The creepy crawlies are coming.

Spring is here, and Colorado’s vernal display of flora and fauna will soon be in full swing.

Crawling and slithering in the midst of all that fauna will be reptilia and amphibia.

Spring days are prime time for searching for Colorado’s native creepy crawlies, from the Texas horned lizard, which shoots blood out of its eyes to defend itself from predators and to attract the sparkly attentions of one Edward Cullen, to the all-female clone armies of the checkered whiptail and the plateau striped whiptail.

In May, we’re releasing The Guide to Colorado Reptiles and Amphibians by Mary Taylor Young. It’s a helpful guide to all of the slithery and slimy beasties that Colorado has to offer.  The full-color photos and basic profiles of each critter will prove useful to novice herpetologists exploring their backyards and wilderness trails, as well as to anyone who has an interest in identifying the creepy and the crawly.

I had a pretty scary encounter with an unidentified reptilian a few weeks ago. I was shopping for a plant in the wilds of Home Depot. When I picked up a potted flower and tucked it safely in my arm, a small (but very vicious-looking) lizard darted from the plant to my jacket. I watch a lot of Born Survivor: Bear Grylls, so I knew how to react to an animal attack. But just because I knew better doesn’t mean I didn’t throw the plant on the ground while I danced around, making strange sounds, trying to take off my jacket while keeping the lizard as far as possible from my jugular vein. My husband nearly died that day from laughing so hard. If that lizard had been a Texas horned lizard, with a blood-shooting defense mechanism, I would have died from sheer terror. That’s why I take reptiles so seriously.

We’ll be posting more about The Guide to Colorado Reptiles and Amphibians in the weeks to come. I hope that our readers, like me, will be able to use it to identify herptiles in their Colorado habitats, from backyards to canyons, from creekbeds to the plant departments of big-box stores.

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