EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA

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April 23, 2013

On the hunt

Public asked by Fish and Game to record amphibian, reptile sightings

(Continued)

“It is a species that primarily occurs in the sandy soils around the Merrimack River in Southern New Hampshire,” he said. “But they don’t have a lot of habitat remaining.”

Marchand said the snake is often confused with a cobra, due to the way it can snap its head and hiss at someone.

“They’re a harmless species. When they’re threatened, they like to play dead,” he said. “I know a lot of people often fear snakes. But we ask people to just respect them and walk away.”

Other snakes to watch for are the black racer, which to date has only been spotted as far east as Hudson, and the ribbon snake, a yellow-and-green striped snake. None of the snakes are poisonous.

One of the primary focuses for the department in recent years has been the Blanding’s turtle, which is on the state’s endangered species list. After receiving many sightings from the public, the department was able to catch and mark more than 100 turtles last year, including many in Southern New Hampshire.

“Reporting is something that we can do that is proactive,” said Chris Bogard, a licensed turtle rehabilitator from Epping. “Once you know there has been a sighting in one area, there may be a population. It’s something I make sure I keep an eye on.”

The department also tracked 125 black racer snakes with microchips. To sign up to volunteer, visit wildlife.state.nh.us/Wildlife/Nongame/reptiles_amphibians.htm. Photos of all species can also be submitted via email at RAARP@wildlife.nh.gov or they can be mailed to NHFG – Nongame Program, 11 Hazen Drive, Concord, 03301.

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