Manitoba Herps Atlas Blog

Keep up with what's going on in the Manitoba Herps Atlas right here! Check back regularly for updates.

January 1, 2018

A Happy New Year to All! Well, here we are in a new year and in the middle of a deep freeze! But I had an interesting reminder of what goes on in nature a couple of weeks ago. Herper, Luke Roffey, sent me a pic of a Leopard Frog he had just caught . . . in the middle of December! While dip-netting minnows in the Lasalle River he spotted this frog swimming under the ice and scooped it up, photographed it then let it go.

Leopard Frog in December

It made me realize how little we know of the life of such creatures under the ice. Leopard Frogs spend about 6 months in ponds and lakes under the ice - half their lives! I imagine it would be very difficult to study this segment of a Leopard Frog's life, but it would be fascinating.

Oh well, the days are getting longer and spring will be here before you know it, I hope. I'm already looking forward to the spring melt and the re-emergence of all my favourite critters. Bye for now.

November 27, 2017

Not much to report herp-wise these days. I've finished uploading data that's been submitted by spreadsheet (unless there's more coming??) for 2017. Our grand total currently stands at 7,734 records! I hope all the ice-fishers out there will keep their eyes peeled for Mudpuppies; by-catch of Mudpuppies seems to be about the only way we ever get any records of that species. Bye for now.

November 10, 2017

I posted another snake video this week. "Just Snakes" is a compendium of some of my best close-up snake video from spring emergences at various sites. It's always interesting to see how word spreads about new videos. My "Egg to Frog in 7 Weeks" video is now over 1.7 million views and doing about 3,000 views a day. The "Egg to Salamander" video, posted earlier this year, is starting to go viral and is doing about 13,000 views a day right now. I can never predict how well any one video will do, but it's always nice to see that people are really interested in watching videos of Manitoba's herps! NatureNorth's YouTube Channel is:

November 1, 2017

Well, that's about it for herp sightings for 2017, unless you're an ice-fisher! That's still the most common way to get Mudpuppy records in Manitoba. Otherwise, all our other herps are "put away" for the winter. I hope those of you with outstanding records will send them in soon. We're over the 7,000 mark now, keep them coming!

October 7, 2017

A sad news report to pass along: Slaughtered Snakes. What's most disconcerting is the lack of worthwhile response from Sustainable Development.

October 1, 2017

Well, summer's definitely over now and most herps will be getting ready to shut down for the winter. On warm, sunny days there will still be the chance to spot a snake or two basking on a roadway, or at the Narcisse Snake Dens, but not for long.

With the herp viewing season about over, I hope those of you that are filling up your record spreadsheets will send them along shortly. Bye for now.

Sept. 20, 2017

Earlier this summer I decided to stop sending out periodic emails to folks that had signed up for the MHA contact list. After 6 years, interest in the project is waning (which is only natural) and I wanted to spend more time on other efforts. But in place of regular emails I've started up this blog, where folks can check in to see what's going on with the project and get updates about critter activity. Essentially I'll still be putting out the same information as I did with the emails, I just won't be clogging up people's in-boxes, and the onus will be on individuals to check in and get any updates for themselves.

The MHA on is NOT going away, it will remain active, just at a lower profile. I'd also encourage people to make use of the province's iNaturalist projects: Go Wild Manitoba which also includes a version of the MHA that you can use from your smart-phone.

At the recent conference of the Canadian Herpetological Society in Brandon, Manitoba (Sept. 15 - 18, 2017) I was honoured to receive the Silver Salamander Award for my work on the MHA. Although I was unable to attend, my friend, Dr. James Duncan, was there to accept the ward on my behalf, and on behalf of all the folks that have participated in the MHA! I put the website together, but the involvement of all of you made it a success!

Critter-wise for this time of year, things are cooling down, literally, at the Narcisse Snake Dens. It wont be long before all the snakes will be back under ground. Warm, sunny days over the next couple of weeks may offer the last opportunities for some snake viewing. Herps in general will be slowing down and looking for overwintering sites now, but warm days will still offer decent critter viewing. Bye for now.

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