Below we have listed sources for information, equipment, supplies, etc., that visitors to this website might find useful. All links have been checked as of the date listed at the bottom of the page. To suggest additional links or if you encounter a broken link, please contact us at SierraHerps@gmail.com.
Mexican Herpetological Society (Sociedad Herpetólogica Mexicana) — Mexico’s largest herpetological organization, publisher of the Bulletin of the Mexican Herpetological Society (Boletín de la Sociedad Herpetológica Mexicana).
Society for the Study of Amphibians and Reptiles (SSAR)— The largest international organization devoted to the study of amphibians and reptiles. Publisher of Journal of Herpetology, Herpetological Review, Catalogue of American Amphibians and Reptiles, and other series.
Alterna Page — A terrific online resource for all things related to Gray-Banded Kingsnakes. Maintained by Joseph Forks.
Mexicana Complex & Montane Kingsnake Enthusiast Page (Facebook) — online forum for enthusiasts.
Alterna Folks (Facebook) — online forum for enthusiasts
Kingsnake.com Mexicana Kingsnakes Forum — online forum for enthusiasts, now mostly inactive, but useful for archival material
Kingsnake.com Gray-banded Kingsnake Forum — online forum for alterna enthusiasts, now mostly inactive, but useful for archival material
FHF Herpetoculture Forum — online forum for enthusiasts.
Chihuahuan Desert Research Institute— Located in Fort Davis, Texas (in the heart of alterna country), CDRI promotes public awareness, appreciation, and concern for the natural diversity of the Chihuahuan Desert region through education and research.
Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum — The world-famous Desert Museum, located in the Sonoran Desert outside of Tucson, maintains an impressive display of herpetofauna native to the southwestern U.S. and northwestern Mexico.
Tucson Herpetological Society — The Tucson Herpetological Society is a nice mix of professional and avocational herpetologists, dedicated to conservation, education, and research concerning the amphibians and reptiles of Arizona and Mexico. Their monthly newsletter, The Sonoran Herpetologist, is available online via the THS web site.
Texas Herpetological Society— The THS has to be one of the longest-running regional herp organizations in the U.S., with its formation dating from 1939. The group is a blend of academic and avocational herpetologists who meet twice yearly for a spring field trip and a fall symposium. The society’s newsletter is available online.
Dan Johnson’s Black Gap Alterna— Although Dan is no longer working with captive kingsnakes, his website is a tremendous resource in depicting the remarkable pattern variation within a relatively small area of the range of Lampropeltis alterna.
Herping the Trans-Pecos — Images and information maintained by John Hollister
Southwestern Center For Herpetological Research —Nice collection of online resources, with a focus on herpetofauna of the American Southwest and Mexico.
Herpetofauna Mexicana—Facebook group with postings in both English and Spanish, membership open to all.
Mexicana Complex & Montane Kings —Facebook group with membership open to all.
Captive Care & Breeding of Colubrid Snakes (Steven Osborne)
EQUIPMENT AND SUPPLIES
Reptile Basics— Manufacturer of rack systems that we use and have recently introduced a new line of racks. They also sell a variety of other husbandry-related products.
Boaphile Plastics— Manufacturer of rack systems that we use.
The Bean Farm— Supplier of nearly everything related to captive maintenance of reptiles, and they also carry various shipping supplies.
Instrumart— Supplier of Raytek infrared thermometers.
AcuRite — Manufacturer and distributor of all kinds of digital thermometers nicely suited for husbandry applications.
Fenix Outfitters — More options for field lights and other gear. Great lights and great service! These are our favorite lights. And, this company’s attention to customer service is second to none. If you are going to buy Fenix lights, buy them here.
FourSevens — Experts are recommending this relatively new company as the place for flashlights. The business looks to be closed temporarily (Dec. 2017) but is expected to resume operation in 2018. Stay tuned.
Going Gear.com — Retailer for all manner of camping and outdoor gear, including Fenix, Surefire, and ThruNite flashlights.
Streamlight-Flashlights.com— Maker of outstanding field lights, from big ones to little ones.
Princeton Tec – Manufacturers of outstanding field lighting equipment. Be sure to check out their line of headlamps.
Battery Junction – Online retailer of most major brands of “serious” flashights, as well as an excellent source for bulk purchases of batteries at discounted prices.
Medic Batteries – Source of discount bulk batteries. We alternate between these guys and Battery Junction for our battery needs. Both are excellent.
SPOT Satellite Messenger—This cool device is probably not for everyone, but is worth a look if you spend field time in remote or hazardous places where mobile phone service is unavailable.
Superior Shipping Supplies— Suppliers of insulated shipping boxes, clear plastic containers, show displays, etc.
TSK Supply— High quality source of shipping supplies/containers. They carry all of the standard products and their prices are competitive.
Layne Laboratories — High quality outlet for flash-frozen feeder rodents, though prices tend to be a bit higher than competitors, so watch for sales. Great quality in superior packaging.
Big Cheese Rodent Factory — Based in Texas, they offer flat-rate shipping. No direct experience, but other breeders recommend them.
Ship Your Reptiles — Fedex Priority Overnight shipping of live reptiles at discounted prices (all of our shipments utilize this service). They also sell all necessary shipping supplies and have great information about proper packaging and temperature control.
Raven Maps & Images— The nicest topographic wall maps of Mexico and Texas (and other places).
Omni Resources— Maker and distributor of raised relief wall maps of Mexico, U.S. states, and elsewhere. They also are distributors of Raven Maps products.
Mexico Atlas GPS— Electronic map files that can be uploaded to GPS receivers.
Mexico Maps— Just as the name suggests.
International Travel Maps & Books — ITMB produces very nice Mexico regional maps (e.g., “Mexico North East Travel Map”) and adds new maps to their inventory periodically.
DeLorme Gazetteers — DeLorme produces the best state-level road atlases around. If you need a great map book for New Mexico, Texas, or other U.S. states, check out this site.
Map Coordinate Conversion — The GPS Visualizer site is the best we have found for converting all manner of GPS coordinates from one format to another. Very handy!
Curious about weather and climate in areas where Mexicana kings occur? The links below will give you some idea, although please realize that the ranges of these snakes might not extend to the area from which weather data are taken. For example, Ciudad Durango is the closest city for which weather information is available, and yet Durango Mountain Kingsnakes are found 22 miles/35 km west of the city in a cooler, higher-elevation setting that receives more rainfall.
Mexico – be sure to click on the Wundermap link on these pages for interactive radar maps.
Ciudad Durango, DGO (elev. 6093 ft / 1857 m)
Saltillo, COAH (elev. 5873 ft / 1790 m)
Monterrey, NL (elev. 1270 ft / 387 m)
San Luis Potosí, SLP (elev. 6243 ft / 1903 m)
Zacatecas, ZAC (elev. 7021 ft / 2140 m)
Aguascalientes, AGS (elev. 6184 ft / 1885 m)
Queretaro, QTO (elev. 5978 ft / 1822 m)
Guanajuato, GTO (elev. 5968 ft / 1819 m)
Morelia, MICH(elev. 6014 ft / 1833 m)
Texas / New Mexico (from west to east) – be sure to click on the Wundermap link on these pages for interactive radar maps.
TX: El Paso Co.: El Paso (elev. 3943 ft / 1202 m)
NM: Eddy Co.: Carlsbad(elev. 3105 ft / 946 m)
TX: Brewster Co.: Alpine(elev. 4584 ft / 1397 m)
TX: Brewster Co.: Terlingua(elev. 3100 ft / 945 m)
TX: Terrell Co.: Sanderson(elev. 2955 ft / 901 m)
TX: Terrell Co.: Dryden(elev. 2115 ft / 645 m)
TX: Reeves Co.: Pecos(elev. 2601 ft / 793 m)
TX: Crockett Co.: Ozona (elev. 2398 ft / 731 m)
TX: Pecos Co.: Fort Stockton(elev. 3047 ft / 929 m)
TX: Jeff Davis Co.: Fort Davis(elev. 4861 ft / 1482 m)
TX: Crockett Co.: Iraan(elev. 2433 ft / 742 m)
TX: Val Verde Co.: Comstock(elev. 1543 ft / 470 m)
TX: Pecos Co.: Sheffield(elev. 2153 ft / 656 m)
Moon Phase Calculator — Needing to plan for nocturnal field searches? Click on this link, then scroll to bottom of page to select YEAR and MONTH.
WeatherBuffs—Do you obsess about weather? Current and pending weather conditions can be critical factors in predicting whether our target species will be surface active. WeatherBuffs offers an amazing range of products for amateurs up to professional meteorologists.
Texas Sunrise / Sunset Times — this useful site allows you to choose from among numerous listed Texas locations to calculate moon rise/set times.
WeatherSpark – here’s another really neat site that displays weather data in a unique format. Check it out!
Note: There are lots of cool new weather apps for smartphones…almost too many to keep track of. We’ll add some links to this page as time allows.
Whether searching for herps in the wild or simply observing captive animals, being able to record good photos adds immeasurably to the experience. For sources of information or to purchase equipment, consult the following sites:
FHF Image Lab — Sponsored by FieldHerpForum, this forum is just for herp folks and offers great information.
B&H Photo — A reliable source for all things digital. If you buy stuff from online or mail order outlets, check out the dealers before you commit to a purchase.
fredmiranda.com — A wealth of information about equipment and techniques. Strongly oriented toward Canon equipment.
KenRockwell.com — Comprehensive site containing reviews of cameras and lenses, along with considerable “how-to” information.
Nikonians.org — If you own Nikon equipment, check out this site.
Sto-Fen Products — Makers of the Omni-Bounce flash diffusers used by many herp photographers for macro work. The Omni-Bounce units are small, rectangular plastic boxes that snap on to flash units.
Joby Gorillapod — The Gorillapod is a cool little flexible tripod that can be used to stabilize a camera or to position remote flashes. They come in different sizes for different purposes.
Lucas Strobe Systems — Here’s another entrant into the flash bracket market, but it’s not cheap. The bracket is well constructed, but if using full-sized flash units (like Nikon SB800’s) and a full-frame camera, the unit can be somewhat unwieldy. That’s based on our experience.
Medic Batteries — Whether for photo or flashlight needs, batteries are expensive. Medic Batteries is one of several online sources for batteries greatly discounted from typical retail prices.
The Battery Station — Another online source for batteries greatly discounted from typical retail prices.
Battery Junction — Online source for batteries greatly discounted from typical retail prices. They also carry top LED flashlights from Surefire and Fenix.
Thom Hogan’s Nikon Field Guide — A great source for reviews, advice, techniques and more for Nikon equipment.
F-stop — Makers of the ultimate in camera backpacks, from small stuff to serious pro packs. Their mountain series (linked here) is probably most appropriate for herp photographers who haul gear into the field.
Kinesis Photo Gear — Another outlet for very cool photography-related stuff. Check it out!
Although only marginally related to the content of this website, we believe it’s worth sharing our experiences.
Earthlink — Ever try canceling an account with these folks? Good luck! Prospective customers are hereby forewarned! It’s a byzantine process, clearly designed to discourage customers from trying to escape!
Bluehost — First-rate operation, currently hosting this site. No complaints…never an issue.