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Naturalist Notebook 

July 26, 2011

Spotlight On…

Check out this week’s featured specimen! (Pictured below)

Use this one, but it is sans lower jaw

Can you guess what it is?

Here are some hints:

  • You most often find this animal on land, but some species live in salt or fresh water.
  • This animal generally hibernates in the winter and may estivate in the summer

Leave us a comment with your answer! Then come see us outside the Project Lab on Friday, July 29th at 11:30 AM for Specimen Spotlight or in the Classroom on Sunday July 31st for Science Story Adventures in order to find out if you’re right.

Filed under: Spotlight On... — nature @ 12:51 pm


  1. Python! Or some snake species…

    Comment by Kaydee — July 26, 2011 @ 3:16 pm

  2. That was easy, it’s a rattle snake skull, but the lower jaw is not present.

    Comment by Connor — July 26, 2011 @ 4:07 pm

  3. Rattlesnake! Or some other fanged venomous snake. :-)

    Comment by Laurie Osborne — July 26, 2011 @ 5:47 pm

  4. Viper of some kind, rattler if its a California snake. Do we have any native viper that is not a rattlesnake? I guess I better google it!

    @Kaydee a python doesn’t have the big fangs and the skull looks a bit more “lizardy” for lack of a better term.

    Cool stuff

    Comment by RIch — July 26, 2011 @ 7:47 pm

  5. Great guesses everyone! We’re not going to comment on them for the moment, to sustain the mystery …
    @ Rich – Have you ever been to the California Herps website? I did a search there for vipers and came up with a couple sidewinders which can be found in Southern California

    Comment by nature — July 27, 2011 @ 1:46 pm

  6. You are all great herpetologists and made spot-on guesses! It is indeed a member of the viper family. We actually are still working on identifying it down to species.
    Next Tuesday we will spotlight a new specimen. This one should be a bit more difficult; you are obviously ready for more advanced challenges. In the meantime, let us know Who Pooped?

    Comment by nature — July 29, 2011 @ 9:21 am

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