Michael Fuller's Personal Interests

Grey Treefrog, Mojave shovel-nosed snake, and Mojave fringe-toed lizard (all photos by M. Fuller).

Natural History
From an early age I've been an avid natural historian. My interests in plants and animals has taken me to many beautiful natural places. My initial interests in reptiles and insects eventually became a passion for all aspects of ecological systems. I am an avid birder, botanist, and entomologist. My ability to identify and characterize many different kinds of species led to a brief career as an environmental consultant in Southern California, beginning at the firm Michael Brandman Associates. MBA

Over the years I've kept a variety of wild animals as temporary pets, especially snakes, including rattlesnakes. Much of my early academic interest focused on reptiles and amphibians. I now have a single California kingsnake (Lampropeltis getulus), which I captured on the Palos Verdes Peninsula (Los Angeles County, California) in 1986. The snake is now at least 20 years old! This particular kingsnake represents an rare melanistic color variety that is only found in coastal Southern California. To the right is a sidewinder rattlesnake I photographed at the unspoiled Kelso Dunes in the East Mojave Scenic Area of Southern California. The Kelso Dunes are one of the few remaining natural dune areas in the US that have not been destroyed by off-road vehicle enthusiasts.

Below is a photo of a Florida watersnake that my nephew Bryce caught in Machado lake, Harbor City, California (near Long Beach). Florida watersnakes appear to have established a self-sustaining population here. The presence of these non-native transplanted snakes is a cause of concern, as they may become invasive. Invasive species, particularly predators, can displace native species or drive them to local extinction. We recently submitted a report describing the Machado Lake population to the journal Herpetological Review.

Cicada, East Tennessee, Fall 2006

I began collecting insects in high school and have collected specimens from many places in North and South America include California, Arizona, New Mexico, Oklahoma, Michigan, and Texas, Venezuela and Panama. I've donated labeled specimens of reptiles, amphibians, and invertebrates to several museums, including the Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County (LACM) and the Museum of Southwest Biology (MSB), New Mexico.

More Photos Updated April 24, 2005