Notes from the Field...

Photo by Ken Felsman.

Photo by Doug Kranich.


I have been involved with amphibians and reptiles for over forty years now, and I enjoy keeping and breeding various species.  However, this interest pales in comparison to the satisfaction I get out in the field, finding and observing these animals where they live.  Over the years I've had the good fortune to visit some fantastic and beautiful places around the United States in pursuit of herps, but regardless of the locality, I always enjoy being outdoors.

My field herping experiences have changed over time.  As a youngster I was blissfully unaware of anything but the herps I was looking for.  I could identify and name any amphibian or reptile, but I couldn't do the same for any bird, tree, flower or insect.  These things were a blurry backdrop to me on field excursions.  Gradually I began paying more attention to my surroundings, and I realized that the environment surrounding amphibians and reptiles was as important and as instructive as the animals themselves.  These days field trips are an enriching experience, and sometimes I am almost as excited about the local geology, flora and fauna as I am about the herps!  Friends have also added their knowledge to the experiences; Tracey Mitchell can get anyone excited about plants, and Steve Coogan has turned me into a birder, whether I wanted to be one or not!

Back in 1995 I toyed with the idea of keeping an on-line journal of my field experiences.  I am not an artist, but I enjoy and appreciate illustrated journals, and I wanted to work in that direction.  I worked on my photography skills and fell into the habit of documenting not only the herps I found, but other aspects of the field trips as well.  Back when I started it was a lot harder to put together a journal - digital photography was in its infancy, web pages here harder to construct, and broad-band internet access was still in the future.  Many of the early journals here are composed of scanned photographs.

The development of the internet, along with digital photography and simple editing and uploading tools, has allowed field herpers across the planet to communicate and collaborate in amazing ways.  Field Herp Forum has become the prime herpster hangout online.  Field herpers also get together in the field a lot more often these days, and I've made a number of good friends over the past decade.

At any rate, I hope you enjoy my journal entries, and feel free to drop me a note at:

pingleto 'at'


Note:  During these trips, federal, state and local regulations were followed.  Licenses were purchased where necessary, and permission was received before herping on private land.  All animals photographed were release at their point of capture.



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