Two of my favorite things to do are to travel and to look for reptiles in the wild, aka to “herp.” I have been fortunate to have done quite a bit of both, and I plan on doing more in the future. Here are some photos and stories of the more memorable herping trips I’ve had so far.
For three months I traveled up the east coast of Australia from Sydney to Cairns, spending most of my time volunteering at Koorana Crocodile Farm near Rockhampton, Queensland. This is the best job I have ever had. Surrounded by thousands of saltwater crocodiles every day, collecting eggs, fixing fence, feeding and moving crocs that graduate to larger rearing pens. Everyday was different, and every day was awesome.
I learned a lot about crocodiles and about Australian reptiles in general working on the farm. I had the privilege to work alongside some great mentors who helped me understand reptiles-and life-a little better.
Other animals were encountered in and around the farm as well, Brown Tree Snakes (Boiga irregularis) could be found in the trees or climbing the chain link fences. Goannas and lizards galore could be seen scurrying around as well. There was no shortage of the invasive Cane Toad out at night and geckos and their eggs were regularly found among wood piles.
The neat thing about Australia is how enigmatic everything is. We fed wild green parrots and kookaburras from our front porch before going to work. Every town has a botanical gardens full of flying foxes it seems. To see a kangaroo, echidna, frilled lizard, or blue-tounged skink crossing the road… it was all really neat! I saw a coastal taipan crossing the road one day and found a coastal carpet python in what was essentially my driveway at the time. It was a lot to take in each day, and I loved every minute of it.
Stay tuned for Part 2: Peru