Squirrel Tree Frog

At about 3.5 cm long, I thought this was a juvenile green tree frog, but upon getting a better look at the photo (this individual was hiding under an informational sign and was difficult to see without the camera), I am pretty sure this is a squirrel tree frog (Hyla squirrella). Most tree frogs seem…

American Green Tree Frog

It’s so nice to see a native frog species! (I love Cuban tree frogs, but they’re invasive and eat gorgeous native frogs like this.) This is an American green tree frog, Dryophytes cinereus, about 6cm long and actually native to Florida. American “green” tree frogs actually come in all sorts of colors, from yellow-olive to…

Oak Toad

An actual native Florida toad! This is Anaxyrus quercicus, the oak toad. This tiny toad (about an inch long) is actually full grown — it is the smallest species of toad in North America. Oak toads usually have a distinct light stripe down their back, and if you look closely, you can see the undersides…

Pine Woods Snake

When I moved my trash can to drag it to the curb, the biggest worm I had ever seen, ever was hiding underneath it! When I looked closer, the “worm” was actually a gorgeous pine woods snake, Rhadinaea flavilata. (Alternate names include the yellow-lipped snake and brown-headed snake.) Like most snakes, this one didn’t want…

Red-Eared Slider

This common and distinctive turtle (Trachemys scripta elegans) carries the dubious distinction of being the most popular pet turtle in the US, and the most traded turtle in the world. Red-eared sliders are native to the southern US, but have popped up pretty much everywhere — Australia, Europe, South Africa, the Carribbean, Israel, Asia, and…

Florida Softshell Turtle

The Florida softshell turtle (Apalone ferox) is found all over the Florida peninsula, as well as into neighboring states. It lives in both freshwater and brackish environments, preferring slow-moving or still water. Instead of the hard, scuted shell of other turtles, the softshell has a cartilaginous carapace covered in tough skin. Color ranges from olive…

Common House Gecko

Another of Florida’s seemingly infinite number of invasive species, Hemidactylus frenatus is another of those critters I just can’t bring myself to remove. Three to five of these generous little lizards live in my roof, emerging at night to eat insects attracted by our porchlight. I find it to be a good trade. They’re supposed…

Southeastern Five-Lined Skink

The southeastern five-lined skink lives, as one might expect, all over the southeastern United States. It looks a great deal like the American five-lined skink, Plestiodon fasciatus, but based on geographic range (this individual was found in central Florida) this is more likely the southeastern than the American five-lined skink. The scientific name “inexpectatus“, which…

Green Tree Python

This gorgeous snake is native to New Guinea, parts of Indonesia, and Australia. As its name suggests, the green tree python (Morelia viridis, also Chondropython viridis prior to 1993) is a bright green snake which lives in trees. It hunts small mammals and reptiles. Being tree-dwelling, they have a characteristic resting pose, wherein they drape…

Timber Rattlesnake

I am quite grateful for thick exhibit glass when photographing venomous snakes; this gorgeous timber rattlesnake (Crotalus horridus) at the Central Florida Zoo and Botanical Gardens would almost certainly not have posed quite so well without it. Also known as the canebrake rattler, the timber rattler grows to be about 36-60 inches long. It is…

Southern Black Racer

The southern black racer snake (Coluber constrictor priapus) is a black snake with light markings around the mouth, chin, and throat. It reaches approximately 20-56 inches in length. This small, fast snake is found throughout Florida (except for the Everglades and Cape Canaveral). Outside of Florida, it is found throughout the eastern United States, from…

Cuban Tree Frog

This little Cuban tree frog (Osteopilus septentrionalis) is adorable, but it’s another invasive species. It grows larger than our native tree frogs, outcompetes them for food, and unfortunately also eats them. The University of Florida Department of Wildlife Ecology and Conservation actually recommends euthanizing Cuban tree frogs if you find them on your property! These…

Juvenile Brown Anole

Meet Anolis sagrei, the brown, or Cuban anole. Also known as the Bahaman anole or De la Sangra’s anole, this invasive species originated in Cuba and has wandered north into Florida and much of the southeastern United States, brought by the pet trade and by hiding away with landscaping plants. An opportunistic and fecund species,…

Brown Water Snake

Meet the brown water snake, Nerodia taxispilota, a semi-aquatic snake which lives all over the southeastern United States. It’s one of the most common snakes in Florida. Averaging 30-55 inches long, these snakes live in (as you might guess) watery habitats, including rivers, cypress stands, swamps, lakes, ponds and canals. They are excellent climbers and…

Pig Frog

Meet the pig frog, Lithobates grylio, also known as the southern bullfrog or lagoon frog. (It is also sometimes identified as Rana grylio, probably due to some minor quirk of scientific bickering about which I do not care.) This particular individual is about four inches long; these frogs can grow to more than six inches…

African Rock Python

The largest known snake in Africa, this beautiful thing can get up to 25 feet long. Photo taken at the Brevard Zoo, Melbourne, FL.