Okay, if you got this far, you'll notice my blog isn't quite ready yet. Everything should look a bit better in the next few weeks once I'm down in South Carolina.
For those of you who don't know, I'm going to be teaching environmental education to students on a barrier island called Seabrook. This is an amazing opportunity to learn all kinds of cool stuff about ocean and maritime forest ecology, it's a chance to meet new people and share an experience, and put my Ontario Parks interpretive skills to work.
Now let's get back to the question up at the top of this post. This is a taster of some of the things I will be teaching the students. If it goes over well, I might keep this going for those who are interested.
(From Nature Smart, a cool nature guide by Stan Tekiela and Karen Shanberg)
These critters are cold-blooded (ectothermic), which means having a a body temperature that changes with the outside temperature. Since snakes don't produce heat, they must get it from the sun. That's why you see snakes and other herps absorbing the heat of sun-warmed roads and trails, or sitting on a rock; they are basking. When they become too warm, they go underground or under leaves to cool off.
If you liked that tidbit, then you'll like this:
The word reptile is Latin, repere. Like the Greek work herpeton, it means to creep, which very well describes how these animals get around.