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.

Ambush

The snake in this design is an eyelash pitviper (Bothriechis schlegelii), one of my favorite species. They live in rainforests of Central & South America and come in a variety of colors, two of which are depicted in this pattern. They are venomous (which not all snakes are) and they find prey using a different kind of eye (called a “pit”) that allows them to see infrared (heat).

The plant is one of a hundred or so Heliconia species also found in American rainforests. The modified, colorful leaves (called “bracts”) hide their flowers inside, where they are pollinated by the long beaks of hummingbirds.

Horned

This is the Texas horned lizard, Phrynosoma cornutum, another lizard common here in the central plains, though Kansas, where I live, is the northern edge of their range. They are small and stocky with short legs and lots of spines, hence the ‘horned’ in their name. They mostly depend on camouflage to avoid being eaten and amazingly difficult to see when not moving. Their diet is almost exclusively ants.

All my other reptile designs come in two forms, a natural version of whatever species is represented and a fanciful version with wings or wild colors. I didn’t do that for the horned lizard, because it was such a pain to stitch once that I really didn’t want to do it again. Maybe someday, when I’m really bored and have nothing else to do.

Trap

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.

Tiger salamander

This was a special design for the 40th anniversary of the KHS. It is not available for sale.

Speckles

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.

Green

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.

Patience

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.

Warning

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.

Forest Jewels

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. 

Island Jewels

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. 

Collared Lizard

This is actually a lizard and not a salamander. The mythical 'salamander' is a fire loving, and causing, animal. The myth came about from real lizards and/or salamanders (the amphibious kind) being chased from logs in which they were hiding after the logs had been placed in a fire. For the design of a mythical salamander, I used reds and oranges for his colors, adding in a blue throat for accent.

The blue/green version of this lizard is an accurate representation of the male eastern collared lizard (Crotaphytus collaris). They are a good sized lizard, with a total length of 8-12 inches for adults. Collared lizards live in the central United States in open, rocky habitats. They really like high temperatures, often sitting on rocks that are 100oF or more. Collared lizards will eat anything that can fit in their mouths and run very fast, sometimes going up on their back legs. Males are colored like this guy, blues and greens with a yellow throat and the prominent black collars around the neck. Females are more cryptic and come in shades of browns and grays. Females do get bright reddish spots along their sides when they are pregnant so that males will leave them alone.

Satanic Leaves

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. 

Jet

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 western Africa. They were the 2021 donation to the Kansas Herpetological Society in 2021.