Ty gives ID tips, talks about issues, shares some pointers, as well as debunks myths all while trying to answer your herp questions. Ty tries hard to separate facts from his opinions (usually quite directly explaining what is fact and opinion), and each article is very different based on the topics.
I hope you find my articles educational, though provoking, and most of all fun. This is my chance to more casually talk about issues in herpetology, while keeping it all fairly down-to-earth. I try to stay as scientifically accurate as possible, but I am human, so if you see a mistake, contact us. - Ty Smith
I am sure you have seen this post of a Diamondback Rattlesnake found in a flowerpot near your hometown. What if I told you that wasn't the only exotic Rattlesnake reported in Virginia one month? So, what is going on here and should we be worried? Well, we have the scoop on these stories... and here is why they are obviously hoaxes.
How to Use Guides to Identify Reptiles and Amphibians
The biggest issue I see in the world of Reptile and Amphibian ID is not understanding how/why guides are written in certain ways, the limitations guides have, and how to strain out errors. Let's take a deep dive into the guides we recommend and explore these issues.
It is Safe to Go Back in the Soil
There has been a lot of talk lately about a toxic, cannibalistic land-shark that is invading your garden and sucking out all of the worms, leaving death behind. Calm down, it will all be okay…
Let's Make a Deal on Cornsnakes
Do you or a friend have one or more Cornsnakes? They are quite popular pets amongst many animal lovers. Most people probably assume the regulations for these animals are quite similar to other snakes, like Ball Pythons. Being a native animal, they are actually regulated by the Virginia Department of Wildlife Resources. Do you know the regulations on Cornsnakes? How strict are these regulations? Should these regulations change?
Plestiodon Skinks -- Getting it Right!
Have you ever been told that you can only ID these skinks from counting the scales on their lips called supralabials (labials)? I am sure you have heard of this, but what if I told you that was wrong and probably the worst way to ID these lizards. Well, its the truth... There is no scientific bases for this technique and it honestly sucks! So, this is the truth about skinks.
Potential New Dusky Species in Virginia
A new paper dropped that discusses several new "mito-nuclear candidate species" of Desmognathus salamanders, hybridization, and more genetic information found in their study that spanned multiple states. This paper would take the 22 known Desmognathus species and offer a new total of 47. What does this mean for our local species?
This article is an update on a video I did with Koaw Nature on Toad ID, plus a bit more info and some figures.
What is a Species...
Odds are, if you learned in 10th grade Biology Class what a species was, your info is probably significantly outdated... Let's talk about the nightmares of lower taxonomy like in species, subspecies, and even hybrids.
I get a lot of questions, and I can answer most of these questions. One question I get a lot is, "What is the difference between a frog and a toad?" This is a hard question to answer, and if you think know the answer, you probably need to read this article. So, join my search in the depth of Anurans, taxonomy, evolutionary biology, psychology, philosophy, and linguistics to solve the question of: What is a toad?