Friday, May 13, 2011

Oklahoma part 2 - Tulsa Zoo

On Sunday, my sister and I drove a little over two hours northeast of Norman to Tulsa, to visit the zoo and for me to see some new country.  Several zoo exhibits were closed for renovations, but we still saw some neat animals, and several birds I had not seen before in other zoos.  Strangely enough, my favorite animals weren't even part of the exhibits! We saw two cardinals close-up and a pipevine swallowtail (Battus philenor philenor) cruise over the walkway, which added another new butterfly species to my life-list.
Northern cardinal (male) posing in the wind at the Tulsa Zoo, near the wetlands area where we saw the snake.
Near the edge of the zoo, there was a wetlands area open to wild critters, and while strolling on the small boardwalk over part of the pond, we noticed a large snake hiding in some semi-aquatic plants. Thanks to Richard Butler ( for help identifying it as the diamondback water snake (Nerodia rhombifer), a non-venomous but aggressive snake that because of its habits is often mistaken for the venomous cottonmouth (aka water moccasin).
Diamondback water snake at the Tulsa Zoo (not part of a caged exhibit!)

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