Wolf Conservation Center:

In case you missed it - though voters got to sound off on Michigan’s controversial wolf hunt with their ballots on Tuesday, the effect of their votes on future wolf hunts remain in dispute

There will be no wolf hunt this year (2014). But, a new law that affirms the Natural Resources Commission will designate fish and game species (i.e.: the gray wolf] for “harvesting” takes effect next spring, and it included an appropriation for combating invasive species that shields the law from petition referendum.

So, the story continues. We urge you to stay informed for new developments that address these issues by visiting the Keep Michigan Wolves Protected page and website - keepwolvesprotected.com

Blue Racer - Coluber constrictor foxii 

The Blue Racer, Coluber constrictor foxii (Colubridae) is a non-venomous snake pale blue or bluish green with a white or bluish belly. Its dorsal scales are smooth and it has a divided anal plate. Individuals can grow to almost two meters in length.

As its common name suggests, this snake is very fast and can move at a speed of almost seven kilometres an hour.

This subspecies is native to Canada and the United States.

References: [1] - [2]

Photo credit: ©Nick Scobel | Locality: Washtenaw County, Michigan, US (2014)

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Safer in the Forest - Love Song for Poor Michigan
  • Safer in the Forest - Love Song for Poor Michigan
  • La Dispute
  • Wildlife

It’s that I’m tired of the feeling here.
It’s too near to death, it’s too jobless year-round.
It’s not the weather in the city or the highway moan.
Not the streets or the buildings, neither wooden nor stone.
Every reason to leave this place behind, why I should be alone,
Are made of flesh and bone.

Settlers on Michigan’s Upper Peninsula tried for decades to tame the land. It was logged, burned, drained and farmed, but in the end, nature beat them all back. A peace was found in 1935 when Seney National Wildlife Refuge was established. Now, over 95,000 acres provide habitats to migratory birds and other wildlife. Visitors can explore on foot, bikes, and by kayak, spotting birds and taking incredible pictures like this one. Photo by Dawn Kopp. Check out more awesome refuge images at http://on.doi.gov/1L4ck9w

The anti predator display of the Eastern Hognose Snake - Heterodon platirhinos

One of the most complex and fast-paced behavioral sequences known for a reptile is the anti predator display of the Eastern Hognose Snake, Heterodon platirhinos (Colubridae). 

When this snake is approached in the field, it may first remain motionless, move off, or emit prolonged conspicuous tongue flicks. If approached more closely, it may coil and puff up the body, expand the neck like a cobra, or hiss (or “blow”). The tail may be raised, and the head and neck become dorsal-ventrally flattened giving the appearance of a viper-like triangular head. At this time the snake may lunge and strike, often in a jerky manner. The mouth is rarely if ever open during these lunges, and biting does not occur.

If the intruder persists. the snake may attempt to flee, but when touched (and sometimes when not touched), the snake may begin an erratic writhing behavior (often frenetic and violent) and may even bite itself in the process. It defecates, coils its tail like a pig’s, turns over, and finally becomes quiescent: mouth open, tongue extruded, blood coming from mouth, and with no evident breathing. Further defecation may take place at this time. The snake can be carried, poked, and so forth with no signs of life. The only flaw is that if turned right-side up it will turn upside down at once.

If human instigators of the behavior leave and later return, they are usually amazed to find the snake gone.

Reference: [1]

Photo credit: ©Nick Scobel | Locality: Monroe County, Michigan, US (2013)

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Seney National Wildlife Refuge was established in 1935 as a refuge and breeding ground for migratory birds and other wildlife. The wild land that today is the refuge has not always appeared so wild. This is a land that was once heavily logged, burned, ditched, drained and cultivated. Despite repeated attempts, the soils and harsh conditions of this country would not provide a hospitable environment for sustained settlement and agriculture. So, nature claimed it once again. What was viewed as a loss by early 20th century entrepreneurs became a huge gain for the wildlife, natural resources and the people of Michigan’s eastern Upper Peninsula. 

Photo: Dawn Kopp

Smooth Green Snake - Opheodrys vernalis

The Smooth Green Snake, Opheodrys vernalis (Colubridae), is the only snake in eastern North America that is entirely bright green on their upper surfaces. This coloration camouflages them well in their grassy habitats. The head is slightly wider than the neck and is green above and white below. The belly is white to pale yellow. Occasionally smooth green snakes can be brown or tan in coloration.

This species occurs widely in the United States and southern Canada, with an isolated population in northern Mexico.

References: [1] - [2]

Photo credit: ©Nick Scobel | Locality: northern Michigan, US (2013)

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