Saturday, July 16, 2011

Around the House

I'm midway through my summer job with the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service and I thought it would be appropriate to throw a quick catch up post together. Outside of my work schedule, I've made an effort to explore the area and see what it has to offer. The surrounding area in this part of New Jersey can be characterized as foothills, with the mountains being an hour to the north. It's a beautiful place to be sure, as was this evening scene in front my my living quarters for the summer.

One of the most astounding things about the area is the turtle diversity. With the exception of the two rare species I'm working with, turtles are extremely abundant in basically every habitat. We see turtles in fields, ponds, streams, and on roads. Here's a look at some of the most frequently encountered species I've seen within five miles of the house.

Spotted Turtle - Clemmys guttata

Musk Turtle - Sternotherus odoratus

Eastern Box Turtles - Terrapene carolina

Spotted Turtles & Eastern Box Turtles are both listed by the NJDEP Division of Fish & Wildlife as species of special concern, but both seem to be faring well in the state. Though turtles seem to be fairly common in the area, snakes have been way less abundant. There are a few species that are fairly common, including our resident Northern Black Racer that we see frequently around the house.

Northern Black Racer - Coluber constrictor constrictor

Northern Water Snake - Nerodia sipedon

Eastern Garter Snake - Thamnophis sirtalis

Eastern Milk Snake - Lampropeltis triangulum

It's been a busy summer so far. And I'm in the process of writing blogs on the herpetofauna on the Mountains of northern New Jersey and the Pine Barrens of southern New Jersey. Stay tuned for those, that's all for now. Until next time, happy herping!

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