Dallas-Fort Worth Herpetological Society

To promote understanding, appreciation, and conservation of reptiles and amphibians, to encourage respect for their habitats, and to foster responsible captive care.

The DFW Herpetological Society has assisted in surveying the reptiles and amphibians of two area nature centers. We have provided data and photographs to the Fort Worth Nature Center & Refuge, as well as the Trinity River Audubon Center.  This work assists the nature centers while also providing very enjoyable opportunities for our members to see various species in the field close to home.

The society also regularly takes field trips to various parts of Texas.  Often these trips do not involve collecting, but are opportunities to take photos and contribute to other surveys such as the “Thicket of Diversity” survey in the Big Thicket.  The Big Bend is another favorite destination.

Marsh at the Fort Worth Nature Center & Refuge - photo by Sony Raju

Field Trips & Herp Surveys (In The Field):

One of our local field trips was held on June 9, 2012.  Several members – four adults and three kids – spent the evening exploring parts of the Fort Worth Nature Center & Refuge, which is familiar territory for us.  One of the participants, twelve-year-old Emily, was on her first herping trip, which made this trip a special occasion. Emily wrote a summary of her experience, and agreed to share it with others on our website.  We are proud to have members like her, and we’re sure she has a great future as a field herper.

– Michael Smith, 2012 Field Trip Director

My First Herping Trip

By Emily Raju

My first herping trip was an awesome experience.  We found many cute and slithery creatures.  Our group included me, my dad, Michael Smith, Mark and Jennifer Pyle, and their daughters, Amber and Emily.  We started off by going to the Boardwalk, where we saw noisy but cute, green tree frogs.  We could barely hear each other over the “wonk, wonk, wonk” sounds of their mating calls.  While we were there, we also saw many large birds and spotted gar.

We then went to a trail through the bottomland forest. We found several leopard frogs, and we also found turtle nests where raccoons must have eaten the eggs.  Shortly afterwards, the girls came upon our first snake, a young Texas brown snake!  It was beautiful and so tiny!  The number of weaving spiders that we encountered was unbelievable!  Every few steps we took, we would have to dodge another web.  While on that particular trail, we saw thousands of little lightning bugs.  It had a magical glow to it.  We stood there in the moonlight, staring in wonder.  We then turned on our lights, and went back to search for snakes.  Then we went to the Cross Timbers trail, where we were trying to find an alligator, in or near the channel that runs along the levee.  We didn’t find any alligators, but we did find a Texas rat snake.  We stopped for a few minutes, and took pictures of the beautiful animal.  On the way back to our trucks, we spotted another snake, a diamondback water snake, high up in the marsh grass.

By this time, it was getting pretty late, but we decided to walk the Boardwalk, once more.  Amber, Emily, and I found a huge “walking stick,” and we let it walk all over our arms!  After we posed for pictures with it, we decided to name it “Taco”.  It was very hard to let it go, but we had to move on.  We stood on the Boardwalk, and looked at the gar and frogs, and listened to their calls for some time.  We didn’t find any snakes though.  All of us were getting tired, so we decided to walk back.  On the way out, we saw another “walking stick” that was approximately an inch long.  We named that one “Nacho.”  

At the end of the night, me and my new friends sat in the back of the truck, as we passed by the show the lightning bugs were putting on.  As we stopped to close and lock a gate, we found another “walking stick” and yes, you guessed it, we had to name it too.  We named him “Queso.”

Soon we were at the main entrance, and we said our goodbyes.  Boy was I tired.  Needless to say, my first herping trip was unforgettable, and I can’t wait to do it again!

Photos from the field trip (photos by Sony Raju, Mark Pyle, & Michael Smith: