Tuesday, April 27, 2010
After an incredible journey to Gahanna one week ago The Reptile Enthusiast gang, led by Coyote Peterson, returned to the swamp strewn with Snapping Turtles. Cameraman Chammp Swaggerty and field factologist/environmental enthusiast Jasper Applewood joined in the search for the ferocious Common Snapping Turtle. It wasn't so much a matter of "if" we find any turtles...it was just a matter of "when" and "how many"!
Before we get deep into the muck and show you some of these beasts...let me introduce you to the team!
Chammp Swaggerty is a fearless and danger thirsty nature cinematographer who will go to any length necessary to get the best shot. Perfect example of his cunning and daring techniques was displayed on this past expedition as a monstrous bull snapping turtle lunged out and took hold of the camera's microphone. When we promise the up close look at these dangerous reptiles, Chammp is the one behind the camera nearly getting his face bit off. His willingness to follow Coyote into the harshest of environments and get into the face of the most dangerous reptiles on the planet is what makes him... Chammp Swaggerty.
Jasper Applewood is the co presenter and voice of The Reptile Show. His knowledge of the environment and his willingness to brave its harshest conditions are what make him an environmental enthusiast. Following Coyote into the thickest bogs and swamps he unearths all sorts of creepy crawlies and educates our audience about the incredible world thriving around us. From birds to poison ivy, spiders to muskrats...Jasper Applewood knows the facts about the environments we will explore and the creatures that inhabit it.
So who wants to see some reptilian beasts? This expedition was great practice for the team. We caught everything from Frogs to Snapping Turtles and experienced some incredibly deep mud in the process. Here is an up close look at the prize specimen of the day...a 35lb bull snapping turtle.
The Beast on the Board Walk...we brought this monster up onto the board walk for some onlookers to see...as can be imagined...he was none too happy.
Look at those CLAWS!
Yes...the camera does get this dangerously close to those razor sharp jaws.
What a beauty!
Im Coyote Peterson...and this...is The Reptile Show!
Thursday, April 15, 2010
Yesterday I set off into a surprisingly urban environment, Gahanna Ohio's Walnut Creek Bog. Rumors foretold of incredible beasts lurking just beneath the surface of the shallow mud hole and as we were soon about to find...those rumors were all too true.
During the month of April the Common Snapping Turtle is unearthing itself from a long slumbering winter hibernation...and the males are beginning to battle with each other for the rights to breeding grounds. Walnut Creek Bog is literally a stew of massive sized turtles and in the past 3 days we have captured and recorded 8 of these mud monsters. The largest with a carapace measuring nearly 15 inches and weighing 35 lbs, the smallest...could fit in the palm of my hand.
So far only a single female has been identified...the rest...a bunch of gruff, angry males looking for a good time. So what did I do...well...I threw myself right into the middle of it all and stirred up the pot. With the help of my incredible crew, cinematographer Chammp Swaggerty and Field Factologist Jasper Applewood we had an incredible first shoot of the summer.
Take a look at some of Japser's great shots...and stay tuned for more as the Reptile Chronicles continue...
Look at me...like a kid in a candy turtle shop... wrestling a 35lb monster from the gunk. This turtle put up a fight unlike anything we have ever seen...and when released...it actually tried to attack Coyote several times. The footage is incredible...talk about a dominant, territorial predator!
A moment of admiration between the battles.
A turtle like this dominates the environment...and to be honest, it also dominated my hands with its hind claws...slicing the heck out of me during the catch!
Always fun to discover...the smallest catch of the day who was no less of a fighter then his big brothers...in fact...this little guys claws were like razor blades...my hands have the lacerations to prove it.
The calm of the storm...take a look at those claws, if that isn't from the Jurassic Period I don't know what is!
And when it was all said and done...the beasts return to the dark murky abyss where they will slumber and wait for their prey. We will return to Gahanna soon as we continue to capture, research, record, admire and release these incredible reptiles!
Tuesday, April 6, 2010
Friday April 2nd, 2010:
The temperature had reached nearly eighty degrees and The Reptile Enthusiast Gang set off into the wild to see what sort of scalies were out and about. Early on in the trip we happened upon a large Northern Water Snake. After a few still photographs and some good up close video footage, Coyote handed the camera over to Jasper so that he could make the catch. It was a wild one, this snake was incredibly ferocious, luckily Coyote wasn't bitten...but there were a few close calls!
As the afternoon wore on Coyote and Jasper explored some inlets of Alum Creek Lake, spotting several Painted Turtles...but no luck at finding the Elusive Common Snapping Turtle!
We finally made our way to an incredibly remote bog that was the perfect environment for Snapping Turtles. Thick mud, algae covered water top and dead logs strewn about everywhere...this place was certain to have the beast we trekked after.
Then it happened... in the far back corner of the bog we located a slumbering beast! He wasn't a very big specimen but he put up an incredible fight, snapping and clawing like mad as we lifted him from the murky depths and brought him ashore for some up close photography. It was an incredible end to a perfect adventure!
No Nets, No Traps, No PROBLEM! This...is THE REPTILE SHOW!
Here are some of Jasper Applewood's fantastic pics from the field!
The Beast was ANGRY!
Finally he calmed down and we got some great footage!
It was a great first expedition of the year...stay tuned for more incredible adventures!