Friday, January 14, 2022

I live in the Everglades now

I moved to the Florida Everglades in December 2021!  It is perhaps the closest thing there is to a real Jurassic Park, with its abundance of big reptiles and birds, and conifers and palms.  In my district, Shark Valley, there are zero sharks, at least two crocodiles, and more alligators than I can count.  I am a sailor on horseback in this subtropical climate and miss huddling by the fire against the chill of winter.

Photos #1-2 of this post: ©Ross Wood Studlar.  Photos #3-10: NPS / Ross Wood Studlar


I drove to the Everglades from the west side through Big Cypress National Preserve and met my first alligator in Florida outside the Oasis Visitor Center.  

After an arduous move out of New Mexico and cross-country trek and before the arduous task of getting moved in to South Florida, I stopped at the entrance sign.

I got introduced to the Everglades wildlife ….


Friday, November 26, 2021

Unique Gifts for Animal Lovers

For unique gifts for anyone you know who likes animals or likes stories with pictures, check out my Etsy site, Comics from the Wood: Happy Holidays and Merry Christmas!


Friday, October 1, 2021

Come See My Work at ABQZF10, Real-Life and Virtual

My work will be featured at ABQ Zine Fest 10(!), although I will not be there in-person this time. The event takes place tomorrow Saturday, October 2, 11 AM- 5 PM at La Esquinta, 507 4th St SW, Albuquerque, NM. There will be various workshops and a pop-up store, including my books Frog Stories, Follow the Moon, and Can Jumping Spiders See the Moon? ABQ Zine Fest is taking a hybrid approach this year, combining real-life and virtual events. You can also check out the exhibitors online. I am there under the banner of Comics from the Wood. Here is their poster ©2021 ABQZF. #ABQZF #ABQZF10 #Comics #Zines

Monday, August 16, 2021

Desert Tortoise versus Gila Monster




As a follow-up to my previous desert tortoise scene, I looked for an opportunity to draw a female in battle.  I learned that while female tortoises rarely exhibit aggression towards their own species, they can be fierce in defending their nests and will even fight Gila monsters who want to eat the eggs.  The only venomous lizard native to the United States, the Gila monster must be a foreboding opponent.  But so is a reptilian battle tank with the temperament of a mother grizzly!

Friday, August 6, 2021

The Song of Spadefoot Toads

Another rainstorm on Sunday the first night of August, and the Couch’s spadefoot toads were back in chorus!  There were also a few western green toads in the flooded field.  During an earlier rainstorm back in April, I heard the calls of New Mexico spadefoot toads.  Quite a variety of amphibians for a patch of desert!  (Scaphiophus couchii, Anaxyrus debilis insidior, Spea multiplicata stagnalis)


Thursday, July 22, 2021

The glorious and scary lifecycle of spadefoot toads

My friend Tristen rescued spadefoot toad tadpoles from a flooded road, which was not going to stay flooded for very long. She nurtured the tadpoles in a bucket and a pool, feeding them dried shrimp, baby frog formula pellets, and algae-based wafers. In two weeks, they grew into fully formed spadefoot toads. (These amphibians are supremely adapted to desert life and emerge from their burrows after summer monsoons to breed in ephemeral pools. The tadpoles metamorphose on hyperdrive.)

As the young spadefoots, one by one, hopped out of their pool and back into the wild, they inevitably suffered some casualties to birds!

Friday, July 9, 2021

Tortoise combat


In researching desert tortoises (Gopherus agassizii) for a new comics project, I learned that the males engage in fearsome combat for territory and access to females.  Each tortoise digs at his opponent with the gular horn at the front of his plastron (lower shell) to flip the other onto his back!   For defense, they stand tall on their four legs and become hard to flip.  The tortoises can eventually right themselves, although being overturned must be stressful.  If they knew that they are a threatened species, would they reconsider their dueling traditions?  Inspired by the slow-moving warriors, I crafted this poster.