University of Arkansas Block and Bridle really changed it up this week with a guest speaker, Dr. JD Wilson from Biological Sciences, with a background in amphibian rescue and research.
Here, we were able to see a wide range from toads to snakes! We even were tricked into thinking that one of the animals we thought was a snake turned out to be a form of lizard with no legs which most of us have never seen! They also informed us with different types of snakes and how some snakes are naturally inclined to bring out characteristics of venomous snakes in threating situations even though they can be completely harmless! Afterwards, the members brave enough to take on holding a snake were given the chance to hold and feel the different skins of snakes! Overall this was a very important lecture to really understand the animals we see on the farm or even in a local pond out in our pasture in our industry. This will help us to better understand and appreciate these interesting creatures!
Dr. Wilson with an invasive species of lizard. Invasive species can create real problems for ecosystems. Other than this lizard, all the animals we saw were native to Arkansas.
The hog-nose snake is commonly known as the spreadin' adder, though not venomous, this snake will flare its head to appear like the pit vipers found in this area. If they are continually harassed, they will even play dead. This one left us a little present. (What's a Block and Bridle meeting without a little poop?)
Several species of small salamander are found all over the Ozarks. They may only emerge once a year to breed and spend most of their life deep in the mud.
Dr. Wilson's pet corn snake was captive bred and didn't mind letting the club members have a turn holding him.
The King snake is friendly to humans because it will eat other snakes, including poisonous Copperheads.
These crayfish snakes are part of a feeding behavior study at the University of Arkansas. They coil around their prey and bite its tail before consuming it whole. They club watched the entire event.
A frequent club guest and animal enthusiast, Vallie Yancey, is checking out this small salamander.
This legless lizard was one of the most-talked about creatures. They resemble snakes, but have anatomical features of lizards. Dr. Jack asked a great question about the evolution of these creatures. They evolved from lizards WITH legs and lost them over time.