Most people try to avoid encounters with venomous reptiles, but that wasn’t the case for the team of Ontario Nature staff that I accompanied to the Bruce Peninsula last week. These herpetologists and avid naturalists ventured fearlessly across tall-grass meadows, forest clearings and rocky beaches in search of Sistrurus catenatus, commonly known as the massasauga rattlesnake.
Tag: John Urquhart
When was the last time you were so moved by a place and an experience in nature that you took the time to write about it? When Catherine Jimenea, Ontario reptile and amphibian atlas assistant, signed-up for four days of turtling in Lost Bay Nature Reserve, her experience far surpassed her expectations. So much so, that she wrote this ode to the reserve.
People often ask Ontario Nature staff for advice about how to deal with situations that they encounter in nature. Whether putting out a bird feeder, planting native flowers or grasses, or choosing not to cut down the trees on your property, people are on the front lines of local conservation efforts more often than you might realize.
May 9, 2010
It is hard to believe we’ve been working in the Lost Bay nature reserve for almost two weeks already. We spent the first week surveying the property and evaluating the habitat in terms of where we were most likely to find turtles and snakes. Three minutes into our first walk, we found a good sized male snapping turtle basking in the sun about 100 m from water! I wasn’t even planning on finding turtles at all that afternoon. Luckily I had a file and could mark its shell so we could identify it if we found it later. Our first turtle has notch code 12L. We proceeded to search for snake hibernacula and found a ribbon snake up on a rocky ledge. Thus within 10 minutes of entering the site we found two of the eight reptile at risk species we were searching for!
John Urquhart – Staff Ecologist
John joined Ontario Nature in July 2009 as the reptile and amphibian atlas intern. He completed a B.Sc. of Environmental Science in ecology and an M.Sc in zoology. John has worked on conservation, education and stewardship projects for government and non-profit organizations. Prior to joining Ontario Nature, he also participated in numerous monitoring and field research projects that focused on reptiles and amphibians.