Rattlers, Peepers and Snappers

We have mixed feelings in reporting that our 2008 DVD on the reptiles and amphibians of New England was so successful that it is no longer available through us.

The name of the DVD is Rattlers, Peepers, and Snappers and you may still be able to find a copy in your local library.

... 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

How It Came to Be

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.

The idea was a DVD to share and show 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."

The narration and film covered basic identification, natural history, distribution, and conservation of all of these herptiles, only this time, viewwers could see them alive and in the field—sometimes with dryly humorous commentary. 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

Rattlers, Peepers, and Snappers has been useful and educational tool for naturalists and professionals of all ages. A portion of the proceeds helped support the Atlas.

Awards

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

Reviews

"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]