Salamanders vs. lizards
Because many adult salamanders
are about the same shape and size, you may have trouble telling one from the other. Here are a few tips:
* Salamanders are amphibians with moist, smooth skin. Lizards are reptiles with dry, scaly skin.
* You’ll never see claws or more than four toes on salamanders' front feet. Lizards have five toes with claws.
* Salamanders usually stay in or near water, where they return to breed and lay gelatinous eggs. Lizards breed and deposit leathery eggs on land.
Posters a plus for 3rd-graders
A poster series depicting Georgia’s diverse nongame and endangered flora and fauna is appearing in third–grade classrooms statewide. The 59,000 posters produced with support from Georgia Power
, The Environmental Resources Network
and nongame wildlife license plate sales
were recently delivered by Wildlife Resources staff to regional and local public school offices. The aim: Steer students down a road of exploration and discovery.
Petey receives fitting honor
Some know her as the environmental educator behind Momma Bass. Others as Georgia Project WET
’s first coordinator, a Twilight Twirler or a force for green
education in PTAs
statewide. Regardless of how you know Petey Giroux (pictured at left
), you know she’s a determined leader. This spring, the Environmental Education Alliance of Georgia
presented her the Eugene Odum
Lifetime Achievement Award.
More from waterSmart's Deron Davis.
Giving conservation credit
Here's the score on land legislation from the 2008 General Assembly. With House Bill 1274
, lawmakers approved expanding state income tax credits for donated conservation lands. Major changes increased the span of years for which credits can be used and qualified "discounted" property sales for credit. House Bill 1176
soups up the Georgia Land Conservation Program, allowing conservation-
focused nonprofits to apply for loans and state natural resource agencies to receive program grants. Gov. Sonny Perdue
signed both bills into law April 24. Voters decide Nov. 4 whether to change the state constitution via House Resolution 1276
to reduce property tax assessments on large forested conservation tracts. The "Super CUVA" proposal (Conservation Use Valuation Assessment
) would nix a 2,000-acre cap on eligibility, granting tax relief for large forest landowners. Finally, the down side: Perdue's fiscal 2009 request for $35 million in land conservation was sliced to $10 million. Half is earmarked for projects of state significance, the rest for local projects.
From the field
A camp to remember
Silver Lake. River Creek. The Wade Tract
. Magical places that yielded magical sights and sounds -- from a peek at squirming young red-cockaded woodpeckers to laughs over male moorhens fighting for a favored log -- during 2008's first birding boot camp. And not all highlights had feathers. Find out more in this "From the Field" account
, new to Georgia Wild.
: Take a firsthand look at Rx fire
Eastern indigo snake
: Once treated as a subspecies of Drymarchon corais
(the western indigo), the eastern is now considered separate from other Drymarchon species. Eastern indigos
are also called blue indigo or blue gopher snakes.
: Federally and state-listed as threatened.
: Most of Florida, south Georgia and possibly southern Alabama and South Carolina. Georgia populations are concentrated in Coastal Plain longleaf pine sandhills
. Gopher tortoise burrows offer shelter for the diurnal (active by day) snakes.
: North America's longest snake. Adult males reach more than 8 feet and up to 11 pounds. Color: glossy or bluish black.
Not so fast
: Though sometimes confused with speedy black racers
, indigos are comparatively slow moving.
: Deliberate but steady. Indigos have the largest home ranges of any U.S. snake. Ranges exceeding 3,000-4,000 acres have been documented in south Georgia.
On the menu
: Indigos eat almost anything, from birds to turtles to rattlesnakes, chewing or simply swallowing prey.
: Habitat loss, death by car and people, pet trade collection (which is illegal), fewer gopher tortoise burrows and gassing of burrows by rattlesnake hunters.
And no threats
: Indigos are non-venomous and rarely bite humans, even if handled.
Source: "Amphibians and
By the numbers
Reptiles of Georgia"
Banking on wildlife
For every $100 of the $1.6 billion spent in Georgia on watchable wildlife, about $24 paid for bird food, says a 2006 U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service survey
. The rest went to:
* Camera equipment
(plus film): $22.
* Food for other wildlife
* Nest boxes, bird houses, etc.
* Magazines and books
* Membership dues, donations
No, you can't shoot robins
Two men were cited for killing a protected species after a complaint led Wildlife Resources Cpl. Larry Dean to the remains of about 75 robins near an Eastman home. The 19- and 20-year-old Eastman residents shot the birds with a pellet gun over about two weeks, leaving the carcasses on a nearby lot. Complaints about the dead robins and apparently errant shots that hit car windows led to a 911 call in early March. Dean said the men didn't seem to know it was illegal to kill songbirds. A probate judge possibly took that into account. Each man was fined $35. They also had to pick up the dead birds.
Nongame in the news
* The Florida Times-Union: "'Nikon' offers snapshot of promising year for turtles,"
outlook for 2008 sea turtle nesting on Georgia coast. (April 30)
* The Post-Searchlight (Bainbridge): "Perdue visits here to announce conservation plans, acquisition,"
concerning Silver Lake, Conserve Georgia. (April 25)
* Georgia Public Broadcasting: "Georgia Gazette" interview
with nongame biologist Clay George about right whales. (April 16)
* The Atlanta Journal-Constitution: "Collecting frog voices is riveting work,"
about DNR's role in the North American Amphibian Monitoring effort. (April 11)
* Athens Banner-Herald: "Drought draining numbers of local water life, scientists say,"
on impacts of drought, growth, other factors. (March 11)
* Chattanooga Times Free Press: "Biologists, students survey fish in fragile creek,"
about sampling Conasauga River tributary with high school students. (March 22)
* WALB-TV (10): "Rangers clearing Reed Bingham,"
about prescribed burn at state park. (March 25)
* May 10
: International Migratory Bird Day
* May 17
: Outdoor Festival and J.A.K.E.S. Day
(archery, fishing, shooting, wildlife shows and exhibits), 10 a.m.-2 p.m., Charlie Elliott Wildlife Center
* May 27-28
: DNR Board
committee (1 p.m. May 27) and full meeting (9 a.m. May 28), DNR offices, Atlanta.
* June 21-27
: Georgia River Network's Paddle Georgia 2008
(Thomaston to Montezuma on the Flint River).
* June 22-28
: Pollinator Week
* June 24-25
: DNR Board
committee (1 p.m. June 24) and full meeting (9 a.m. June 25), DNR offices, Atlanta.
* Sept. 27
: National Public Lands Day
Photo credits (from top):
Masthead: Hymenocallis coronaria
(shoals spider-lily) along Flint River. Ga. DNR
* Teen birder adds to YBC species checklist. Ga. DNR
* Petey Giroux with EEA award. EEA
* Book cover: UGA Press
* Silver Lake tract: John M. Hall
* Eastern indigo: Dirk J. Stevenson
* Young gopher tortoise: Ga. DNR
* Whooping crane. John, Karen Hollingsworth/USFWS
volume 1, issue 3
Georgia Wild is a bimonthly e-newsletter produced by the Georgia Wildlife Resources Division and focused on conserving nongame species, those not legally fished for or hunted. The newsletter is delivered free to subscribers. Subscribe or see archive issues here.
Wildlife Resources' Nongame Conservation Section conserves and protects Georgia's diversity of native animals and plants and their habitats through research, management and education. The section receives no state funds, depending on grants, donations and fundraisers such as nongame license plate sales, the Give Wildlife a Chance state income tax checkoff and Weekend for Wildlife.
(770) 761-3035 for details on direct donations. The nongame plates -- the bald eagle/U.S. flag and ruby-throated hummingbird -- are available for a one-time $25 feet at all county tag offices, by checking the wildlife license plate box on mail-in registration forms or through online renewal