Posts Tagged 'reptiles'


Chelydra serpentinaA young Snapping Turtle (Chelydra serpentina) tests the air. Neither a wizened old warrior the size of a European subcompact nor a silver dollar-sized baby, this one was about 4″ long. Chelydra serpentina

Morning Stretch

IMG_5694Upward-facing turtle, with a keen eye on the photographer.

Frog, Turtle, ‘Gator

Lithobates catesbeianusBig Bullfrog (Lithobates catesbeianus).Chelydra serpentinaBigger, much bigger: Snapping Turtle (Chelydra serpentina). Possible looking for a place to exit the water and lay eggs (you need another reason to enforce the leash law in our parks?). Judging by the shell, I’d say I’ve seen this giant before. Also, even enormous Snappers start small; here’s a baby I found in Mass a couple of years ago.Alligator mississippiensisAnd much bigger still: an American Alligator (Alligator mississippiensis)Alligator mississippiensisSteady! Not in Brooklyn. Spotted on my Texas trip last month.


Anolis carolinensisThe Green Anole (Anolis carolinensis).Anolis carolinensisAs you might infer from its binomial name, a native of the south. In fact, the only anole native to the continental U.S. There are at least half a dozen non-native species in Florida. The southern-most tip of Texas also has the introduced Brown Anole (A. sagrei), who don’t observe any genus-loyalty and eat the Greens. Anolis carolinensisI tried to get a shot with the pink throat fan extended, as here, but from the side to best show off this mating and territorial marker (males have bigger ones, yadda-yadda).Anolis carolinensisAnother was flashing until I got the zoom on him.

The Morning Rush

rush hourNot exactly going anywhere at the moment.


There were a lot of lizards, which you would expect for a desert. They are tough subjects to photograph, though, being such dashers and darters. I got a few:r2lizardr1

r4This Garter subspecies was unfortunately run over by an earlier vehicle. Still kicking here, but extruding innards elsewhere, so it may not have made it.


Elaphe obsoletaAn albino version of the New York native Black Rat snake (Elaphe obsoleta) being held by one of Prospect Park’s “Pop-Up Audubon” staffers recently.

This is the largest snake species in the state, reaching up to six feet in length. They get bigger in the South. Constrictors, Black Rat snakes squeeze their prey to death, and will eat anything from eggs to other snakes, with small mammals, including bats, a mainstay. That last menu item is a good clue for where you might find these snakes: they are excellent tree climbers. Generally a woodland species, they are also fond of barns and their attendant mice and rats, meaning they are a good friend of the farmer.

This guy normally lives in the Audubon Center at the Boathouse, which, unfortunately, will not be open on weekends in the near future. Instead, “Pop-ups” (a trendy term for “temporary” and subject to the weather; last Saturday’s was cancelled) will be positioned around the park under a flimsy tent — without the restroom, water fountain, cafeteria, air-conditioning, and safe space services that the Boathouse also provided. This is a bad state of affairs, particularly when one sees private parties using the facilities for weddings and the like. Now, the Audubon Center will be open later in May on Thursdays and Fridays, but weekends are the park’s busiest times. The fact that the Boathouse will be open on weekdays suggests that this decision isn’t one of funding, but one of fundraising. Money is to be made renting out the Boathouse for persons of means.

This is, as I have noted for many years, the inevitable result of privatization. Those with money get the goodies, and, perhaps more importantly, control the agenda about those goodies. The Prospect Park Alliance — an unelected entity, it must be remembered, that of necessity follows the course of which people will fund what projects — was set up to help fundraise for the park. It has done very many impressive things, remaking the park for the better after the disastrous abandonment of the urban by tax-supported white flight, subsidized suburbanization, and the long counter-revolution against the public sphere, that profoundly successful assault on American democracy. And, over time, under the administration of neoliberal tribunes like Koch, Dinkins, Giuliani, and Bloomberg, the Alliance and similar entities has been progressively pushed towards funding the majority of the park’s operations as public monies, and oversight, have been withdrawn.

Of course, compared to Central Park, which has reveled in the millions of the super-rich, Prospect is barely a glimmer in the eye of our masters of the universe. Meanwhile, parks without wealthy neighbors — in the Bronx, Queens, other neighborhoods of Brooklyn — simply hope to have a few drops of largess dribble down upon them, trickling down from the heady heights. When parks manifest the great gap between haves and have-nots, we know how far into the hole of injustice we’ve fallen.

Maryland Monument Memorial Parking Lot

Maryland Memorial Parking Lot

In a related notion, park lawns are much too precious to withstand large political demonstrations, but more than a week-long occupation by the likes of the disastrous Great Googa Mooga Shit Pile, this year boasting of its “temporary cell towers” so that 30,000 food lovers can Instagram pictures of their meals to their friends — that’s their example — why, sure! ConstructionLast Friday, preparations for this Friday’s GGMSP were underway at 7 a.m.

As a side-note — the snake of the minority constricts the majority of us — it should be noted that philanthropy is tax-deductible, which means that it is not actually charity, that is, given, sacrificed, without any promise of give-back. It’s a system that results in even more of the tax burden being pushed upon those who can not lawyer-, accountant-, and Congressperson-up.


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