Reptiles and Amphibians
Mostly realistic designs of snakes, lizards, and frogs. The models of the greatest majority of these were donated to the Kansas Herpetological Society to be auctioned at the annual meeting fund raiser. Most of these patterns are for sale. If you can't find one that you'd like in my Etsy store, send me an email and I'll post it for you.
The snake in this design is a rhinoceros viper (Bitis nasicornis), another one of my favorite species. They live in forests of the African interior and are close kin to the gaboon viper, which has the longest fangs relative to it's body size of any snake in the world. This brightly colored species is highly venomous (which not all snakes are) and they spend most of their time sitting motionless waiting for prey to wander by and then strike from ambush. Their tail is somewhat prehensile to aid in climbing and, like our own copperhead, they can double back on their body and strike upward at someone holding their tail. Unlike the American pitvipers, old world vipers do not have 'pit organs' that detect the body heat of their prey. All that said, rhinoceros vipers are mellow in disposition and strike at humans only when they feel threatened.
This was a special design for the 40th anniversary of the KHS. It is not available for sale.
This is my favorite species of rattlesnake, the speckled or Mitchell’s rattlesnake (Crotalus mitchellii). I designed and stitched him as my annual donation to the Kansas Herpetological Society fund-raising auction for 2014. This species averages about 3ft in length. They come in a variety of color morphs, ranging from this striking white and black variety to shades of dark brown and black, depending on the color of the rocks in their home habitat. They are secretive and largely nocturnal, only becoming diurnal when the weather cools. Their prey consists mostly of small mammals. The speckled rattlesnake is found in southern California, southern Nevada, western Arizona and the Baja peninsula.
This fellow is an smooth green snake, Opheodrys vernalis. I designed and stitched him as my annual donation to the Kansas Herpetological Society fund-raising auction. Smooth green snakes are small, growing no longer than 16 inches and are, of course, green in color with a yellow belly. They are mostly found in northeastern areas of the American continent, rarely extending south of Illinois. They eat mostly insects and prefer moist grassy areas.
This is a variable bush viper (Atheris squamigera), a small species of venomous snake from the rainforests of west and central Africa. They grow to a maximum length of about 30 inches and come in a variety of colors, including greens, blues, browns and, sometimes, reddish or yellow. Their scales are pointed and somewhat raised, giving them an almost feathered appearance. Variable bush vipers feed mostly on small rodents, but will also eat frogs, lizards and birds. As one of the old-world vipers, they do not have the infrared detecting pit organs that give the venomous pit vipers of the new world their name.
Shades of Gray
The 2015 donation to the Kansas Herpetological Society. These are gray treefrogs (Hyla versicolor & Hyla chrysocelis). Both species live in forested habitats of the eastern U.S. and both can change colors from green to a mottled gray, depending on the background on which they are sitting. They are mildly poisonous if licked (as one of my dogs found out). Gray treefrogs are about 1-2 inches long and breed in April or May, usually in ponds. The two species are so similar that they can usually only be told apart by their call. Interestingly, H. versicolor has twice the number of chromosomes as does H. chrysocelis.
This beautiful fellow is a black-tailed rattlesnake, Crotalus molossus. Naturally, they are not found in turquoise and coral in the wild, let alone with wings, but when I was working on this design, my friend and creative consultant, Beth, commented that it looked like a blanket design from the SouthWest. So, I made the fanciful winged version in brighter colors. The naturally colored, wingless version is the "yellow" phase of the species. They also come in a "gray" phase. The species is found in southern Arizona and New Mexico, southwestern Texas, and down into Mexico. They can grow to be close to 4 feet long and are venomous pitvipers.
I donated the model for this design to the Kansas Herpetological Society’s 2016 auction. This is a small selection of poison dart frogs from the jungles of South America. Poison dart frogs range from distasteful to deadly (like the bright yellow one) and are generally tiny, being only around 2 or 3 inches in length as adults. The toxin they secrete through their skin comes from the insects they eat. Those raised in captivity and fed other diets are not poisonous. The species illustrated here are Dendrobates lehmanni, D. leucomelas, D. auratus, D. azureus, D. pumilio, Epipedobates trivittatus, and the yellow Phyllobates terribilis.
I donated the model for this design to the Kansas Herpetological Society’s 2017 auction. These are frogs of the genus Mantella and are found in the jungles of Madagascar. They are less than 2 inches in length, brightly colored, and poisonous. Like new world poison dart frogs, they get the alkaloid toxins in their skins from the food they eat. Mostly Mantellas feed on ants, termites, and other insects (who probably get their toxins from the plants they eat). The species in this design are Mantella expectata, M. madagascariensis, M. viridis, M. crocea, M. baroni, M. cowanii, and the bright yellow M. aurantiaca.
The satanic leaf-tailed gecko (Uroplatus phantasticus) looks much like a dragon in miniature. But, their coloration and somewhat flattened shape lets them hide amongst the leaves of their Madagascar jungle home. They are pretty small, only growing to a total length of about 90mm (3.5 inches). They are nocturnal and have pupils that close down to points rather than slits in bright light. Like most lizards, these geckos feed on small insects. The Uroplatus genus is full of odd looking geckos with extreme camouflage abilities.
This is the red-bellied black snake (Pseudechis porphyriacus) from the eastern coast of Australia. Like many of the snakes in that country, the black snake is venomous. They belong to the Elapidae, a family of snakes that includes cobras and sea snakes, but the venom of the black snake breaks down muscle tissue, prevents blood from clotting, and is not often life-threatening. They tend to freeze or try to escape when disturbed and will only threaten defensively or bite when harassed. Red bellied black snakes are mostly found in wet habitats and feed on a wide range of vertebrate prey species. They grow to 1.5 - 2 meters (5 - 6.5 feet) in length and can flatten the body just behind the head when they feel threatened. I originally stitched her on the darker cloth as my donation to the Kansas Herpetological Society auction in 2020, but wasn’t sure she was visible enough (although that is my favorite version). So, I stitched her again on a lighter cloth.
The Feathered One
This is Atheris hispida, one of the species of bush vipers found in the jungles of Central and East Africa. As with all old world vipers, they lack the pit organs that allow new world vipers to see in infrared. This species has scales with prominent keels, which causes them to curve upward somewhat, giving them an almost feathered appearance. They have a slender build that allows them to climb narrow reeds and the tips of branches. These two were my 2021 donation to the Kansas Herpetological Society.