The Nagging Naturalist

A weekly Wildlife, Education and Science podcast featuring
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For the month of April, I will be highlighting the Hellbender! Learn about the environmental, cultural, and economic value of this large salamander species and what you can do to help protect it. Come for the Hellbender info, stay for the outtakes of me blundering through this episode. You can check out my website, for show notes!
In this first episode of the month, I discuss the infamous stink bird of the Amazon, the hoatzin!
In this week's episode, I breakdown the 3 types of sharks featured in D&D 5e (Giant shark, Hunter shark, and Reef shark), and what can be modified in their stats to better reflect their real-life adaptations.
This week, there is a battle on Twitter of #SlugsVsFishes, and I am here to defend my squishy slug friends. I talk about nudibranchs, my favorite group of animals as well as my favorite species of nudibranch, Phyllodesmium iriomotense! Join us on Twitter and support the #SeaSlugSquad!
In this minisode, I took some questions given to me by other wildlife educators who had limited knowledge of bats and answered them to the best of my ability. Most focus on the natural history of bats, but there are a few subjective questions about personal preferences, including what I love most about bats (The answer may be an unexpected one).
For the month of May, I will be highlighting the Egyptian fruit bat!  Learn about the environmental, cultural, and economic value of this frugivorous bat species. 
For the month of May, I will be highlighting the Tasselled wobbegong! Learn about the environmental, cultural, and economic value of this reef-dwelling shark. You can check out my website, for show notes!
In this minisode, we explore how to integrate Hellbenders into TTRPG games using a few already existing creatures from Dungeons and Dragons as examples.
Sorry for missing last week's episode. Hopefully this week's longer than usual episode helps make up for it. I'm joined by Benjamin Lancer, who studies dragonflies, in particular a specialized neuron in their brains. We discuss some of the cool and surprising adaptations dragonflies have. This episode includes a bonus segment, the TTRPG Naturalist, where we look at what advantages dragonfly adaptations have for character traits, spells, and blessings.
I want to start off by thanking everyone who wished me well while I was struggling with COVID. I really appreciated it! This week, Barry and I discuss the Splendid fairywren, Malurus splendens, a striking blue bird endemic to Australia. This episode includes a bonus segment, Family Fauna, where we talk about some of the distinguishing features of birds that share the Splendid fairywren's genus. 
This month's episode was a huge departure from the usual in large part due to me having COVID and struggling to record. Barry stepped in this month and helped me with this new episode about the cutest mammal you probably haven't heard of, the Dibbler! February will be highlighting the Esperance mallee region of Australia where these rare marsupials can be found.
Sorry for the belated update. I may or may not be battling COVID right now. If I do develop full blown symptoms, this may affect my February schedule. For now, enjoy the final species of the month, the Pacific sanddab! I am once again joined by my partner Barry to learn about this sandy seafloor flatfish and the adaptations that have helped it thrive in an unwelcoming habitat.
The second part of my discussion about Broadnose sevengill sharks with Meghan Holst is up! We talk about the environmental, social, and economic value of these sharks as well as their conservation. I was surprised to see how often we brought up salmon during these 2 episodes, but to be fair, they are an incredibly beneficial species that have a huge impact on so many habitats. Be sure to check out Meghan on Instagram and Twitter, @megholst and follow her awesome work and see all her wonderful wildlife pictures.
As we continue with our theme of sandy seafloor species along the Monterey Bay continental shelf, we're taking a look at one of the top predators in this habitat: the Broadnose sevengill shark. Join Meghan and I as we talk about this freckled cow shark! How many babies does this 3 meter shark have? What might a recent discovery mean for researchers in understanding of their population dynamics? Tune in and find out! Be sure to check out Meghan on Instagram and Twitter, @megholst and follow her awesome work and see all her wonderful wildlife pictures.
This week, my partner Barry joins me to learn about Pacific sand dollars! What is the currency exchange between a Sand dollar and a Sand euro? We don't know, but if you want to learn about the natural history of Pacific sand dollars and some of their ecological, social, and economic values, then you've come to the right podcast!
I'm back with the first episode of 2021! This month is all about the sandy seafloor of the Monterey Bay continental shelf in central California and the first species I am covering is the Red octopus.
Sorry for the rough audio quality. They are literally doing construction on the house across from mine and the ambient noise is the worst. In this final episode for the year, Symone Barkley comes on to discuss her experiences growing up, her time studying sharks in school, how she's working towards becoming more sustainable, and sharing her message with the next generation. Despite everything that is going on in the U.S. right now, she manages to focus on the positive side of educating future environmental stewards in Baltimore and I think it is an important takeaway during such uncertain times. Also, enjoy the two of us hyping up Baltimore, a city with a strong community that is working towards a better future despite the challenges it faces. Symone is on Twitter and Instagram as @ScientistSymone, and you can check out a lot of the awesome interviews she has done elsewhere, like MISS's ElasmoWeek,
In this 3rd and final installment of my discussion with Tea about Dungeons and Dragons spiders, we talk about giant wolf spiders, how having giant spiders can impact human culture and economies, and Tea crushes my dreams for a princess spider. You can find Tea Francis on Twitter under the handle @tea_francis and on Instagram at @scienTEAficc. There you will see many of her spider pictures, including species that were discussed during the episode.
In part 2 of 3, Tea and I discuss the Giant spider of Dungeons and Dragons, and I learn about an aesthetic I didn't know I needed: giant spider molts strewn throughout forests, overgrown with mosses and lichen. Also, learn why the "spider lair festooned with corpses" trope isn't a thing. You can find Tea Francis on Twitter under the handle @tea_francis and on  Instagram at @scienTEAficc. There you will see many of her spider  pictures, including species that were discussed during the episode.
In this part 1 of 3 episode, I talk with Tea Francis about the generic spider profile provided by Dungeons and Dragons. We go over the stats and discuss what spiders might match these stats and look at ways that the stats could be changed to better reflect a broader range of spiders. It is a long episode, possibly my longest one yet, but the next 2 parts will be much shorter. You can find Tea Francis on Twitter under the handle @tea_francis and on Instagram at @scienTEAficc. There you will see many of her spider pictures, including species that were discussed during the episode.
In this week's Arachtober episode, I talk with Dr. Catherine Scott about her years of experience with spiders and many of the misconceptions surrounding these animals. We talk Black widow races, the misidentification of Brown recluses, and how modern media often misrepresents spiders. I think people may be surprised by what they learn. What happened to the family that lived with thousands of Brown recluses in their home? What happened to the two research assistants who were bit by Wandering spiders? Why was a young Honduran boy unphased by the spider bite he received? Listen and find out! You can find Dr. Scott on Twitter, @Cataranea, and the account she helps run with other entomologists, @RecluseOrNot. She also has a wonderful blog that is all about educating people about spiders,
For this week's Arachtober episode, I spoke with the delightful Dr. Sebastian Alejandro Echeverri, who if you don't know, is incredibly passionate about spiders and other arachnids. He discusses his professional and personal experiences with spiders, his artistic activism that was inspired by spiders, and even a Spiderverse OC he created based off of a group of spiders whose adaptations resemble a more ancient spider lineage. You can find Dr. Echeverri on Twitter (@spiderdayNight), Instagram (@spiderdaynightlive), Youtube (, and his website,
In this week's Arachtober episode, I spoke with the wonderful Dr. Symone Alexander about the work she did studying a uniquely adapted group of spiders who have taken the term "web-slinger" to a whole new level. Spiderman should take notes. She discusses her background, how she came to study these spiders, her time in the Peruvian rainforest, and some takeaways for people who might be interested in the work she was doing.
Sorry this went up a bit late. Those of you who follow me on Twitter may have seen that I am dealing with the recent passing of a family member from COVID-19. Please wear a mask, social distance, and wash your hands. Anyway, it is Arachtober, so this month is all about arachnids, which in this episode, you'll learn isn't just spiders! All month long, I will be celebrating arachnid diversity and talking with experts about these amazing animals. In this episode, we start with the basics, what makes an arachnid--well, an arachnid?
Here is the second part of the takeover with more laughs and discussions of Chelsea and Karl's experiences with racism. While the episode looks super long (and it kind of is), part of that is the last 17 minutes is some bonus content of us discussing cats. The take away from this episode is people should check their biases, privileges, and attitude before engaging in order to avoid the pitfalls of reinforcing racist behaviors or gatekeeping science from others. There may or may not be a follow-up episode in the future with Chelsea and Karl where they listen to me watching Snakes on a Plane for the first time because I've never watched it. We'll see what the future holds. You can follow Chelsea on Twitter, @ChelseaHerps as well as on Instagram as @outtochelsea, and she has a Redbubble under Chelsea Herps where you can buy her cute anole stickers as well as a Patreon under Chelsea Arts to support her work. Karl is also on Twitter and Instagram as @Afrosuchia, just look for the crocodilian profile picture.
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Podcast Details

Created by
The Nagging Naturalist
Podcast Status
Mar 27th, 2020
Latest Episode
Feb 24th, 2021
Release Period
Avg. Episode Length
41 minutes
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