2004 Snake Summary Page

This is my detailed description page of all of my snake trips.
 
 

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January
February
March
April
May
June
July
August
September
October
November
December

 
January 02, 2004
Mostly Sunny   70°
Temperature seemed right today, so I just couldn't pass up a great January opportunity like this.  I have never seen a snake in January, so my choice was made. I was going.   My mom and two brothers accompanied me on a trip back to Boone County Missouri.  We arrived around 1:20p.m.  Fifteen minutes into the search we found an eastern garter snake basking outside his den.  After I released him we found 3 snakes all within 20 feet of each other.  They were near a big hibernaculum.  Two of the snakes were eastern yellowbellied racers one of which was a monstrous four feet long.  The other snake was my first red-sided garter snake.  As we took our pictures and walked on, I spotted a lovely young western ribbon snake near a rocky out-cropping.  He was hidden in the leaves.  My eagle eyes at work!  Minutes later I found an intergrade red-sided/eastern garter snake basking near his den.  While photographing the snake I spotted a three foot long red-sided garter snake four feet off the ground in a tree.  This was the first time I have ever experienced garters climbing trees.  As the day drew to a close we found another intergrade red-sided/eastern garter snake.  Our total snake count at the end of the day was 3- intergrade red-sided/eastern garter snakes, 2-red-sided garter snakes, 2-eastern yellow-bellied racers, 1-eastern garter snake, and 1-western ribbon snake.  A total of 9 snakes.
February 27, 2004
Sunny   55°
I went to a local garter snake hibernaculum in hopes of finding a snake.  I arrived too late in the day.  It was windy and dropping into the low fifties and upper forties.  Needless to say, this St. Charles  Charles County trip was a bust. A total of 0 snakes
February 28, 2004
Sunny   63°
I decided to try my luck at Valley View Glades.  A few hours of searching, and it was pretty much a bust.  All I managed to find were 30+ ground skinks, 5 northern fence lizards, and 2 northern cricket frogs.  I don't understand why I didn't see any snakes.  Oh well, it was still fun nonetheless.  Better luck next time! A total of 0 snakes.
February 29, 2004
Partly Cloudy   65°
Today I decided to go out on a limb and look for some new hunting grounds.  This took me to St. Charles County along the Missouri River.  I managed to find an eastern garter snake den site.  There were three eastern garter snakes along a rock slide at the base of a bluff.  Those turned out to be the only snakes of the day, but I now know that this is a place of future potential. A total of 3 snakes.
March 07, 2004
Mostly Sunny   55°
I headed back out to St. Charles County Missouri in the same area as last weekend.  The search started out slow with only a few lizard sightings.  As the day went on, my sister's keen eye spotted a large dark colored snake hanging out of a bluff crevice twelve feet off the ground.  As it was being photographed my dad spotted another snake a few inches from the first.  It was an eastern yellow-bellied racer sunning himself on a vine.  As I looked closer at the first one it dawned on me that it was also an eastern yellow-bellied racer (A large four footer).  Later I found a western ribbon snake.  Those were the only snakes of the day.  It was a fun and very productive day.  A total of 3 snakes.
March 14, 2004
Sunny   56º
Back to St. Charles County Missouri again today.  The day started out slow.  I soon found the first snake of the afternoon.  It was an adult prairie ring-necked snake found under a small rock.  Minutes later I was graced with an eastern garter snake and a western ribbon snake.  That was all I managed to find.  It was another good day.  A total of 3 snakes.
March 19, 2004
Sunny   71º
I had a science research symposium today, and a little free time during my lunch break.  I did a little road cruising just to see if there were any snakes on the road.  Any road snakes would mean the snakes are already migrating.  I did find two DOR eastern garter snakes along highway 94 in St. Charles County Missouri.  I stopped at the Mississippi River in St. Louis County Missouri were I found a live eastern garter snake.  A total of 3 snakes.
March 20, 2004
Sunny   68º
With it being in the upper 60ís, I just couldnít pass up an opportunity to look for snakes.  I headed back over again to St. Charles County Missouri.  Less than five minutes into the search I was rewarded with 7 snakes.  One was an eastern yellow-bellied racer while the other six were black rat snakes.  All the snakes were 20 feet off the ground on the bluff face, on the vines, or in the trees.  Another five minutes passed and I spotted something delightful.  Twelve feet off the ground in a vine were 6 western ribbon snakes in a mating ball.  Talk about breath taking!  As I moved on we saw several more racers and ribbon snakes.  Before the day closed to an end I spotted another mating ball of three western ribbon snakes.  Our species totals were: 15 western ribbon snakes, 6 black rat snakes, 3 eastern yellow-bellied racers, 1 prairie ring-necked snake, and 1 unknown that got away before I could positively identify it.  A total of 26 snakes.
March 24, 2004
Cloudy   74º
It's been four days since I have seen a snake.  That is just too long in my mind.  I made a trip to the Mississippi River in St. Charles County Missouri.  When I arrived I noticed there was a chilly wind blowing out of the southeast.  The wind was hitting the hill side directly.    Down by the water  in a crawfish hole I saw a snake's head.  I reached in there and pulled the snake out without hurting the hole or the snake.  It was a two foot diamond-backed water snake.  After releasing him I found no more. A total of 1 snake.
 March 25, 2004
Cloudy   68º
Went back to the Mississippi River in St. Charles County Missouri for the second day in a row.   The wind was slightly less, but still gusty.   No luck with any reptile with the exception of a few distant red eared sliders and western painted turtles.  A total of 0 snakes.
March 27, 2004
Sunny   76º
OK.  A Larue Road trip sounds great.  I'll see a few cottonmouths and be happy right.  Wrong!  I arrived at Larue Road at around 9:30a.m. and within the first ten minutes, I had found six snakes.  In and around a rock crevice were a black rat snake, two cottonmouths, and three timber rattlesnakes.  Active seasons mean nothing in the midwest.  After photographing the snakes I walked the road to find several yellow-bellied water snakes, ribbon snakes, cottonmouths, and  on the bluff walls many black rat snakes.  During the coarse of the day I saw many fantastic sights.  I saw two western ribbon snakes mating.  I saw a juvenile cottonmouth wriggling it's tail in a thing called caudal luring.   The best snake of the day was a fat and aggressive timber rattlesnake found at the end of the day..  The snake didn't want to stay still.  Two people couldn't even contain the snake.   He eventually calmed down and I got a picture.  When it got dark,, my brother, and my dad and I drove to the camp site and bedded down.   We had seen many species of snakes which include: 27 Western Cottonmouths, 16 Yellow-bellied Water Snakes, 13 Western Ribbon Snakes, 8 Black Rat snakes , 4 Timber Rattlesnakes, 2 Eastern Garter Snakes, 2 Midland Brown Snakes, 1 Prairie Ring-necked Snake, and 1 Northern Ring-necked Snake.  A  record total of 74 snakes.
Many fellow herpers accompanied me in my search.  Thanks to all that helped.
March 28, 2004
Mostly Cloudy   76º
Day two of our Larue Road trip started out with many cottonmouth sittings.  Many were still in the bluff crevices, but many were in the swamp.  As the day went on we found several black rat snakes migrating across the road.  We didn't see any crossing the road yesterday.  While driving to the other end of the road my brother spotted a large black snake.  To my surprise it was a black kingsnake.  A very aggressive one.  As the day drew to a close there was an explosion of snake sightings.  In about 20 minutes we found several yellow-bellied water snakes, western cottonmouths, southern black racers, eastern garter snakes and western ribbon snakes.  Again we had a variety of species which include:  10 Western Cottonmouths, 8 Yellow-bellied Water Snakes, 8 Western Ribbon Snakes, 6 Black Rat Snakes, 6 Eastern Garter Snake, 2 Southern Black Racers, 1 Midland Brown Snake, 1 Black Kingsnake, 1 Prairie Ring-necked Snake, and 1 Northern Ring-necked Snake.  A total of 44 snakes.
March 29, 2004
Partly Cloudy   67º
I have been looking for snakes at a local nature preserve for a population survey for my independent study project.  I found my first subject.  It was a 26 in. female eastern garter snake. A total of 1 snake.
April 02, 2004
Partly Cloudy  62º
At work with my independent study at a local Natural Area, I found three eastern garter snakes.  One was a 24 inch female that got a painful bite in before I released her..  Later that night I met the state herpetologist Jeff Briggler who was giving an amphibian presentation. in west St. Louis County.  We were looking at herps in a nearby pond when someone spotted a yearling northern water snake.  The snake was examined and released.  It was a great day.  A total of 4 snakes.
April 03, 2004
Sunny  65º
I was in the area this morning and decided to take a couple hours out of my day to look for snakes.  I was in St. Charles County Missouri again.  It was a great day.  I found a new rat snake den.  The snakes are finally migrating.  I found 3 prairie ring-necked snakes, 2 black rat snakes, 2 eastern yellow-bellied racers, 1 western ribbon snake, and 1 eastern garter snake.  I also spotted a soft shell turtle.  A total of 9 snakes.
April 05, 2004
Sunny  62º
More field work at the local nature area.  I tallied one eastern garter snake.  It was a very unpleasant experience.  The snake sprayed fecal matter everywhere on me.  This includes my face.  Yuck.  A total of 1 snake.
April 06, 2004
Sunny  76º
At the local nature area I found 2 more snakes.  An eastern garter was the first snake I encountered.  The second snake was a nice four foot black rat snake.  The rat snake was coming out of a log cabin wall near the top.  I suspect he was denning there.  There was a high concentration of squirrels also living in the wall.  Possible prey item?  I hope to find that out within the next couple of weeks.  A total of 2 snakes.
April 09, 2004
Cloudy  65º
I decided a massasauga siting was in order.  I headed out to a spot in Clinton County.  When we got there it didn't look very promising.  The prairie had not been burned,  it clouded up, and the temperature dropped to the low sixties.  Towards the end of the day I found a field full of debris.  I took advantage of that.  I found three snakes under debris.  One was a beautifully colored northern water snake I found under a fallen sign.  Like most nerodia the snake was very aggressive.  After a few photos I released him.  It wasn't long before I found two garter snakes under the same board.  I got pictures without any problem.  The big 2 footer was like the water snake very aggressive.  They posed nicely, so I let them go quickly.  I saw a few more snakes through the course of the day.  My totals were 4 eastern garter snakes and 2 northern water snakes.  The Massassaga awaits another day.  A total of 6 snakes.
April 10, 2004
Cloudy, Rain  58º
I was in St. Charles County Missouri, so I decided to visit my spot near the Missouri River.  Weather conditions for herping were poor, but I gave it a go any way.  I found 11 prairie ring-necked snakes.  They were all under small rocks.  That was all I found.  A total of 11 snakes.
April 11, 2004
Mostly Sunny  55º
I went to my grandparents house Sunday for Easter.  I decided I couldn't pass up a chance to snake hunt.  I didn't find much.  I did find a huge eastern yellow-bellied racer.  In fact I believe it beats the state record length for the species.  The record is 52 inches.  It was at least 60 inches if not more.  Of coarse it didn't register that it may be a state record so I didn't measure it.  With luck I will find it again.  I found 14 prairie ring-necked snakes, and 2 eastern yellow-bellied racers.  A total of 16 snakes.
April 14, 2004
Clear  70º
Another research day at the local nature area.  I found two eastern garter snakes out sunning themselves.  Unfortunately that was all I found.  A total of 2 snakes.
 April 15, 2004
Mostly Cloudy  76º
At the Local Nature Area I found a 61 inch black rat snake.  That was it for the day.  A total of 1 snake.
April 16, 2004
Partly Cloudy  85º
Under a piece of tin I laid at the local nature area I discovered two 60+ inch black rat snakes.  It certainly was a surprising find.  A total of 2 snakes.
April 17, 2004
Mostly Sunny  89º
I decided to go to Montgomery County Missouri in search of a copperhead or two.  All I found was a prairie ring-necked snake and a northern water snake.  I still had daylight when I left, so I headed south to the Missouri River in Warren County.  On the way down there I saw 1 DOR Prairie Kingsnake, 1 DOR Speckled Kingsnake, and 2 Unknown DOR Snakes.  I also spotted a live eastern yellow-bellied racer on the shoulder of the road.  When I went back for him he was dead .  His tail was still wriggling.  This was a horrible sight.  Every herper sees this at one point or another.  At the river I saw 1 eastern yellow-bellied racer and 1 midland brown snake.  A total of 8 snakes.
April 18, 2004
Mostly Sunny  89º
I decided to head out to Valley View Glades.  I meet a fellow herper, Mike Cravens.  As soon as I met up with him we found a three foot eastern  yellow-bellied racer.  Mike then told me where he found a red milk snake.  He said he would take me to the spot he found him.  On the way there we found a western worm snake.  This was the first of the year for me.  When we got to the milk snake spot, Mike flipped a rock and there was a juvenile red milk snake.  I thought to myself finally a red milk.  I hadn't seen a live one in two years.  I was very happy.  Our different species included: 5 lined snakes, 4 prairie ring-necked snake, 1 eastern yellow-bellied racer, 1 black rat snake, 1 western worm snake, and 1 red milk snake. A total of 13 snakes.
April 21, 2004
Mostly Cloudy  75º
I was at two locations today.  First of all I did some school work with my snake project at the local natural area.  I found a black rat snake.  When school was over I headed out to St. Charles County Missouri.  I found 2 eastern garter snakes, 1 eastern yellow-bellied racer, 1 northern water snake, and 1 prairie kingsnake.  The kingsnake was under a tire.  This find made me a very happy person. A total of 6 snakes.
.April 22, 2004
Light Rain  58º
I found a small eastern garter snake under a board that I set out earlier in the year at the local natural area. A total of 1 snake.
April 27, 2004
Mostly Cloudy  64º
I got home from school with a big urge to find a snake or two.  I called my friend up and before I knew it we were looking for snakes along the Missouri River.  We got a lot of snakes, but little in diversity.  I was finding the typical prairie ring-necked snakes under small rocks.  Under a rock on a rock slide there was a very agitated garter snake.  I donít know what got him agitated, but when I picked up the rock he had inflated himself and he was ready to bite.  Today we saw 11 prairie ring-necked snakes and 1 eastern garter snake.  A total of 12 snakes.
May 01, 2004
Cloudy, Light Rain  59º
I headed out to Boone County Missouri to do some snake hunting along the Missouri River.  I had high hopes of finding some species that I normally donít see.  I found 8 prairie ring-necked snakes along with one western worm snake.  I was a little disappointed, but I know a break out day is coming.  A total of 9 snakes.
May 05, 2004
Partly Cloudy  82º
I was in Boone County Missouri for the State Envirothon Competition, in which my team placed in second.  At the hotel within the city limits of Colombia, and at the Super 8 Motel, I found a prairie ring-necked snake under a piece of concrete.  I couldnít believe it.  He was living in a very tiny green space.  I was happy.  A total of 1 snake.
May 08, 2004
Clear  87º
I decided tonight is the night I should road cruise for copperheads.  I headed over to the Mississippi River Bluffs in Randolph and Monroe County Illinois.  The diversity was great.  I saw a few DORs, but most were either AORs or they were found along the road.  I also found my first live eastern hog-nosed snake in almost ten years.  I also found my first ever northern copperhead, which was also the first copperhead of the year.  My totals were 2 - Northern Copperheads, 2 - Western Ribbon Snakes, 2 - Eastern Hog-nosed Snakes, 2 - Blue Racers, 1 - Prairie Ring-necked Snake, 1 - Northern Water Snake, 1 black Rat Snake, and 1 rough green snake.  A total of 12 snakes.
May 11, 2004
Partly Cloudy  86º
I found a 71 inch black rat snake at the local nature area in St. Louis County Missouri.  He was sunning himself on a concrete patio.  A total of 1 snake.
May 16, 2004
Mostly Cloudy  72º
I stopped off near the Missouri River in St. Charles County Missouri after my grandparentís anniversary party.  Again I found the typical ring-necked snakes.  I also found a very beautifully, red checkered, eastern garter snake.  I also saw a couple DOR snakes.  My totals were 2 - Prairie Ring-necked Snakes, 1 - Eastern Garter Snake, 1 - Black Rat Snake, and 1 - Eastern Hog-nosed Snake. A total of 5 snakes.
May 19, 2004
Cloudy  82º
I took a friend to Jefferson County Missouri to do a little herping.  I found 2 - Lined Snakes, 2- Western Worm Snakes, and 1 - Prairie Ring-necked Snake.  I also saw several western slimy salamanders and one cave salamander.  The trip was cut short when we felt fatigued and my friend was stung by a striped scorpion. A total of 5 snakes.
May 22, 2004
Mostly Cloudy  88º
I was storm chasing with my dad in Northwest Missouri, Southwestern Iowa and Nebraska.  I didnít see any live snakes, but I did see several interesting DORs.  I found eastern yellow-bellied Racers with actual yellow bellies.  In the east they have white bellies for the most part.  My totals were 2 - Eastern Yellow-bellied Racers, 1 - Black Rat Snake, 1 Western Plains Garter Snake.  A total 4 snakes.
May 23, 2004
Partly Cloudy  83º
Again I was storm chasing in northwestern Missouri.  I saw 2 DOR prairie kingsnakes.  Though I didnít see any live snakes, I was very interested in the variety of turtles I saw crossing the road.  I saw common snapping turtles, red-eared sliders, three-toed box turtles, and ornate box turtles.  It was an interesting day.  A total of 2 snakes.
May 29, 2004
Partly Cloudy  83º
I was storm chasing in Kansas today.  We had arrived at our planned location a little early, so our party decided to do a little herping.  I didnít find any snakes, but I did find a life lister.   I found my first eastern collard lizard.  The herping didnít last long, because the first storm went up.  A couple more hours after the storm went up we were witnessing several tornadoes. A total of 0 snakes.
May 30, 2004
Partly Cloudy  83º
Storm Chasing took me to Arkansas today.  Unfortunately it was a bust.  No tornadoes.  I did however see a few snakes.  In the road on the way home I saw the following DORís:  2 Western Mud Snakes, 1 Yellow-bellied Water Snake, and 1 Broad-banded Water Snake.  I did manage a live snake.  In the road was a beautifully colored Broad-banded Water Snake.  It had a bright red head, which is a color phase that I have never seen before.  A total of 5 snakes.
June 3, 2004
Partly Cloudy  88º
In the west storm chasing today.  We were done storm chasing after a long day.  Around Midnight or so Brian Stertz, my dad, and I went to a canyon in Armstrong County Texas.  We wanted to find a diamond-backed rattlesnake.  It was somewhat of a disappointment.  We found one DOR Western Diamond-backed Rattlesnake.  We decided with no luck to call it a night.   In the afternoon we looked up some data and saw that it would be a bust day.  We decided to head over to New Mexico to do some herping.  All I found there was several species of lizards and a large DOR bull snake.  We then headed over to the canyon we herped early in the morning.  On the way we found another large DOR bull snake.  We went to the northern section of the canyon in Moore County Texas.  Under a small rock I found a juvenile Texas night snake.  That was all I found in the canyon.  I found several on the way out, however.  The first find unfortunately was a DOR western coachwhip.  Not long after that, I got a live three foot bull snake.  It was a brilliant yellow.  I then found a three foot Kansas Glossy Snake.  I wasnít expecting this.  I did a little research on this species and found out that they are rare in the Texas panhandle.  I was very happy.  I canít wait to come back to Texas.  A total of 7 snakes.
June 5, 2004
Partly Cloudy  83º
I had a graduation party at my grandparentís house today.  This means plenty of herping will be done.  Me and my dad decided to take the back way to her house through some rock roads.  We found a five foot black rat snake lying in the road.  At my grandparentís I found 2 northern water snakes and 3 prairie ring-necked snakes.  A total of 6 snakes.
June 11, 2004
Partly Cloudy  83º
I ended up in Iowa storm chasing today.  It appeared to be a bust, so Kevin Kohler, my dad, and I decided to put ourselves into position for tomorrow's storms.  While heading west in Van Buren County we spotted a small northern water snake crossing the road.  This ended up being the only snake sighting.  Though we only got one snake today, we saw  a dandy of a tornado on day two of this trip. A total of 1 snake.
June 15, 2004
Mostly Cloudy  73º`
My friend Nathan Walter called me up and said, ďHey you want to go camping.Ē  I just couldnít pass a chance at some good herping like this.  Plus he is leaving for the navy in a week.  We decided a canoe trip down the Meremac River was in order.  While canoeing we spotted a three foot black rat snake at the mouth of a cave and a northern water snake out basking in the sun.  Later in the day we saw a DOR juvenile eastern yellow-bellied racer.  A total of 3 snakes.
June 16, 2004
Light Rain  73º
Still camping in Meremac State Park in Franklin County Missouri.  Today Nathan and I decided to visit a small nearby glade.  The glade had badly been disturbed.  Rocks were moved to the point that critters could not hide under them.  Nonetheless we still saw three prairie ring-necked snakes and one western ribbon snake.  Good Luck in the Navy Nathan!  A total of 4 snakes.
June 17, 2004
Partly Cloudy  75º
I saw a northern water snake in St. Louis County Missouri while checking out a conservation area.  I then came home for a few hours.  Then my mom, my younger brother and sister, and I went over to Illinois in Monroe and Randolph Counties.  We did some road cruising for snakes.  The day started out slow with a couple DORs.  Then I found a large Northern Copperhead crossing the road.  He was dark and beautiful.  I photographed him and let him on his way.  It wasnít long before a spotted another northern copperhead crossing the road.  This one was about 14 inches long.  He was very beautiful, but snap happy.  I found that out when I went in close for a head shot.  I wonít make that mistake again.  About five minutes after getting back in the car I spotted another northern copperhead.  He was about 12 inches long with the remnant of a yellow tail.  We photographed him and let him on his way.  We saw 3 Northern Copperheads, 1 Northern Water Snake, 1 Eastern Hog-nosed Snake, and 1 Blue Racer.  A total of 6 Snakes
June 19, 2004
Scattered Clouds  76º
I visited my grandparents in Warren County Missouri today.  It was a slow day.  I saw a neonate common snapping turtle in their pond.  I also saw a prairie ring-necked snake.   A total of 1 snake.
June 20, 2004
Clear  80º
I headed down to Mingo Swamp for a day of herping.  It felt warmer than what it was.  The day was very disappointing.  I saw only 10 snakes and only three of them were alive.  At one of the ditch bridges three snakes had been run over.  There was no doubt that someone had intentionally run the snakes over.  I havenít even ruled out the possibility that the person went down to the water to catch the snakes and place them on the road to hit.  It makes me very angry that there are ignorant people like that in the world.  The live snakes consisted of a diamond-backed water snake, yellow-bellied water snake, and a western cottonmouth.  The dead ones consisted of two diamond-backed water snakes, one yellow-bellied water snake, one western cottonmouth, one southern black racer, one midland brown snake, and one mississippi ring-necked snake.  A total of 10 snakes.
June 21, 2004
Cloudy, Thunderstorms  81º
I headed over to Monroe and Randolph Counties in Illinois to road cruise for snakes.  It was a total bust. A total of 0 snakes.
June 22, 2004
Mostly Cloudy  71º
I was driving along the Missouri River in Missouri when I saw a large DOR black rat snake.  A total of 1 snake.
June 24, 2004
Partly Cloudy  77º
I went to the Silver Mines area which is in Madison County, Missouri with my friend Matt Noatch today.  I saw many interesting herps while there.  I even caught my first fish.  It was a goggle eye.  Matt found a gravid, gray phased northern red-bellied snake near a fallen log.  Later while turning rocks Matt found my first ever flat-headed snake.  That was all we found before we made it home.  As soon as I got home I was heading back out again.  I headed over to Randolph and Monroe Counties in Illinois in hopes that I wouldnít get skunked again.  It looked like another wasted trip because all I had found was a DOR northern copperhead.  As we were headed home I found two very beautiful AOR northern copperheads.  It was a great day. A total of 5 snakes.
June 26, 2004
Mostly Cloudy  79º
I visited my grandparents in Warren County Missouri today.  I herped a good part of the day.  I didnít find much, but still it was a good day.  I found 4 prairie ring-necked snakes, 1 northern water snake, 1 eastern yellow-bellied racer, 1 western ribbon snake, and 1 eastern garter snake.  A total of 8 snakes.
June 27, 2004
Cloudy  75º
I went herping in Monroe and Randolph Counties Illinois.  All I found was a DOR black rat snake.  A total of 1 snake.
June 30, 2004
Cloudy  80º
I headed over to Randolph and Clinton Counties Illinois again tonight.  I found 3 young black rat snakes and one northern copperhead.  A total of 4 snakes.
July 09, 2004
Clear  73º
I found myself in Randolph and Monroe Counties in Illinois again tonight.  It was a disappointment.  The only snake I saw was a DOR western ribbon snake.  A total of 1 snake.
July 10, 2004
Mostly Cloudy  75º
Herped in Warren County Missouri today.  I got a couple of prairie ring-necked snakes.  A total of 2 snakes.
July 11, 2004
Mostly Cloudy  91º
Road Cruised in Randolph and Monroe Counties Illinois.  I found a live eastern garter snake and a DOR western ribbon snake.  A total of 2 snakes.
July 17, 2004
Scattered Clouds  82º
Cruising some roads in St. Charles County yielded many different animals.  The only snake I saw was a DOR northern water snake however.  A total of 1 snake.
July 18, 2004
Scattered Clouds  83º
I went to Carlyle Lake in Clinton County Illinois in search of a massasauga.  I knew it was a long shot, because of the tall and thick grass.  I figured I might get lucky.  Needless to say all I saw were two neonate eastern garter snakes sharing the same board.  A total of 2 snakes.
July 19, 2004
Partly Cloudy 77º
I saw a dead black rat snake on the road in St. Louis County Missouri.  A total of 1 snake.
July 21, 2004
Mostly Cloudy  88º
I found another DOR black rat snake in St. Louis County.  A total of 1 snake.
July 23, 2004
Cloudy  78º
I was invited down to my environmental science teacherís property in Crawford County Missouri.  I saw many interesting animals.  Also many interesting birds.  I did see a northern water snake and a western ribbon snake.  A total of 2 snakes.
July 24, 2004
Cloudy  69º
I didnít see much at my grandparentís house in Warren County Missouri.  I saw only one northern water snake. A total of 1 snake.
July 25, 2004
Overcast  64º
I decided to head down to Valley View Glades in Jefferson County Missouri.  It was disappointing.  There was so much rain the day before that there was standing water underneath most of the rocks.  Needless to say, snakes were sparse.  I only found two lined snakes.  A total of 2 snakes.
July 27, 2004
Partly Cloudy  71º
Decided to herp near the Missouri River in St. Charles County Missouri.  I found two northern water snakes and two prairie ring-necked snakes.  A total of 4 snakes.
July 29, 2004
Overcast  76º
I talked to a fellow herper, Mike Cravens and he wanted to find a grahamís crayfish snake to add to his lifelist.  I recommended an area near the Mississippi River in St. Charles County Missouri.  My friend Matt Noatch, my brother Kyle, and myself met Mike there.  The first find was an insanely large northern water snake.  The snake was at least three feet long and wider than my wrist.  The next and last find was a large and very gravid grahams crayfish snake.  We had fullfilled a lifelister for Mike.  We were very happy with our beautiful find. A total of 2 snakes.
August 01, 2004
Partly Cloudy  90º
I road cruised for snakes in Randolph and Monroe Counties in Illinois.  I had no luck.  A total of 0 snakes.
August 05, 2004
Clear  80º
I wanted to try my luck herping in Washington County Missouri.  I stopped by my grandparents house in Warren County first.  I found a prairie ring-necked snake under a board.  I also saw a DOR eastern yellow-bellied racer. In Washington County.  I saw a DOR black rat snake.  I also saw a DOR black rat snake in  St. Charles County.  It was a long way to travel with so little luck. A total of 4 snakes.
August 06, 2004
Clear  78º
Matt Noatch and I met up with Mike Cravens in Montgomery County Missouri to do some herping.  Early on we found two prairie ring-necked snakes, an eastern yellow-bellied racer and possible snake eggs.  Later in the day we found two flat-headed snakes and a great plains rat snake.  It was a great day.  A total of 6 snakes.
August 08, 2004
Partly Cloudy  86º
I have been on a lucky pace for the last two weeks.  August is the time of year when snakes of any kind are hard to find.  Mike Cravens invited me, my younger brother, and my dad down town to Washington County Missouri to road cruise for snakes.  We arrived early so we had some time to kill, so Mike took us to a near by glade.  On the glade I heard Mike shout, "I found some snake skin."  I ran over to Mike and he told me the skin belonged to a rattlesnake or a copperhead.  It wasn't seconds after that I spotted a coil of a large timber rattlesnake under the rock where Mike reached down to pick up the skin.  His hand  was about an inch from the snake's body.  It was a to close of a call.  While thinking about how lucky he was my brother and I spotted a second timber rattlesnake under the rock inches from the first one.  Mike and I each pulled a timber out.  One was extremely placid with a length of just over three feet.  The other one just coiled tightly and rattled vigorously.  This snake was about  three and a half feet in length.  After photographing these snakes, we went to put them back, but I felt we should check the rock for any more before we put them back.  When I looked, to my surprise, there was two small adult osage copperheads tucked about a foot back under the rock.  We photographed the bright copperheads while letting the rattlesnakes go.  After it was said and done we released them all back into their hiding place, but not without great pictures.  We then road cruised without any luck, but who cares!  Our day was gold.  It was a day for the books.  A total of 4 snakes. 
August 12, 2004
Partly Cloudy  69º
I decided to try my luck at Valley View Glades in Jefferson County Missouri today.  Summer just isn't a good time to herp glades.  I had little luck,.  All the snakes must still be under ground.  I saw a prairie ring-necked snake and a lined snake. A total of 2 snakes.
August 13, 2004
Partly Cloudy  74º
I called my friend Matt Noatch and I said, "We are going to do some herping today."  Well, he agreed and he picked myyounger brother Kyle and me up at  about 12:20 in the afternoon.  We headed over to Rockwood Reservation  Area in St. Louis County.  I had hunted there before, but had only found ring-necked snakes.  The day started out with a few prairie ring-necked snakes and western slimy salamanders.  The day then got better while looking on a steep rocky wooded hillside I spotted it in a pile of leaves near a fallen tree.  It was a dark colored osage copperhead.  This was my first venomous snake in my home county.  It was also a life lister for Matt.  I was very pleased.  I also saw a wood frog.  This was the first one that I have found on my own.  We saw six prairie ring-necked snakes, one eastern garter snake, and one osage copperhead. A total of 8 snakes.
August 16, 2004
Scattered Clouds  83º
I was teking a ride in St. Charles county Missouri today and I saw a large DOR diamond-backed water snake. A total of 1 snake.
August 19, 2004
Overcast, Thunder  73º
I road cruised in Randolph and Monroe Counties in Illinois tonight .  All I saw was a DOR black rat snake. A total of 1 snake.
August 22, 2004
Scattered Clouds  85º
I went to Rockwood Reservation area in St. Louis County Missouri today.  I saw eleven prairie ring-necked snakes, one large northern water snake, and one osage copperhead.  I also saw my first long-tailed salamanders in quite some time.  It was a great trip.  A total of 13 snakes. A total of 13 snakes.
August 28, 2004
Scattered Clouds  85º
I herped on my grandparents property in Warren County Missouri.  I found seven prairie ring-necked snakes and one large smooth earth snake.  A total of 8 snakes.
August 29, 2004
Overcast  85º
I herped in St. Charles County Missouri for a little while today and I got a nice snake.  I found a yearling diamond-backed water snake under a piece of cottonwood bark.  A total of 1 snake.
August 30, 2004
Partly Cloudy  80º
I met up with Mike Cravens in St. Charles County Missouri today.  We had a fantastic water snake day.  We found all the nerodia species and the only semi aquatic snake there - the crayfish snake.  Our totals were four northern water snake, two diamond-backed water snakes, two eastern garter snakes, one yellow-bellied water snake, one grahamís crayfish snake, and one midland brown snake.  A total of 11 snakes.
September 2, 2004
Scattered Clouds  83º
Mike Cravens called me up today and asked if I wanted to find a rattlesnake.  What kind of question is that?  Of course I do!  We headed to Danville Conservation Area in Montgomery County Missouri.  We herped there for a couple hours without finding much.  The highlight up to that point was an eastern garter snake that disappeared from us in some grass.  We were tired and somewhat down in the dumps.  We were persistent though.  We checked some small bluffs and outcroppings.  It wasnít long before I heard Mike shout, ďrattlesnake!Ē  Then I heard, ďthere are two of them.Ē  We took some time to photograph them.  One rattlesnake was just absolutely stunning.  It was beautiful.  We eventually left and went cruising the local roads.  Our last snake was a nice osage copperhead crossing the road.  A total of 4 snakes.
September 3, 2004
Partly Cloudy  84º
While cutting someone's grass in St. Louis County Missouri, I unexpectantly saw an eastern snake dart under the lawn mower.  I immediately stopped the blades, but it wasn't in time.  I cut the very tip of the snake's tail off.  I feel bad for the snake, but I know he will live a life of no handicap.  A total of 1 snake.
September 6, 2004
Mostly Cloudy  81º
Did some herping with Mike Cravens in Madison and Jersey Counties in Illinois and St. Charles County Missouri.  We saw the following DORs:  two black rat snakes, one graham's crayfish snake, and one eastern hog-nosed snake.  We also saw the following live snakes: two western ribbon  snakes, one northern water snake, and one eastern garter snake.  A total of 8 snakes.
September 7, 2004
Clear  79º
While I was sitting at home, the phone rang.  It was my dad telling me he had surrounded a snake on the lawn he was cutting.  I was less than five minutes away, so I quickly headed over there.  It ended up being a very pretty  eastern garter snake.  A total of 1 snake.
September 9, 2004
Clear  81º
I met up with Mike Cravens again today.  We did some herping in Madison County Illinois and St.  Charles County Missouri.  The first snake was a very large DOR diamond-backed water snake.  We then shortly found a nice northern water snake under a piece of tin.  The last 6 snakes of the day were eastern garter snakes.  They were found in the open, under carpet, boards, and railroad ties. A total of 8 snakes.
September 11, 2004
Scattered Clouds  85º
I herped on my grandparentís property in Warren County Missouri.  I found a few snakes.  I found a northern water snake, prairie ring-necked snake, and a northern red-bellied snake.  I also saw a DOR black rat snake.  The red-bellied snake had a yellow belly.  A total of 4 snakes.
September 12, 2004
Partly Cloudy  85º
I herped Busch Wildlife Area in St. Charles County Missouri.  I had a better day then I thought I was going to have.  I found 2 northern water snakes, 2 midland brown snakes, 1 neonate western ribbon snake, 1 eastern garter snake, and 1 neonate osage copperhead.  The copperhead was a real surprise.  A total of 7 snakes.
September 13, 2004
Partly Cloudy  86º
Mike called me up and asked if we wanted to give the fox snake another shot.  Again we headed to northern St. Charles County Missouri.  We didnít find a fox snake, but I am happy with what we got.  We saw 3 northern water snakes, 2 eastern garter snakes, 2 eastern yellow-bellied racers, 1 black rat snake, 1 western ribbon snake, 1 yellow-bellied water snake, and 1 unidentified snake (either a black rat or an eastern yellow-bellied racer).  We also saw the following DORs:  2 black rat snakes and 1 western ribbon snake.  By the days end, many of the snakes got the best of us.  We were bloody with a tooth or two that needed to be pulled out of our flesh.  A total of 14 snakes.
September 15, 2004
Mostly Cloudy  81º
While I was coming home from school I saw a beautiful prairie kingsnake dying in the road.  He had just been hit. A total of 1 snake.
September 18, 2004
Clear  77º
Mike Cravens and I headed up to Northern Illinois Indiana border.  We herped in Kankakee County Illinois and Lake and Newton Counties in Indiana.  We were hoping to find a bull snake, plains garter snake, Chicago garter snake, and fox snake.  It wasnít long after we got up there that we found a beautiful Chicago garter snake under some carpet.  We also saw a couple midland brown snakes at that site.  Later at the campsite in Newton County Indiana we found a beautiful adult eastern milk snake.  The snake was probing a hole for pinky mice.  We found the snake, because two adult mice appeared to be fighting or playing.  Apparently they were trying to distract the snake.  We also saw our first northern leopard frogs along with a DOR blue racer. A total of 5 snakes.
September 19, 2004
Clear  78º
Mike Cravens and I woke up early and headed over to the sand prairies of Kankakee County Illinois.  We only had a couple hours to search, because we had to meet Mike's friends, Dave, Mary, Scott and his family.  We found a small blue racer before on our way to meet everybody.  We all met up at a family restaurant in Kankakee Illinois.  While waiting for everybody Dave found five eastern plains garter snakes.  When we were done photographing the animals we headed over to the sand prairies again.  Mary found a DOR Western ribbon snake in Iroquois County Illinois.  We then found a 37 inch Chicago garter snake crossing the road in Newton County Illinois.  Later we promptly found a juvenile blue racer and a western ribbon snake.  The ribbon snake Mike found represents a Kankakee County record.  Later in the afternoon Mary along with Scott and his family had to leave.  Dave, Mike and I continued to herp.  All we found was a DOR Chicago garter snake and a nice adult hog-nosed snake.  A total of 12 snakes.
September 20, 2004
Clear  79º
Mike Cravens and I again got up early in the morning and hit the sand prairies in Kankakee County Illinois.  This was our last day.  We herped in the morning and found a Chicago garter snake, a blue racer, and a baby eastern hog-nosed snake.   While we were thinking about going home Scott called asking if we wanted to see a fox snake.  Well since we hadnít seen that snake before we headed up to his spot in Du Page County Illinois.  Scott wasnít going to disappoint us.  He took us to a hibernaculum he recently found.  In the various cracks we saw five adult western fox snakes and two Chicago garter snakes.  We were stoked after this.  We continued to herp finding several Chicago garter snakes, a midland brown snake and a neonate western fox snake.  This one we were able to photograph.  We finished the day with 8 Chicago garter snakes, 6 western fox snakes, 1 midland brown snake, 1 blue racer, and 1 eastern hog-nosed snake.  I also saw my first ever tiger salamander.  They were thick.  A big thanks goes out to Dave, Mary, Scott and everyone else who accompanied us on the trip.  A total of 17 snakes.
September 25, 2004
Partly Cloudy  85º
I headed out to visit my grandparents in Warren County Missouri.  I herped most of the afternoon.  The first find was a beautiful reddish, brown phased northern red-bellied snake.  Later in the day my younger brother found a neonate eastern yellow-bellied racer under a rock.  Later in the evening I found a snake that I havenít seen out there in several years.  I found not one, but two midland brown snakes.  I find these with regularity elsewhere, but it is still nice to see an old friend.  I also saw a prairie ring-necked snake. A total of 5 snakes.
October 02, 2004
Sunny  63º
I headed over to Danville Wildlife Area in Montgomery County Missouri today.  As good as I thought the day would be, it turned out not to be that great.  I only saw one snake.  I am just glad it was a snake not normally seen.  The lone snake was a neonate great plains rat snake that I found under a rock.  I also saw a very large shed from a timber rattlesnake.  A total of 1 snake.
October 09, 2004
Mostly Cloudy  74º
The long awaited fall trip to LaRue Road in Union County, Illinois finally came to be this weekend.  My brother Kyle, my dad, and I made the trip.  Through various times of the day, we herped with Mike Cravens, Chad and his gang from Kansas, Dan and his dad from Ontario Canada, Charlie Hessel and other members of the St. Louis Herp Society.  We found 11 cottonmouths, 5 yellow-bellied water snakes, 5 black rat snakes, 3 eastern Garter snakes, 3 mississippi green water snakes, 1 northern ring-necked snake, 1 southern black racer, 1 western mud snake, and 1 black kingsnake.  Thanks to everyone who helped out. A total of 31 snakes.
October 10, 2004
Sunny  75º
Early in the morning I herped in the Union County Conservation Area.  I found a few long-tail salamanders.  In the afternoon, we herped with Mike Cravens, Dan, and his dad on the Railroad track at Heron Pond.  We found 2 southern black racers, 1 mississippi ring-necked snake, 1 black rat snake, 1 northern red-bellied snake, and 1 copper-bellied water snake.  We also saw some marbled salamanders and mole salamanders.  These were both life listers.  Unfortunately, we also saw a few of the following dead snakes: 2 eastern garter snakes, 1 black rat snake, 1 midland water snake, and 1 western cottonmouth.    A total of 11 snakes.
October 14, 2004
Light Rain  53º
Mike Cravens and I had decided we were not going to stay inside all day even though the weather was bad.  It was rainy and cold.  Mike had never seen a ringed salamander before, so I took him to some vernal pools in St. Charles County Missouri.  We found two ringed salamanders in the leaf litter along with a bunch of eggs.  We were extremely careful about not disturbing the site.  It was a great day.  A total of 0 snakes.
October 16, 2004
Partly Cloudy  58º
My dad, sister, and I headed over to St. Charles County Missouri to photograph anything that happened to be out.  We found eleven juvenile prairie ring-necked snakes.  We were told by other people we had just missed a copperhead crossing the trail.  Bummer!  A total of 11 snakes.
October 23, 2004
Mostly Sunny  77º
 My dad, brother and I headed back out to St. Charles County Missouri, because we were satisfied that last week wasnít our best snake day.  We were certainly glad to make the effort.  It wasnít but minutes into our search that we spotted an eastern yellow-bellied racer sunning himself on the bluff.  Not long after that we spotted another racer take off into the woods and then another and another.  Before long we were spotting racers in the trees, shrubs, and grasses.  The concentration of racers at that location was outstanding.  They were everywhere.  I went after a few in the trees and they are as fast in the trees as they are on the ground.  I also witnessed a few take to the trees from the ground when I persued them.  This was pretty cool.  Later in the day while my dad and I were photographing a prairie ring-necked snake my brother saw something moving across the trail.  He came back with an outstanding prairie kingsnake.  We photographed him for a long time.  As the day went on we saw a few more racers, ribbon snakes, and garter snakes.  While walking along the base of the bluff I spotted something that I couldnít believe.  There wasnít one, or two, but three copperheads coiled together, tucked deep into the leaves.  I brought my dad and brother over to the spot and they looked right at them, but didnít see them.  They were all  very large and beautiful.  One in particular was a rosy pink or orange color.  I have never seen this color phase before.  It was also about three feet long.  We eventually let them go.  We saw the following snakes:  13 Eastern Yellow-bellied Racers, 3 Eastern Garter Snakes, 3 Prairie Ring-necked Snakes, 3 Osage Copperheads, 2 Western Ribbon Snakes,1 Black Rat Snake, 1 Northern Water Snake, and 1 Prairie Kingsnake. A total of 27 snakes.
October 24, 2004
Sunny  73º
My dad, brother, and I met Mike Cravens and Wayne and Keith Brekhus in Montgomery County Missouri.  Today was nothing like yesterday.  We herped the area pretty hard without much luck.  All we saw were 2 prairie ring-necked snakes, 1 flat-headed snake, and 1 eastern yellow-bellied racer.  A total of 4 snakes.
October 25, 2004
Mostly Sunny  80º
I herped with Mike Cravens in St. Charles County Missouri today.  Again, it was like yesterday.  We had little luck.  All we saw were 3 prairie ring-necked snakes and 2 eastern garter snakes.  Mike saw a black rat snake at the mouth of a cave.  The snake went back into the crevice by the time I got there.  A total of 5 snakes. 
November 26, 2004
Mostly Cloudy  55º
I went out to St. Charles County to do some, what I considered, doubtful herping. My younger brother, dad, and I joked how we were going to look stupid looking for snakes with snow still blanketing the ground. We arrived at noon. Minutes after arrival we found, coiled tightly, a small northern water snake. This was the first time that I found a snake with snow on the ground. We herped for a while seeing several northern water snakes, a few of which were absolute monsters. We also saw an eastern garter snake. The real surprise came while photographing three northern water snakes. Stretched out under a log was a nice adult osage copperhead. There were no rocky outcroppings or bluffs near the copperhead. The copperhead was denning in a hole in the ground. My guess would be he was denning in a crayfish hole or in an old tree stump. Our totals were: 5 northern water snakes, 1 eastern garter snake, and 1 osage copperhead.  A total of 7 snakes.
December 04, 2004
Clear  59º
A trip to my favorite spot in St. Charles County Missouri was certainly in order today.  My dad, brother, and I arrived around noon.  The temperature increased quickly bringing out some snakes.  We had a good day.  We saw five northern water snakes.  Two of which we saw on the last trip here.  They were certainly not happy being disurbed.  My brother and I found out personally.  Ouch!  We also saw six eastern garter snakes.  A total of 11 snakes. 
December 12, 2004
Mostly Cloudy  52º
My brother, dad, and I decided to try for a snake or two even though it seemed unlikely we were going to find one.  However, mother nature didnít disappoint us.  Not long after we arrived, I found a northern water snake sunning himself right next to a marsh.  The cold weather made it easy to photgraph the snake.  Later in the day we saw a small eastern yellow-bellied racer sunning himself.  As I got closer I realized something wasnít right with the snake.  The snake was severly emaciated.  The snake had come out to sun himself and while doing so, died.  A total of 2 snakes.
December 29, 2004
Mostly Clear  59º
My dad, brother, and I decided to check my spot in St. Charles County Missouri.  It was a little disappointing, because I expected to see more snakes than what presented themselves.  I saw two northern water snakes.  A total of 2 snakes.
December 30, 2004
Mostly Cloudy  68º
I wanted to mix up my herping localities, so I tried a spot in Boone county a couple of my friends herp.  I was a little worried about not finding much in the morning.  The morning started out cloudy, but by time we got to central Missouri, the clouds were diminishing.  We started out seeing the usual garter snakes.  We had only seen a few snakes when we started haeding back to the car.    While heading back my dad spotted a small northern water snake near a small outcropping.  Not far was a three foot eastern yellow-bellied racer.  Then I noticed an eastern garter snake.  Then another one and another one.  There was a total of three garter snakes.  While photographing the various snakes, I noticed a snake coiled up on the hillside.  I was thinking northern water snake, but I shortly realized something was different.  I took a slightly closer look.  I began to see an odd, but familiar pattern.  The thought running through my mind could not have been right.  The typical situation for this sighting to occur wasnít right.  I got closer and realized my thought on the identity of the snake was one hundred percent true.  Coiled on the hillside was an adult osage copperhead.  When it rains it poors.  This is my second copperhead since November 26th of this year.  I had, at least what I consider, an oustanding day.  We saw 6 eastern garter snakes, 3 red-sided garter snakes, 2 northern water snakes, 1 eastern yellow-bellied racer, and 1 osage copperhead.  A total of 13 snakes.
December 31, 2004
Mostly Clear  70º
My dad, brother, my friend Nathan, his friend Kevin, and I decided to give one last herping expedition before the new year.  We decided to go all in, in an effort to photograph a massasauga.We arrived in Clinton County Illinois around 11:30am.  However, the day was a bust.  An early flat tire, and hours of unrewarding herping.  Oh well.   I had a big bang to the end of the year.  I canít wait to see what next year brings.  A total of 0 snakes.


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