If you need to identify a snake, try the Snake Identification Facebook group.
For professional, respectful, and non-lethal snake removal and consultation services in your town, try Wildlife Removal USA.

Tuesday, December 29, 2015

Life is Short but Snakes are Long 2015 Milestones

Dear reader,

Instead of debuting my planned new content for this month, I wanted to take a moment to thank you for your readership, to review the several milestones reached by Life is Short but Snakes are Long in 2015, and to outline where it's headed in the future.

The back cover of the paperback edition of Harry Greene's opus Snakes:
The Evolution of Mystery in Nature
, bearing the review by eminent
nature writer David Quammen from which this blog takes its name
Life is Short but Snakes are Long reached half a million unique views this year (by over 320,000 unique readers from nearly every country) on September 28th, 2015. When I began writing it on April 4, 2012, I would never have imagined that so many people would want to read about snakes. Since that time, the pace and intensity of my dissertation research has increased steadily, and my goal for this year was to publish one article a month, which I am proud to say I have achieved (unless you think that this one is cheating, which I kind of do). Even though I wrote fewer articles this year, many of them were more ambitious than my past articles, in that they synthesized large bodies of literature that I personally knew little about before I started writing.

Countries and regions from which readers have accessed Life is Short
From what I can see on this tiny map, we're missing only Svalbard,
Western Sahara, Turkmenistan, and North Korea
My other goals for this blog include: 1) to provide referenced, reputable information that is not available elsewhere, 2) to synthesize & translate information from the peer-reviewed literature, and 3) to indulge my own broad interests. I know I've been successful with #3, which was important to me because I was afraid of becoming too specialized in the process of getting my PhD. Whether or not I've succeeded at numbers 1 & 2 you'll have to tell me. Apparently at least a few people think so, because articles from Life is Short but Snakes are Long have been syndicated by HerpNation Media and linked to, covered, or republished (with permission) by:
I also found out that one of my posts was nominated for a ‘Best Science Writing Online 2013’ contest (although it did not win). Because of the blog, I've also been asked to provide review services on snake biology to Bones on Fox TV, The Blacklist on NBC, and the children's book publisher Cherry Lake Publishing. Finally, I was invited to travel to San Antonio, Texas, in May for the International Herpetological Symposium to speak at their Science Café and also in their general program about Life is Short but Snakes are Long, which I really enjoyed. I want to thank the many editors, writers, scientists, publicists, and reporters who thought my writing was good enough to republish or pay attention to in some form.

My Sonoran Coralsnake (Micruroides euryxanthus)
I also reached a personal herping milestone this year: 100 snake species seen alive and in the wild, on July 30th, 2015, with a Sonoran Coralsnake (Micruroides euryxanthus) that I found on Portal Road in Cochise County, Arizona. This was an especially exciting snake for me because it was my first wild elapid and because I was there with the American Museum of Natural History Southwest Research Station's  Field Herpetology of the Southwest class, where the enthusiasm was nothing short of infectious. I also published several peer-reviewed journal articles and short notes this year, including one that I came across as a direct result of writing Life is Short but Snakes are Long. Because I'll be writing and (hopefully) completing my dissertation in 2016, I'll likely be relying more heavily on updating and re-posting existing material, since I'll have less time to research and write new material. But, I have some new articles planned that I've already begun working on, so there should be a mix of old and new in 2016.

Life is Short but Snakes are Long would not be possible without support from volunteer translators Alvaro Pemartin & Estefania Carrillo, from Utah State University, particularly my advisor Susannah French and the Ecology Center, and from my loving girlfriend and editor Kendal Morris.

Thank you, and happy 2016!

Creative Commons License

Life is Short, but Snakes are Long by Andrew M. Durso is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.