Return to Campus

Visit our FAQ website for the latest information about health and safety.

Back to Top

A Herper's Harbinger of Spring

Nature Notes
by Bob Thomas

Each February, I take a field trip to the woods near Norco, Louisiana, that are on high ground in a cypress-tupelo swamp. The site has been producing oil for years. In spite of this, it is rich in all forms of local wildlife, especially a nice variety of reptiles and amphibians.

Mud Snake: Farancia abacura

Nature Notes
by Bob Thomas

The mud snake, Farancia abacura, is a large (up to six feet) spectacularly colored snake. They are abundant in swamps and associated wetland habitats, but rarely seen due to their secretive mannerisms and their glossy, iridescent black backs blending into the dark water.

Brahminy Blind Snake, Ramphotyphlops braminus: Our Non-native Parthenogenetic Snake

Nature Notes
by Bob Thomas

A most unusual denizen of Louisiana long ago brought Louisiana’s snake species total to 40. The species is the Brahminy blind snake, Ramphotyphlops braminus. When it was found, it represented not only a new species for the state, but also a new genus and family (Typhlopidae).

Cottonmouth - Omnivore of the Wetlands

Nature Notes
by Bob Thomas

Everyone fears the dreaded cottonmouth (Agkistrodon piscivorus), a seemingly ubiquitous venomous snake. Many people use the terms "cottonmouth" and "water moccasin" as synonyms, while others use the latter to designate non-venomous water snakes. Since these may be dangerous animals, it is best to communicate clearly - call them cottonmouths.

Where Do Alligators Go In Winter?

Nature Notes
by Bob Thomas

Alligator sightings are not uncommon in coastal Louisiana. The easiest way to see one or many is to visit Jean Lafitte National Historic Park’s Barataria Unit or Bayou Sauvage National Wildlife Refuge. During the warm months, alligators are abundant along their waterways. That said, alligators may be seen virtually anywhere there is water, including canals inside the levees.

Anoles and Dewlaps

Article Title
Anole lizard, Louisiana Levant Magazine, Vol. 1, No. 1, p. 12, February 2005.

Delta Journal
by Bob Thomas

You really know spring has sprung when you hear these words . . .“Hey mister, show me your blanket!”. . . or, “ Lizard, lizard, show me your gizzard!”

These are familiar chants to many New Orleans schoolchildren. They are referring to a characteristic of one of our most familiar local denizens, the Green Anole (Anolis carolinensis), frequently called the American Chameleon because it can change color from green to brown. Unique to males, the “blanket” is actually called a dewlap, or throat fan.