The Spring Lake Adventure Club is so fortunate to have access to not only UT Arlington’s Amphibian and Reptile Diversity Research Center but also its curator, Carl Franklin* (he’s one of our mentors!). This museum contains one of the best herpetology collections in the nation. Through this museum, SLAC-kers have access to rare snakes, frogs, lizards, and turtles sought out by researchers around the world. We do not take that for granted.
* From the UTA website: Carl Franklin is the facility’s only full-time employee and is responsible for maintaining the collection, which is cataloged in detail, and for fulfilling research requests that come in year-round. Franklin clearly loves reptiles and amphibians and everything associated with them. While showing a visitor around the center, he goes to one of the 50-gallon barrels lining the back wall of the reptile room. He opens the lid, reaches his hand into the 140 proof ethanol which fills the barrel, and pulls out a large king cobra, 14 feet in length.
I’m drowning in chocolate here,” he says. “I’m getting to do exactly what I love and have always wanted to do since I was a kid. I’ve been hopelessly addicted to collecting reptiles and amphibians my whole life.”
Franklin, an Arlington native, earned a B.A. in Interdisciplinary Studies from UT Arlington and has worked as a keeper at the Fort Worth Zoo and as a research technician at the Dallas Zoo’s herpetarium.
Here’s Carl showing his collection to a SLAC-ker and her family.
Here’s a SLAC-ker holding a chelodina rugosa – northern snake-necked turtle.
Conraua goliath – Goliath frog
The giant frog must’ve said something hilarious.
Andrias davidianus- Chinese giant salamander
Phrynosoma cornutum – Texas Horned lizard
Drymarchon melanurus erebennus – Texas indigo snake
Another SLAC-ker toured the museum on a different day. As happens sometimes, the adults on-hand were too taken up by what was going on and didn’t get many pictures, but we do have this one with the indigo snake.
Here’s some interesting information about this particular snake, quoted directly from the museum.
Indigo snakes are among the largest of North American snakes with some adults exceeding 8’ in length. These non-venomous snakes are widely appreciated by ranchers as they will consume rattlesnakes and other venomous snakes with gusto and impunity. One of the interesting characteristics of indigo snakes is their calm demeanor and reluctance to bite when handled. They are an important species to the ecology of southern Texas and northern Mexico. In Texas, they are listed as a protected species. This one was estimated to have hatched in 2015 or 2016. It had been severely beaten and deemed as unreleasable when rescued but has since made a full recovery.
Viviana and Carl,
We cannot thank you enough for opening the doors of knowledge to us. We are so lucky to know you. Thank you for everything you do for us.
The Spring Lake Adventure Club