And maybe a bunch of naturalists? We were certainly enthralled!

Alligator Snapping Turtle (Macrochelys temminckii)

That’s the hand of Nelle Jenkins, one of Dr. Kim Tolson’s biology graduate students, who is doing her thesis research on turtles in Bayou Desiard. This awesome critter wandered into one of her live traps. Note that she is firmly grasping the carapace right behind the turtle’s head. Does anyone doubt that those jaws could snap off a carelessly placed finger in a heartbeat?

Today was our Herpetofauna of Louisiana workshop with Dr. John Carr. We were graciously hosted on the ULM campus by the Museum of Natural History and its director, Dr. Kim Tolson, who opened the Museum for us so we could explore before the workshop proper began and again on our lunch break. What a fantastic resource for our community!

Broad-headed Skink (Plestiodon laticeps)

So… after exploring the Museum, learning herp taxonomy, meeting this impressive snapper plus a bunch of other turtles on Bayou Desiard, and observing graduate students in action capturing, measuring, tagging and releasing turtles… we went out to Black Bayou Lake NWR for more field work.

To be honest, I lost track. But I’m certain that at least three cottonmouths were sighted, two broad-banded watersnakes, two broad-headed skinks and several little brown skinks, a southern leopard frog, probably a dozen cricket frogs and one green tree frog.

Green Tree Frog (Hyla cinerea)

All in all, it was a most rewarding day. Thank you so much, Drs. Carr and Tolson and ULM Museum of Natural History.

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