE READ ON A CLEAN-RATED SHOW, send ‘em in to somuchpingle at gmail dot com.  I’ve got some responses already and thank you folks for those.

HERPETOLOGY SUMMER CAMP!  Coming up this summer! Through their Compass Summer Experience program, Montreat College is hosting their annual Herpetology Summer Camp for high school students, from June 19th thru the 24th, with an option for an additional week thru July 1st.  The camp is hosted by Professor Josh Holbrook, and students will experience amphibians and reptiles through a blend of classroom and field sessions.  For more information and to register, see the Herpetology Summer Experience page.

For this show, we’re reaching back to some recordings I made in Peru last January.  We have Origin Stories from Tom Williams, Greg Stephens, and Nick Burgmeier. Tom is from the UK and I hadn’t met him in person before Peru, he’s a world traveler and a real ball of fire and I enjoyed spending some time in the field with him.  Greg and Nick are old friends of mine, and so I interviewed them together, as they are buddies with a lot of shared experiences.  As I’ve said before it’s a lot of fun when my friends come to Peru for the first time and I get to be there when their minds are blown, and I especially enjoyed having these two come down to the hot and sweaty rain forest.

Thanks Tom, Greg and Nick for coming on the show and sharing your experiences! 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, getting mambas out of trees, tips for herping better, etc.

Cheers! Mike


Episode 61: ARC and the Tangled Bank with JJ Apodaca



Hello everyone and welcome to Episode Sixty One!  I hope all of you remain safe and healthy out there as we slooooowly move into spring here in the northern hemisphere.  April has been more like March – cold and blustery, and I am quite ready to get on with spring.

Now before we get to the show notes portion of the show notes, I want to take a minute to thank all of the show’s patrons, including our newest Patreon supporter, Jason Folt. Thank you, Jason!  Alert listeners will remember Drs. Folt and Brandehoff from Episode 59.  And thanks as always to all of the folks who help keep the show going and to reach fifty-plus episodes!. 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).

Also, thanks to the folks who have responded to my request for weird/unusual/spooky stories from the field, and I still need a few more so if you’re sitting on something like that, please get in touch.  I recently had a nice chat with Rob Kreutzer, the one and only Smetlogik, about some crazy / creepy happenings.

I also want to give a shout-out to Patrick, Ian, and Spencer Connolly, winners of a recent trivia contest on Smetlogik’s YouTube channel, and listeners of this show.  Congrats guys!

Our guest for this episode is Dr. Joseph Apodaca, or JJ as he is commonly called.  He wears two very large hats – JJ is the founder and lead scientist of Tangled Bank Conservation, and he is also the Executive Director of the Amphibian and Reptile Conservancy, or ARC.  That is a lot of work right there and I’m not sure when he sleeps, but I knew I wanted to talk with him about both Tangled Bank and ARC and we touch on some other interesting topics as well.  One of the things we touched on is salamander genomes, and JJ pointed me to an article about them in Scientific American – very interesting read and I hope you all enjoy. And thanks once again for coming on the show, JJ – it was so much fun!

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, snakes on an inclined plane, guesses as to the size of your own genome, tips for herping better, etc.

Cheers! Mike

 


Episode 60: A Conversation with Noah Fields (NKF Herping)



Hello everyone and welcome to Episode Sixty!  I hope all of you remain safe and healthy out there as we move into spring here in the northern hemisphere.

As always I want to thank all of the patrons of the show – I appreciate your support, there are expenses associated with every entertainment channel, and you really do keep things rolling along.  And if you are listening and would like to kick in a few bucks and become a patron of the show, you can do that easy-peasy via Patreon, just go to patreon dot com slash somuchpingle and somuchpingle is all one word.  You can also make one-time contributions via PayPal or Venmo, just drop me an email to somuchpingle at gmail dot com for more details.

I have another related request – if you enjoy the show, please take a minute to leave a rating on whatever podcatcher you use, and if you have a couple minutes please consider posting a review.  Both of those actions go a long way to promote the show and to help new people discover So Much Pingle.  And for those of you who have done these things already, thank you very much.

Thanks to the folks who have responded to my request for weird/unusual/spooky stories from the field, and I still need a few more so if you’re sitting on something like that, please get in touch.  And as you’ve heard in the intro for this episode, we’ll be scheduling an AMA show for the near future, so if you have questions for the host of the show please send them in via the show email which is somuchpingle@gmail.com.  Thanks in advance!

This week’s guest is Noah Fields, the host of the popular NKF Herping channel on YouTube, where he has built up quite a following with his content, which takes viewers along into the field in search of amphibians and reptiles..  Noah is someone I’ve been wanting to talk with since the show’s beginning, and after a fun day in the field near Atlanta, Georgia, we sat down at a picnic table and recorded the interview.  I also got to make a guest appearance in one of Noah’s videos and that was a lot of fun.  In addition to NKF Herping, Noah is also on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter.

Thanks for coming on the show, Noah!  So much fun.  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, tips for herping better, etc.

Cheers! Mike


Episode 59: Asclepius Snakebite Foundation with Drs. Brandehoff and Folt



Hello everyone and welcome to Episode Fifty Nine!  I hope all of you remain safe and healthy out there.  Spring has finally sprung here in central Illinois, and we’ve had a nice run of warm and sunny days. My furnace isn’t running and we’ve had the windows open, there’s a nice breeze and I can hear the birds chirping as I put these notes together.

So the frog call teaser before the intro is in honor of World Frog Day, which today is, and a happy WFD to all frogs everywhere. Those calls were recorded this past Friday night here in central Illinois.  It had been raining for most of the day and into the night, so I met up with my buddy Justin Michels and we visited a few ponds over in the Illinois River country, in search of the elusive Illinois Chorus Frog, Pseudacris illinoensis.  We did not see any, but we did hear one lone male calling, which you can hear in the teaser.  And there were plenty of peepers and regular chorus frogs calling and we also observed four tiger salamanders as well.  A pretty good night.

Now before we get to the show notes portion of the show notes, I want to take a minute to thank all of the show’s patrons, including our newest Patreon supporter, Will McManus. Thank you, Will!  Much appreciated!  And thanks as always to all of the folks who help keep the show going and to reach fifty-plus episodes!. 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).

My guests this week are two physicians, Dr. Nick Brandehoff and Dr. Jason Folt, representing the Asclepius Snakebite Foundation.  The ASF is a 501c3 non-profit organization, dedicated to reversing the outcomes of venomous snakebites, and they are currently working in a number of countries in Africa.  It seems like most of the people I talk to are giving back in some way, and Nick and Jason and the other members of ASF are giving their time and expertise in a most meaningful way.

Be sure to check out the ASF’s home page – you can support this worth cause by direct donation and / or making a purchase from the ASF merch store.  Please help if you can and thanks in advance.  Also, you can follow the ASF on Facebook, and on Instagram as well.

Thank you Nick and Jason for coming on the show, and best of luck with the ASF project!  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, snakes on an inclined plane, tips for herping better, etc.

Cheers! Mike

 

 


Episode 57: Alligator Snappers with Ben Stegenga



Hello everyone and welcome to Episode Fifty Seven!  I hope all of you remain safe and healthy out there.  Like many of you out there, I am so ready for winter to be over, or at least, the return of temperatures above the freezing mark!  It’s been a rough one here in central Illinois.

Now before we get to the show, I want to take a minute to thank all of the show’s patrons!  I appreciate all of the folks who help keep the show going and to reach fifty-plus episodes!. 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).

My guest this week is Ben Stegenga, a biologist who lives and works in Georgia,  on a number of projects for the Orianne Society. Ben gets to work with some very charismatic herps, including indigo snakes and spotted turtles and of course the stars of this episode, Suwannee alligator snapping turtles. Ben is very busy with his field work, and I was lucky to get an interview with him just before his survey season ramped up and put him out of touch.

Thanks for coming on the show, Ben!  And folks, be sure to check out the Orianne Society and please consider supporting them and their worthy conservation efforts.  Additionally, check out this research update on the Suwannee Alligator Snapping Turtle on the Orianne website, written by Houston Chandler.

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, broomstick bite patterns, tips for herping better, etc.

Cheers! Mike


Episode 56: Pioneer Daze with John Sullivan



Hello everyone and welcome to Episode Fifty Six!  I hope all of you remain safe and healthy out there.  It’s Super Bowl Sunday, and I’m back in the US after a couple weeks of herping in Peru.  It was great to get back to the rain forest after a two year absence.  Our group had a great time and we saw some cool amphibians and reptiles, despite a rather dry start to the rainy season.

Now before we get to the show, I want to take a minute to thank all of the show’s patrons!  I appreciate all of the folks who help keep the show going and to reach fifty-plus episodes!. 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 week’s show features my long-time friend, John Sullivan.  John and I go way back to the mid nineteen nineties, when the internet was still new and shiny and we were pioneers of a sort. We were among a small group of early adopters when the world wide web was actually called the world wide web, and it was fun to talk with John about those days, and about the many places he’s traveled to in search of herps.  John’s one of the OG internet herpers, and his trip reports and herp photos from around the world can be found at WildHerps.com, be sure to check it out!  John has also posted on the original Field Herp Forum in the past, and for a good example, here’s his Thorny Devil Dreaming post – enjoy!

Thanks so much for coming on the show, John!  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, shingleback hat photos, tips for herping better, etc.

Cheers! Mike