Rattlers, Peepers and Snappers

We are excited to announce that our DVD on the reptiles and amphibians of New England is now available! The name of the DVD is "Rattlers, Peepers, and Snappers" and you can obtain this DVD from Vince's website at at http://www.rpsdvd.com. You can also find this at our local Vermont Book Shop (well worth the visit for this, our posters, and other herp materials) in Middlebury, Vermont.

... my 13-year old ... was so enthralled that she watched the entire disc and took all the quizzes before realizing that she’d missed the one TV show she was planning to watch that evening. -- S. Faccio

Jim Andrews and Vince Franke of Peregrine Productions teamed up to produce a DVD with over three hours of footage covering the identification, natural history, habitat, and conservation of all native reptiles and amphibians known to breed in New England. It includes reptile and amphibian field adventures with experts throughout New England.

A Good Idea

A few years ago, Jim and Vince talked about putting together a DVD on the reptiles and amphibians of Vermont. In addition to footage of all of our reptiles and amphibians, Jim originally wanted the DVD to include a series of field trips with herpetologists searching for and learning about a variety of our herptiles.

Eastern Ribbonsnake (Thamnophis sauritus) by C. Slesar

Eastern Ribbonsnake (Thamnophis sauritus)
Photo by C. Slesar

Jim's goal was conservation through education and his thinking was that a much wider audience needed to be introduced to reptiles and amphibians using new media.

Making it Happen

Vince took off with the idea, expanded it to include all of the reptiles and amphibians of New England and consequently included a far more diverse group of biologists and researchers leading what we now call "the adventures". He also added video and audio quizzes and many other features. He traveled throughout the region to shoot first-hand footage of all reptiles and amphibians currently breeding in New England.

"The first in a new generation of DVD field guides from some of the most respected ecologists and herpetologists in New England."

Of course we cover the basic identification, natural history, distribution, and conservation of all of these herptiles, only this time, you get to see them alive and in the field. For those who want more information on our herptiles, a bibliography of additional resources and websites is included.

"Included are the majority of the species that occur in eastern Canada and it is relevant for herpetologists and naturalists over all of northeastern North America.
     It is an ideal learning or teaching tool.... there are fact sheets, quizzes, 'resource pages' and the calls of each frog species.... The accuracy and immediacy of the new DVD is a model for any future efforts elsewhere." -- F. Cook

It is useful and educational tool for naturalists and professionals of all ages. A portion of the proceeds will help support the Atlas.


Rattlers, Peepers and Snappers received an award for Scientific Content at the 32nd Annual International Wildlife Film Festival, in May 2009.


"This DVD, while not organized just like a traditional paper field guide, supplies much of the same information but with video, interviews and an ease of use that, in some ways, surpass a standard field guide." -- D. Marcy
"My high school biology students were fascinated by Rattlers, Peepers and Snappers. The movie generated a lot of good questions and a wonderful discussion. In a course that spends a great deal of time studying genetics, this movie helps bring biology back to the organism level. It also exposes students to the natural world, which, for the average kid, who spends most their time in an electronic world, should be an important part of their education." --Mark Paul, Biology Teacher, Essex High School

Cook, Francis R. 2008. Rattlers, Peepers & Snappers. The Canadian Field-Naturalist 122(1):85. http://www.canadianfieldnaturalist.ca/index.php/cfn/article/view/530/530 (accessed February 28, 2010). (Review of DVD)

Faccio, Steve. 2009. Video Guide to Reptiles and Amphibians. Northern Woodlands (March 16, 2009). http://northernwoodlands.org/knots and bolts/video guide to reptiles and amphibians/ (accessed April 2, 2009). (Review of DVD)

Goldfarb, Keith. 2009. Noteworthy Books. Northeastern Naturalist 16(1).

Marcy, Darren. 2009. Outdoors VT: DVD features New England’s critters. RutlandHerald.com (April 3, 2009). http://www.rutlandherald.com/ article/ 20090403/ FEATURES08/ 904030315 (accessed April 3, 2009). (Review of DVD) [Update 02-19-2012: Login to Newspaper now required]

Feedback from Viewers


"Rattlers, Peepers and Snappers is a captivating mix of conservation ethics, environmental education, and entertainment with appealing presentations by professional, biologically informed herpetologists who are also ecologists. The conservation message, enhanced by superb photography, offers powerful and effective support for the value of natural habitats and the inherent beauty of amphibians and reptiles. " --J. Whitfield Gibbons, Partners in Amphibian and Reptile Conservation, Professor Emeritus, University of Georgia
"What a great piece of work! ANYONE--especially teachers--would find this valuable in helping others understand the complexity and wonder of the planet we occupy with many other creatures. Thanks for doing this." --Steve E. Wright, National Wildlife Federation
"Here's a gem for anyone curious about New England's reptiles and amphibians. This DVD ($24.95 retail, $15 wholesale) covers identification, biology, ecology, migration and conservation in segments that are easy to follow, informative, well-organized and presented, comprehensive and beautiful.

Vince Franke's photography is exceptional. He takes us into these organisms' habitats, even underwater, for eye level coverage (and for a spotted salamander, that's low). The footage of five-lined skinks is remarkable, as anyone who has tried to glimpse this rare, shy, speedy lizard can attest. And there's even footage of the elusive mudpuppy. Franke makes photography look easy. Sometimes it's being in the right place at the right time, but mostly it's having the patience and technical skill to capture these organisms at their best and on their own terms.

Jim Andrews' command of information and comfortable yet authoritative delivery style are tops. He packs all the essential points into brief segments without data overload or a lecturing tone. He defers to other experts on species like the spiny softshell turtle and worm snake, and they clearly know their subjects, but they don't capture your attention and imagination the way Jim's delivery does.

I can't imagine a better holiday present for the budding herpetologist in your family than this DVD. It's informative, entertaining and aesthetically appealing. It's the best." --Warren King, Audubon Vermont, Otter Creek Chapter
"I've watched this DVD several times and love it! The sound of peepers made me smile the first time I watched. It was snowing outside and peepers seem almost a lifetime away. Each time I watch I see or learn something new. The DVD supplies information on the 52 reptiles and amphibians in New England, some of the conservation work involved in maintaining healthy populations and much more.

There are three hours worth of information on this DVD. Each session feels like you've been on a field trip. The music and scenery are great. You can take a Reptile Adventure (high speed connection needed) to see for yourself. Pay close attention to the DVD, there's a quiz at the end. No really, there is. The DVD includes documents you can print.

I'd love to see this video in all of our schools. It's an excellent learning tool for kids from kindergarten through high school. My 15 year old daughter said, "I didn't know that," several times. This is a great gift for everyone. " --Robin Follette, Editor/Publisher Maine Nature News
"I just watched the film tonight and...wow! It's so good!! I really, really enjoyed it. The vivid video clips also made me feel again the delight I felt as a kid when I found spotted salamanders, etc. I think it's a fantastic educational tool." --Andrea, New York
"What a useful tool for the individual, schools, Conservation Groups and Commissions! This DVD not only provides excellent identification of New England's Reptile and Amphibian species but insights into their habitat requirements, research and conservation efforts. I came away with a greater appreciation for them as indicators of a healthy environment." --Christine Turner, Vermont
"I .... just showed the reptile section of your DVD in my wetland wildlife management course - the students loved (it), as did I. Great footage and important conservation messages throughout. Plus live action shots are much better than still images to give students a better impression of size of animals, habitat preferences, and behavior." -- Dr. Peter Paton, Dept. of Natural Resources Science, University of Rhode Island