(above) Handling a rare and endangered Blanding’s turtle, N. IN. 2014
I have appreciated animals & nature my entire life- however, my expertise and life long interest is with reptiles and amphibians (herpetology)
I have spent a great deal of time in my life locating and observing some of the rarest and most endangered reptiles; mainly throughout the Midwest & Florida. I’ve worked alongside several experts on more than one occasion in the field.
At a very early age, I became fascinated with reptiles and amphibians and it turned into sort of a lifelong obsession. I learned everything I could about the native snakes in my home state of Indiana when I was a kid- and I taught myself very young how to handle venomous snakes, which are my favorite. As a teenager and for a handful of years I ran an extensive website focused on snake identification, conservation, and educating people about how they’re misunderstood. At the time, it was the only web site focused on Indiana’s snakes, and I was always getting emails and I enjoyed helping people with all their snake questions. My original career path and interest in life were these animals that still continue to fascinate me. Throughout the years, I’ve gone out and began locating some of the species that I’ve loved my entire life- many of them being pretty rare. I’ve gone on reptile hunts all over the USA pretty much, and it’s a passion and love for me that will never fade. Some of my favorite times included field studying and observing endangered massasauga rattlesnakes in the north, in a spot that only I know. And Observing the beautiful rare and mysterious indigo snakes in Florida, swimming with many alligators, water moccasins, and huge exotic fish while attending to private ponds- as I’m also seasoned In the fish hobbyist field as well. I’m an expert in building and maintaining indoor saltwater & fresh water aquariums- and I’ve built many tanks and have sold them. Throughout my life I’ve kept hundreds of different species of reptile and amphibian in captivity, but these days I prefer observing, traveling and photographing them in their natural habitats.
Russell in his early teens with a boa constrictor
A 14 or 15 year old Russell Frantom handles a venomous pet copperhead snake.
a pet diamondback rattlesnake, owned by Russell in his early teen years.
”Russell grew up loving and caring for all animals & is known to take better care of his pets than he does himself. Throughout his life, he has continued to educate himself and finds joy in finding ways that he can help them“ He has also painted various pet portraits through the years, including this one with an African grey parrot. He is known for not even killing bugs.
Over the years, he has participated in various educational and family friendly events, mainly involving nature and animals, including this one that he did at a zoo. He’s always interesTed in doing more.
Russell’s elderly sphynx cat, her name is Mrs. Cat. 2021
The family, 2021