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Joined
Apr 19, 2012
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Greeley, CO, USA
Went on a 4 day trip over Labor Day weekend to the Comanche National Grasslands for herpetology class, and basically spent a whole weekend looking for reptiles. Wasn't the only thing we found, of course, but more on that in a moment. First, the start of the trip:

Day 1
A herd of pronghorn on the trip down
Pronghorns by Hawken Carlton, on Flickr
Stopped at a prairie dog town on the way, spotted burrowing owls, cottontails, and spiders. A classmate also caught this
Holbrookia maculata by Hawken Carlton, on Flickr
In a marsh outside La Junta
White faced ibis by Hawken Carlton, on Flickr
First visitor at the campsite..
Tarantula Hawk Wasp by Hawken Carlton, on Flickr
Tarantula Hawk Wasp by Hawken Carlton, on Flickr
For scale, that's a 1 liter bottle. The wasp was at least 3 inches long
Tarantula Hawk Wasp by Hawken Carlton, on Flickr
First live snake of the trip
Crotalus viridis viridis by Hawken Carlton, on Flickr
And, a first for me, and the first live specimen the professor had ever encountered in CO
Rhinocheilus lecontei by Hawken Carlton, on Flickr
Second day, an odd flower in camp
Campsite flower by Hawken Carlton, on Flickr
An odd beetle on the bluff
Beetle by Hawken Carlton, on Flickr
Pincushion cactus by Hawken Carlton, on Flickr
Found a scorpion under the rocks
Scorpion by Hawken Carlton, on Flickr
Another first for me, caught him on a ledge
Masticophis flagellum by Hawken Carlton, on Flickr
Masticophis flagellum by Hawken Carlton, on Flickr
Masticophis flagellum by Hawken Carlton, on Flickr
In the process of catching the coachwhip, saw this guy ambling across the plain
Porcupine by Hawken Carlton, on Flickr
Not far from where the coachwhip was (10 feet away or so), also found this guy
Crotalus viridis viridis by Hawken Carlton, on Flickr
Crotalus viridis viridis by Hawken Carlton, on Flickr
Orb spider by Hawken Carlton, on Flickr
Prairie lizard in Vogel Canyon
Sceloperus undulatus by Hawken Carlton, on Flickr
Rock formation
Vogel Canyon rock formation by Hawken Carlton, on Flickr
Supposedly, this was put as a marker for the petroglyphs, but not sure what it was supposed to mean..
Petroglyph marker by Hawken Carlton, on Flickr
There are several spots where water stands deep enough to last all summer, and these live in the pools
Lithobates blairi by Hawken Carlton, on Flickr
Thamnophis radix by Hawken Carlton, on Flickr
Bullfrogs are invasive, so these guys were used for target practice
Lithobates catesbeianus by Hawken Carlton, on Flickr
Cool flower with variegated bracts
Unknown flower by Hawken Carlton, on Flickr
Saw this guy hunting frogs
Thamnophis elegans vagrans by Hawken Carlton, on Flickr
An hour later, we spookd the frogs trying to catch the snake, and this resulted:
Thamnophis elegans vagrans by Hawken Carlton, on Flickr
Interestingly, even after we caught him the snake continued to finish his meal. Disturbingly, after he was done, and even after he'd disappeared under the water again, you could still hear the frog's distressed chirping inside

Thamnophis radix by Hawken Carlton, on Flickr
Another non-reptilian creepy crawly. These guys were everywhere, dozens on the roads at night and at least two different specimens were spotted in camp. This was the first
Tarantula #1 by Hawken Carlton, on Flickr
Tarantula #1 by Hawken Carlton, on Flickr
Tarantula #1 by Hawken Carlton, on Flickr
This was one seen while road riding, one of, again, dozens. They had body lengths of at least 2, maybe 3-4"
Tarantula #2 by Hawken Carlton, on Flickr

Third day
Orb spider by Hawken Carlton, on Flickr
Ichneumon wasp by Hawken Carlton, on Flickr
Sadly, nobody was home anymore...
Bx turtle shell by Hawken Carlton, on Flickr
Another new species for me
Diadophis punctatus arnyi by Hawken Carlton, on Flickr
Sceloperus undulatus by Hawken Carlton, on Flickr
A baby caught in the Picture Canyon picnic area
Sceloperus undulatus by Hawken Carlton, on Flickr
New species #4. While we have one in the college reptile room, this wild specimen was far more beautiful
Hypsiglena torquata by Hawken Carlton, on Flickr
Hypsiglena torquata by Hawken Carlton, on Flickr
Not 10 minutes later, new species #5 was found .He was very docile and curious when we brought him into the van
Arizona elegans by Hawken Carlton, on Flickr

Day 4, first find was a large prairie lizard
Sceloperus undulatus by Hawken Carlton, on Flickr
Managed to catch him and get pics of the ventral colors
Sceloperus undulatus by Hawken Carlton, on Flickr
Sceloperus undulatus by Hawken Carlton, on Flickr
And the last find of the trip, under a rock
Thamnophis radix by Hawken Carlton, on Flickr
One of the non-animal residents of the grasslands
Cholla cactus by Hawken Carlton, on Flickr
Finally, a view of Vogel Canyon
Vogel Canyon by Hawken Carlton, on Flickr
 
Joined
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Colorado
Thanks for sharing the pictures! Looks like you had a fantastic trip. Certainly more herps and arachnids to see there, than here in NE Colorado.
 

SubRosa

BS Bulldozer
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Apr 11, 2013
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Nice pics, looks like you had a great time. Interesting about the Coachwhip. Wild individuals I've seen have never been so obliging.
 
Joined
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Location
Greeley, CO, USA
spdskr: I too live in NE CO, so I know well the relative paucity of reptiles here. Even if I end up not moving far from here later in life, I will at least move to the southern end of the state just for the higher level of reptiles.
aerogrower: Thanks!
SubRosa: It was quite surprising. We attribute the ease of capture and docile temper to the fact that he probably wasn't done warming up, but even then we all expected him to be nippy. Even the one in the college reptile room, while not a notorious biter, is fast and always ready to run; this one after a few minutes was content to sit and wait.
 
Joined
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This is so great! That must have been a great weekend im super jealous! Yall must of had so much fun!! Yr pictures are amazing its so fun to see what yall found :) i enjoyed yr photis hope to see more of yr future trips :) i really like the look of the Hypsiglena torquata snake very subtly beautiful and the lizards blue under belly is very vivid and unexpected :) thanks for sharing
 
Joined
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Actually the bright underbelly colors are a rather common thing in lizards. They act either as signals to other members of the species for mate selection or rival deterrent, or as aposematic coloration for defense.
 

Radagast

NECPS Editor
Joined
Mar 8, 2014
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411
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New York, USA
College reptile room!? I wish my college had a reptile room. Must be neat to wander around the room enjoying the biodiversity.
 
Joined
Apr 19, 2012
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It's a little more restricted than that. Most of the herps in the room are highly venomous, so you either need an access card or you have to make special arrangements to even gain access.
 
Joined
Jun 12, 2015
Messages
774
Maybe just an unexpected sight to me! Lol only lizard i see is my friends bearded dragon spike :) still very pretty
 

Bio

Plant Whisperer
Joined
Mar 20, 2014
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514
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SC
Looks like an awesome trip. So many great species out in the subdesert/scrublands.

Those Tarantulas, if you didn't already know, are Aphonopelma sp., A. hentzi I think. They're wandering males, looking for the females' burrows.
 
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