This is my description
page of all of my snake trips.
Click a box below to shortcut to a particular month.
|January 25, 2009
Cloudy, Snow Flurries
I finally had a chance to get out and do some herping this year. It was my first outing of 2009. My herping partner from last year (Brian) joined me on the outing. The the temperature was well below freezing, but that was ok, because our destination was a a cave where the temperature stays in the 50ís year round. We had a specific target in mind. We arrived at the cave around 10:30 AM and we quickly found our target. Brian flipped a larval form of the grotto salamander. The grotto salamander is Missouriís only species of blind salamander and it is mostly found in caves, though a few can be found in cold springs. We took photos the best we could and continued on. We finally got past the twilight zone and into the real darkness, which is where we started finding other herps, such as green frogs and pickerel frogs. We also found a couple of other larval forms of the grotto salamander. Before leaving the cave, Brian spotted our only cave salamander of the day back in a crevice. Before the day ended, we visited a couple of streams farther west to look for gray-bellied salamanders, but we had no luck there. Cave herping was a great way to debut 2009. We photographed three examples of our goal species and saw some other cool herps. It is January though. A total of 0 snakes.
|February 07, 2009
was suppose to be warm today, so Brian and I wanted to get out and herp.
We herped a couple of spots we knew off in Eastern Missouri. We tried
for snakes, but the ground must just be too cold still, so we focused on
amphibians. The day was generally slow as far as herps go. The
highlight of the day was when, we flipped a cave salamander under a rock
near an old well. We finished the day with a long-tailed salamander
near the entrance of a small cave. A total
of 0 snakes.
|February 08, 2009
|While doing a little birding with my family, we spotted a large red-eared slider scooting across the ice on a large lake. It was an interesting thing to see. The turtle did eventually find open water and disappeared. I unexpectedly found my first reptile of 2009. A total of 0 snakes.|
|February 14, 2009
my Conservation Biology Lab, Brian and I decided to see if we could find
some Salamanders at a spot in Western Illinois. It was cold and we didnít
have much faith, but it was nice to get out nonetheless. After a couple
hours of searching we scared up a couple of small-mouthed salamanders. They
were under partially submerged logs. It wasnít until the end of the day
that we saw what a cold snap did to the salamanders after a warm rainy period.
In a couple of pools, we saw hundreds of dead small mouthed salamanders and
many dead southern leopard frogs. They were stimulated to breed, but they
didnít have enough time to find shelter before the cold snap. It was a disappointing
A total of 0 snakes.
|February 28, 2009
|I did a little herping on my grandparents property in Eastern Missouri. I didnít find much other than a dead central newt, a dead southern leopard frog, and a live spotted salamander larva. It was nice seeing the larva. A total of 0 snakes.|
|March 06, 2009
was warm today. I wish I would have gotten out earlier, but after our delay
in departure, my dad, my sister and I decided to head to one of my spots
in eastern Missouri to look for my first snakes of the year. It was quite
a bit cooler by the time we got there, but it was still warm enough for a
snake to be out. We didnít find any snakes, but we did find a huge common
snapping turtle. It was a fun little outing. A total
of 0 snakes.
|March 07, 2009
|It was another warm day, but the problem was I had a lab field trip. Doh! The class ended a little earlier than usual, so my dad, sister, and headed over to a spot in Eastern Missouri that I had herped earlier this spring that looked great for snakes. On the way there I finally saw my first snake of the year. Unfortunately, it was in the talons of a red-tailed hawk. We finally arrived at our location and after a little effort, we flipped up a pair of prairie ring-necked snakes. I consider this my first snake of the year because it wasnít dying. After another prairie ring-necked snake, we got a nice midland brown snake on the move. Not much else was seen here so we moved on to another spot that I knew of. Here we got a few more snakes. We saw a large northern water snake out soaking up some sun. We also saw a black rat snake and an osage copperhead sharing a crevice. We ended the great day with a couple of northern spring peepers at a woodland pond. It was nice to finally get my first snakes of the year. They came later than usual, but I canít complain. A total of 8 snakes.|
|March 14, 2009
|At my grandparentís property in Eastern Missouri herping was slow but successful. In a few hours of searching, I found 2 prairie ring-necked snakes, a few lizards, a pickerel frog, and some newts. A total of 2 snakes.|
|March 15, 2009
dad, sister, and I decided to do a little herping at one of my spots in
Eastern Missouri. Upon arriving, we immediately struck success. In the first
few feet, we spotted a pair of ribbon snakes mating. I knew it was going
to be a good day. Not long after that, we spotted a racer within a few feet
from a pair of basking northern water snakes. We soon saw a few black rat
snakes hanging around. Near the end of the day, while looking for salamanders,
I rolled a small midland brown snake under a log. The totals for the day
are 4 northern water snakes, 3 western ribbon snakes, 3 black rat snakes,
2 prairie ring-necked snakes, 1 eastern yellow-bellied racer, and 1 midland
brown snake. A total of 14 snakes.
|March 21, 2009
|At my grandparentís property in Eastern Missouri, prairie ring-necked snakes were being found in good number. A quick search turned up 11 of them. We also heard and found pickerel frogs breeding in the pond. It wasnít a bad day. A total of 11 snakes.|
|March 24, 2009
had rained all day long and I was planning on getting out to see if anything
was taking advantage of it. Unfortunately, the rain had stopped by nightfall
and I was a little depressed. However, I still had hope that something would
be out trying to breed so I headed out. My mom actually wanted to come along
too so we headed over to one of my spots in Eastern Missouri. Upon arrival,
my worrying was for nothing. The ponds were full of spotted salamanders.
Every few steps yielded at least one spotted salamander bolting from the edge
of the pond down to the leaf litter in the center. At one location there was
a sheet of tin about 10 feet from the edge of the pond. I lifted it to see
a batch of eggs. I knew they had to be ringed salamander eggs. After looking
at the eggs for several seconds, my eye caught some movement. On the other
side of the tin I saw a female ringed salamander slowly walking away. Firstly,
it is weird to see a ringed salamander laying eggs on land, but I have seen
this many times before, but secondly, they are fall breeders. It was very
cool to see this species in the spring. Last spring I found a ringed salamander
too. Iím noticing a trend. We finished the night with a few pickerel frogs,
American toads, plains, and southern leopard frogs, wood frogs, and northern
spring peepers. The night went way better than expected. I only wish we would
have seen a tiger salamander like last ear. Oh well, I have nothing to complain
total of 0 snakes.
|April 03, 2009
and I had made plans that weekend to meet up with Mike and Scott for some
herping. Before heading down to southern Illinois though, we stopped off
at one of my spots in Eastern Missouri to look for snakes. It had gotten
cold a few night before and any cover we flipped showed it. Logs and rocks
were hard to flip and if they were able to be flipped, they had frost under
them. A few frogs were seen in an area that numerous water snakes should
have turned up. Toward dark, we did find a poor northern water snake that
had its head beaten by a jerk who was no doubt fishing. It is a shame
every time I see or hear of this happening. Hopefully the next few
days will be better. A total of 1 snake.
|April 04, 2009
next day Brian, Mike, and I headed to a spot in southwest Illinois. Scott,
unfortunately, had to work so he couldnít join us. After what seemed like
a very long walk, we hit our destination. Our first snake was spotted by
Brian. It was a juvenile timber rattlesnake back in crevice. We were kind
of bummed though because we were unable to get a picture. We continued on
without seeing much. The sun just wasnít hitting the bluffs so we went down
near the water where there was sun. After rolling several logs, Brian rolled
a very nice cottonmouth. This cottnmouth was the nicest one I have ever seen.
It had a bright gold hue to it. After pictures were taken, we let the viper
back under its log. The snakes started to become more active at this point.
The sun was starting to hit the bluffs and the snakes knew it. At one spot
we spotted 3 racers and a few black rat snakes. It was a game of find the
snake in the leaf litter. We continued on and we eventually reached an area
where the water came up to the bluff. This area had lots of cottonmouths and
a couple of yellow-bellied water snakes. We started to ford across the water,
but it just proved too deep. We had to turn around. On the way back we spotted
a rough green snake on the crawl. We saw a few more black rat snakes and
cottonmouths too. We eventually got back to where we saw the timber rattlesnake
earlier in the day and wouldnít you know it, he wasnít there. However, a
bigger one was! He secured him for photos and then let him on his way. It
was a good day. The totals were 11 western cottnmouths, 6 black rat snakes,
4 southern black racers, 2 yellow-bellied water snakes, 2 timber rattlesnakes,
1 rough green snake, and 1 northern ring-necked snake. A total of 27 snakes.
|April 05, 2009
a fun night at the camp fire with many of the field herp forum members, we
decided to herp together on this Sunday. Brian had a little too much fun
the night before, so he was feeling a bit under the weather and therefore
did not come out with us. Our group, which consisted of Mike S, Mike C, Mike
P, Don, Justin, Mosses, a few other people who I canít remember, and I, met
at a spot in Southern Illinois. We immediately started finding cottonmouths.
An eastern ribbon snake eluded capture as well. Unfortunately, I didnít see
it. It was in tall grass at the edge of a river, and it bolted into the
river very quickly. I will keep coming back in an effort to get a
eastern ribbon snake. Anyway, we found ourselves near an area of loose railroad
ties. We all got behind a railroad tie and flipped. I must have won the
lottery because under my railroad tie was a stunning adult black kingsnake.
We spent some time photographing the snake. After that, we moved into the
swamp to look for salamanders. We turned up small-mouthed salamanders, marbled
salamanders, mole salamanders, spotted salamanders, and northern slimy salamanders.
Eastern box turtles, a smooth earth snake, and a copper-bellied water snake
were seen as well. While walking back to the car, the sky just opened up.
I have never herped with that much rain falling before. We all had very expensive
camera gear with us and we were worried that water would get into them. Luckily,
my cameras were dry as a bone and I believe no one also had issues either.
We later got lunch and parted ways. It was a fun trip and I thank everyone
who herped with us. I will hopefully see you guys again sometime. Until
then, here are the totals for the day. We saw 10 western cottonmouths, 1
copper-bellied water snake, 1 Mississippi ring-necked snake, 1 western smooth
earth snake, and 1 black kingsnake. A total of 14 snakes.
|April 11, 2009
and I had made plans to herp today, so after my class, Brian, my dad, and
I headed to Illinois. Not long after arriving, we found our goal. It was
an eastern massasauga rattlesnake on the edge of the trail. After we snapped
a couple of pictures we moved on. We saw the occasional garter snake, but
the fact was, the day was somewhat slow. A couple of hours later we found
another massasauga. It was a big one coiled on a tuft of grass. We later
moved on. We ended the day by seeing two more massasaugas and a few more garter
snakes. The cool thing about today was that the only snake we had to manipulate
for a picture was a couple of eastern garter snakes. It rarely works out
that the species you are looking for is already in an optimal position for
photos. It was a good day! The totals are 8 eastern garter snakes, and 4
eastern massasauga rattlesnakes. A total of 12 snakes.
|April 12, 2009
herping at my grandparentís property was about average. I found 16 prairie
ring-necked snakes under all forms of cover. The cool find for the day wasnít
a snake, but a salamander. At one of my snake producing spots, I flipped
a large ringed salamander. This was a very nice surprise. This made the
day. A total
of 16 snakes.
|April 17, 2009
it has been a tradition that my dad and I go to LaRue Road every spring
and fall and we figured that today was a good day to do that. Things were
a little slow after first arriving. We saw a few cottonmouths to start.
As the day got warmer, other snakes started to be seen. We started seeing
a few ribbon snakes, yellow-bellied water snakes, and eastern garter snakes.
While walking along the base of the bluff, I stopped dead in my tracks when
I saw an adult timber rattlesnake with about six inches of its body out of
a crevice. Luck would have it that Mike S. would show up, so I showed him
the timber as well. We continued on and herped with Mike for a while. We
saw the usual suspects. It wasnít until we turned around to head back to
the car that we saw something different. My dad spotted a huge black snake
making its way across the road. Mike ran as fast as he could to get
it. He finally got it in hand and brought back a huge kingsnake. It looked
like a speckled kingsnake. The kingsnakes down here share characteristics
of both the black subspecies and the speckled. It is their variable
looks that make the kingsnakes down here so cool. It measured over four feet
long. It had really dry skin though and it was getting stressed out, so
we let it go without great pictures. Mike eventually had to leave, but my
dad and I kept on herping. We were still walking back when I noticed a guy
on the hill photographing something. He had a copperhead. I waited until
he had all the shots he wanted and then he let me come up. It was a big
copperhead and I thanked him for allowing me to come up and snap a quick
picture. It is all about respect to your fellow herpers. If they find something,
it is best to allow them to get their pictures first and then they will likely
allow you to come over for some pictures. However, it is important to think
about the stress level of the snake as well. Anyway, I canít for the life
of me remember his name, but he herped with my dad and I for the rest of
the day. He was a great guy and a joy to herp with. We again saw the usual,
until I spotted a black rat snake next to a bolder. He said it was a kingsnake,
and I thought no it is a rat snake. I eventually walked over to it and sure
enough, he was right. It was a kingsnake with little to no speckling. It
looked like a true black kingsnake. We found two kingsnakes today. One looked
like a speckled and one looked like a black. I love this place! We eventually
left for home. On the way home, I spotted a small black rat snake in the
road, but it was too late. We unfortunately hit it. Though it did crawl off
the road on its own power, I'm sure it later died. Other than that unfortunate
incident it was a great day. I want to thank those that helped me on this
day. Without the help of others, I would not have completed the viper trifecta
and I would likely not have seen any of the snakes that were seen on this
day. The totals were 16 western cottnmouths, 8 yellow-bellied water snakes,
7 black rat snakes, 3 western ribbon snakes, 3 eastern garter snakes, 2
Mississippi ring-necked snakes, 2 common kingsnakes (1 speckled kingsnake,
1 black kingsnake), 1 northern copperhead, 1 timber rattlesnake, 1 midland
brown snake, and 1 DOR western smooth earth snake. A total of 44 snakes.
|April 18, 2009
such a good day yesterday, Brian and I decided to herp an area in Eastern
Missouri that we wanted to explore a little more. It was a small glade with
a lot of potential. We immediately saw ring-necked snakes. Worm snakes soon
made their presence known. We were only finding the small fossorial snakes,
though in great number. The amount of ring-necked snakes was ridiculous.
Flip a rock, grab the ring-necks, and put the rock back. After about 45 minutes,
we finally found a juvenile racer. After the racer, we were only turning
up small stuff again. We finally saw a huge rock that looked promising. Brian
flipped it and saw nothing. He was in the process of putting it down when
he saw the small copperhead coiled under it. We got the snake out safely,
put the rock back down perfectly, and photographed the beautiful animal.
We soon let the snake go, and continued on. We continued finding some flat-headed
snakes, smooth earth snakes, and the other usual herps. It was almost dark
now and we had time to check one other spot before calling it quits. We wanted
to see how many more ring-necked snakes we could find, plus there was a
chance of seeing something else. We only saw like 30 ring-necked snakes at
this spot. It was a fun day. The totals were 110 prairie ring-necked snakes,
12 western worm snakes, 4 flat-headed snakes, 2 eastern yellow-bellied racers,
2 western smooth earth snakes, and 1 osage copperhead. We broke our record for snakes in a single day. A total of 131 snakes.
|April 19, 2009
herped two days in a row, why not make it three. Brian and I headed to another
location in Eastern Missouri. We arrived during the late morning. Under the
first rock I flipped, there was a nice western smooth earth snake. We followed
that find with ring-necked snakes, worm snakes, and lined snakes. We eventually
made it to an area where I always have luck. History likes to repeat itself.
Under a large rock, we flipped a nice juvenile speckled kingsnake. Our pictures
didnít turn out real good, but it was a nice animal all the same. We moved
on and saw a rock that was more boulder like and it sat loose on top of
the glade. It looked like a horrible rock. I walked by it, but Brian flipped
it anyway. Iím glad he did. There was a nice copperhead under that rock.
It goes to show that even when you think something will not happen, it does.
We had herped for a few hours and decided that we wanted to hike to an area
that we had never explored before. After, some tough hiking, we finally
made it. Under the first rock we flipped, which was a large flat rock, we
got a very nice milk snake. We were glad to finally get our first milk of
the year. After dealing with the rain and a fogged up camera lens, we got
our pictures and let the snake go back under its rock. The next rock over
held an adult racer. Our luck stayed consistent. We continued to find the
usual. We continued until we ran out of real estate. We walked back over
to some glades we had herped before. It was raining pretty hard at this point
and it was like a river flowing down the glades. We didnít have much faith
in finding much else. Under most of the rocks there were either western slimy
salamanders or cave salamanders. They were everywhere. I have never seen
that many in one day. However, the lord blessed us with another species of
salamander. On the middle of a glade, we flipped a small spotted salamander.
This was an odd, but very pleasant find. We soon let it go and continued on.
We soon came to another large promising rock. Brian flipped it and pulled
out the nice adult great plains rat snake. This was only my second rat from
this particular locale and we were pleased to find it. The rain made it difficult
to photograph, but we managed and let it go back under its rock. Our last
big find of the day was an adult copperhead that we found under a large rock.
Brian and I both called the copperhead before we even flipped it. Some rocks
are just too classic looking to expect anything but a copperhead. It was
a great day, and a great three days. I probably will not have a string of
days like this again for a long time. The totals were 40 prairie ring-necked
snakes, 12 lined snakes, 5 western worm snakes, 5 eastern yellow-bellied racers,
2 western smooth earth snakes, 2 osage copperheads, 1 speckled kingsnake,
1 red milk snake, 1 great plains rat snake, and 1 midland brown snake. A total of 70 snakes.
|April 24, 2009
|While helping my dad put in a garden at home here in Eastern Missouri, I saw my dog acting strange. I walked over to see her staring at a large eastern garter snake. Every once in a while I get a garter snake in my yard. I always enjoy those encounters. A total of 1 snake.|
|April 25, 2009
|While chasing storms in Western Oklahoma, my dad, Brian S, and I road cruised a nice adult great plains rat snake. It was a nice substitute for a rather disappointing chase. We missed a tornado to our east. Oh well, sometimes that is how things play out. A total of 1 snake.|
|May 02, 2009
and I were out herping again. We herped many different areas today. We started
out at a location in Eastern Missouri. We herped along some old railroad
tracks. We immediately started finding some garter snakes and three-toed box
turtles. We soon found a few black rat snakes out basking on some rocks and
in some trees. On the way back to the car we saw a massive northern water
snake and a pair of racers. At our next destination we were greeted to more
garter snakes. Every few steps resulted in a garter snake or a ribbon snake
shooting off into the thicker grass. I couldnít believe how many snakes were
along the trail. We walked over to one area where we saw several northern
water snakes and a few diamond-backed water snakes sunning themselves on the
rocks. We then walked another trail where the garter snakes were the thickest.
It was a buffet of photo opportunities. Many of the snakes bolted quickly,
but just as many stayed put for good insitu pictures. We spotted another
pair of racers coiled together on the side of the trail just before they
darted off. We also got a nice adult prairie kingsnake coiled nicely in the
grass. On the way back to the car we spotted a few large yellow-bellied water
snakes. Our new destination was in Western Illinois. Here we only found a
couple of northern ring-necked snakes. It was getting close to dark and we
wanted to squeeze in one more area. This spot was a good location for milk
snakes so we just had to see what we could find. We were finding the occasional
midwest worm snake and 1 smooth earth snake, but we hadnít seen a milk snake
yet. We checked part of the area thoroughly. I spotted a rock that I knew
Brian had probably gotten, but he said he wasnít sure. My question was answered
a few seconds later. There was a nice red milk snake under it. That jump-started
the rest of the evening. We soon found another milk snake. It wasnít as nice,
but we found a nice rock to photograph it on. We released the snake and decided
that we had better flip the rock we shot the other milk on. Under it was
a large opaque red milk snake. Before we left the area, we found two
more milk snakes. I never would have thought that we would have found five
milk snakes at this spot. I thought one was pushing it. It was a great
day with both numbers and high diversity being found. The totals were 29
eastern garter snakes, 18 northern water snakes, 6 yellow-bellied water snakes,
6 western ribbon snakes, 5 red milk snakes, 4 eastern yellow-bellied racers,
3 black rat snakes, 3 diamond-backed water snakes, 3 Midwest worm snakes,
2 northern ring-necked snakes, 1 western smooth earth snake, and 1 prairie
kingsnake. A total of 81 snakes.
|May 03, 2009
such a great day yesterday, it was obviously that Brian and I were going
to be herping today. We hit a spot in Central Missouri. We started the day
out with the usual suspects. This location has proved to be a very good, reliable
spot for many different species. It didnít let us down. One of our first
major finds was a pair of great plains rat snakes under a large rock. This
was a great flip. We had found a copperhead under the same rock just a year
before and this time we flipped two great plains rat snakes together under
one rock for the first time. After photographing the bitey snakes, we let
them go back under their rock. Another red milk snake was soon found afterwards.
An hour or so passed in which small snakes and the occasional racer were
found. We soon got to another usually productive area where we flipped
a large rock and found a surprise waiting under it. There was a large prairie
kingsnake coiled under it. This was only the second time I have seen a prairie
kingsnake on a glade. We actually had a chance to get all three kingsnakes
in one day which neither of us had ever done before. The goal for the rest
of the day was to get a speckled kingsnake. I really wanted to get a coachwhip
too. I had been hoping for one earlier this year, but now I am starting to
get desperate. Anyway, we continued on. I flipped another nice milk snake
under a large rock. It didnít take me long to figure out that it was the
same one I found last year. It had a weird hour glass shape blotch on its
back that makes for an easy identification marker. We didnít find any speckled
kingsnakes here though so we opted to go over to an area we had never been
to before. We had to walk a good distance to get to it. It was a little overgrown
but it looked good. It took a while to find anything, but I finally flipped
a small rock and there was a juvenile speckled kingsnake under it. We were
happy to say the least. We hear about the guys in Western Missouri
and Kansas getting all three relatively easily in one day so we wanted to
do it in our region. It seems harder to do it here for some reason. We did
show that it wasnít impossible though. We continued herping and we went through
a string of flipping adult racers under rocks. Those racers should have been
coachwhips. I guess I have all year to find one. I really do need to break
the jinx though. Anyway, we came to this nice big rock. Brian flipped it
and another first occurred. Under the rock was an adult red milk snake and
an adult speckled kingsnake. Neither one of us had ever flipped two different
species of kingsnake under the same piece of cover. We took our time getting
pictures before letting them go. We found another two red milk snakes and
a nice copperhead before heading back to the car. We did stop at one small
area along the trail where we saw a few more ring-necked snakes, flat-headed
snakes, and a worm snake. That concluded the day. It was another fantastic
day at this location. The totals are 20 flat-headed snakes, 17 rough earth
snakes, 16 prairie ring-necked snakes, 9 eastern yellow-bellied racers, 7
red milk snakes, 2 speckled kingsnakes, 2 great plains rat snakes, 1 prairie
kingsnake, 1 western worm snake, and 1 osage copperhead. A total of 76 snakes.
|May 09, 2009
friend of mine from school (Clinton), Brian, and I had made plans to herp
a spot that we had only herped once. Like most days we started off seeing
the usually ring-necked snakes and rough earth snakes. However, we did see
our first collard lizard of the year. Those are always nice to see. We found
a worm snake and a racer or two in route to a good looking spot. There was
a lot of brush at this particular area, but it breaks up to small clear pockets
that are great for snakes. At one such spot, Brian flipped a large rock
to reveal several ring-necked snakes. It was Clinton that had to point out
the milk snake under there with them. I never saw the milk snake. It
was a good spot by Clinton. My next challenge was to crawl under the rock
to get all the snakes while praying that Brian does not drop the rock. All
ended well and we continued on. It was slow for a while, other than the standard
small fossorial snakes. We did finally reach a large open area and racers
started showing up. They were mostly opaque. I finally struck pay dirt again
with a nice juvenile speckled kingsnake. It wouldnít sit still so my pictures
werenít the greatest. Nonetheless, it was a great find. Not long after that,
Brian flipped a red milk snake. We photographed it and moved up the
hill. We soon found a couple of more milk snakes at the corner of the opening.
After looking over the area good, we moved over to the opposite corner. Along
the way we saw several collard lizards. At the other corner, we flipped a
very nice milk snake under a large rock. If I was a collector, it would have
been coming home with me. Thankfully, I am not, so it got to go home under
its rock. As I was packing up my camera, Brian brought me over another milk
snake. It looked like it would have been another stunner, but it was getting
ready to shed, so its beauty was masked a little bit. Even so, six milk snakes
was awesome. I promised Clinton a good day and we thankfully came through.
We did drive over to another area before calling it quits. It was a little
hot here and we were not finding anything. I was about to give up when Brian
flipped a small adult great plains rat snake. It was a nice individual and
well tempered. That finished off what was a great day. The totals were 27
rough earth snakes, 21 prairie ring-necked snakes, 7 eastern yellow-bellied
racers, 6 red milk snakes, 3 western worm snakes, 2 speckled kingsnakes (1
DOR), and 1 great plains rat snake. A total of 67 snakes.
|May 10, 2009
brother and I were cutting grass in my neighborhood when my brother leaps
into the air. I look over to see he ran over an eastern garter snake with
the lawn mower. Luckily the snake was alive and though it was a bad cut,
the damage was sustained to the skin and no major organs were affected. The
snake was not fatally wounded and it will be fine within a month or two.
By the way, my brother didnít see the snake until he hit it. Otherwise he
would have made sure the snake was not in the way before continuing. A total of 1 snake.
|May 13, 2009
sister, my dad, and I were chasing storms in Northern Missouri when we spotted
a black rat snake crossing the roads. We were in chase mode so I took a
quick picture and got it off the road. We ended up missing the Kirksville
tornadoes, which unfortunately took lives, but we did catch a brief tornado
near Macon. It was a frustrating, yet rewarding day. A total of 1 snake.
|May 15, 2009
was my first day at work, and while driving there a watched a nice black
rat snake cross the road. Not a bad way to start my first day on the job.
total of 1 snake.
|May 16, 2009
has dwelt us a great hand, so Brian and I made plans again to herp Eastern
Missouri. We had never herped this area before and we were excited to see
what we could find. The day started out slow. We had only found a couple
of flat-headed snakes and ring-necked snakes in a couple hours of herping.
In fact we were not seeing the type of cover that we wanted. We were starting
to consider our options for other places when Brian found a rock pile. Within
that rock pile, Brian pulled out a nice red milk snake. That lifted our spirits
a little bit. I saw a northern water snake (Brian saw two) at
a creek before moving on to the next area. This area looked much better.
The rocks were flat and not completely imbeded. We found a big gravid
western worm snake relatively quickly. Then we found a nice yellow-tinged
milk snake. It was a neat snake to see. I wish I would have gotten better
pictures of it. A few minutes later, I flipped another milk snake. This was
the nicest of the bunch. This was another situation where if I was a collector,
I would have taken the snake. Luckily for him, I wasnít. I get much
more enjoyment out of seeing a snake going back into its habitat that seeing
it in a glass cage on top of some newspaper. The last major find here was
a large copperhead flipped under a large rock. We drove over to another nearby
area, where it required going down in insanely steep hill. Remember,
when herping, what goes down must come up. Anyway, at this spot we were barely
finding ring-necked snakes. After and hour or so of finding nothing, we saw
an absolutely massive rock. We flipped it (even though looking back on it,
we probably shouldnít have) and found two adult copperheads. One of the copperheads
was probably the most beautiful I have ever seen. I got great photos of that
one. It took a while and a lot of effort to get the rock back to its original
position, but we did. Remember, if you are going to flip something that is
large, make sure you can put it back exactly before you flip it. This rock
was almost too big to put back. We eventually let the snakes go back
under the rock. Our last big finds were a dead, dried up milk snake under
a rock and a nice subadult speckled kingsnake. After photographing the kingsnake,
it was time to climb the hill to the car. That hill was horrible. I felt great
sitting down after that climb. Summer is setting in, but the spring finds
continue. I just wish we would have gotten a coachwhip. The totals were
14 flat-headed snakes, 13 prairie ring-necked snakes, 4 red milk snake (1
DOA), 3 western worm snakes, 3 eastern yellow-bellied racers, 3 osage copperheads,
1 northern water snake, and 1 speckled kingsnake. A total of 42 snakes.
|May 25, 2009
Partly Cloudy, Rain
and I needed to get out again. We decided to stay a little local (Eastern
Missouri), and we knew an area that needed to be explored more thoroughly.
The day started out slow like it usually does. We had one rough earth snake
after 45 minutes of herping. We soon came to an elevated rock that looked
good for something. We just didnít know what. Well, there is only one way
to find out. We flipped it to reveal a large copperhead. It was my
first one from this locale. We continued on through some thick brush without
much luck. We did find an eastern narrow-mouthed toad. It was a big find because
neither one of us had seen one this close to home before. While searching
a small opening, I flipped a nice adult milk snake. We had to battle a little
bit of rain to get the picture. We soon let the animal go where it was found.
We later found our second milk snake. This one was smaller and dull colored.
It was still nice to find one nonetheless. A few rocks later we found a juvenile
speckled kingsnake. That was followed by another juvenile speckled kingsnake
a few moments later. We continued on without much to report. Near the bottom
of the hill, Brian flipped a large rock and there were two adult red milk
snakes underneath. That was my first time seeing two milks under one rock.
We shot our photos and let them go. We continued down the hill to the other
hill. Near the woodland edge we spotted a nice adult black rat snake out
on the crawl. It soon crawled into a rock crevice. It was this area
that we found a handful of lined snakes. One was massive. It was over a foot
long and it was close to the biggest one I have ever seen. A few racers were
seen here as well. We decided it was time to move to a new area. We had never
herped this area before and we wanted to see what it was like. When we got
there, it didnít look good. Rocks had been flipped and not put back. Even
so, Brian flipped our third juvenile speckled kingsnake of the day. That
was followed by an adult speckled kingsnake several yards away. We ended
the day at one last spot. Here we found ring-necked snakes, worm snakes,
and lined snakes. The numbers havenít been like they were the last month
or so, but the diversity is still there. Iíll take diversity over numbers
any day of the week. It was another great day even though we still havenít
found a coachwhip. The totals were 8 western worm snakes, 6 lined snakes,
6 rough earth snakes, 6 prairie ring-necked snakes, 4 red milk snakes, 4
speckled kingsnakes, 4 eastern yellow-bellied racers, 1 black rat snake, and
1 osage copperhead. A
total of 40 snakes.
|May 29, 2009
doing some trail work, my coworker spotted a gravid tan-phased northern red-bellied
snake crossing the trail. A total of 1 snake.
|May 30, 2009
work, there was a DOR black rat snake on the road. A total of 1 snake.
|May 31, 2009
in route to our storm chasing target, My dad Brian S, and I stopped off at
a spot in Northwest Missouri. Our first find was a nice adult common snapping
turtle. We then drove to a bridge where we got out to look for water snakes.
They were everywhere. Just by scanning around, we saw 16 northern water
snakes. There were two mating balls of four snakes each. There were many
males swimming around following pheromone trails. It was a fun game of who
can spot the most snakes from the bridge. We then drove up the road to an
area where I have seen snakes in the past. Here we saw 3 more northern water
snakes and 2 prairie ring-necked snakes. It was a fun hour and a half. A total of 21 snakes.
|June 01, 2009
|While driving toward a storm in Southwest Iowa, we saw a DOR western fox snake. It was a nice looking animal. It was a shame that it was dead. A total of 1 snake.|
|June 04, 2009
|An eastern garter snake was observed at work while doing trail work. A total of 1 snake.|
|June 05, 2009
has been a little stressful, so my dad and I decided to make a quick local
run. Ring-necked snakes were quickly found. It took a while for something
else to show up. I eventually flipped a racer who bolted out from under the
rock before I was done lifting it. Oh well, within a couple of rocks there
was a subadult speckled kingsnake. It was ugly and about to shed,
but Iíll take what I can get. A little later on I was in an area that looked
good for timber rattlesnakes. I was right on the edge of a glade in some
brushy rocky habitat. I saw a nice looking rock in the brush. I bent
down to pick it up, when I looked to my right and five feet away was a nice
adult timber rattlesnake stretched out. I spent some time getting photos
before letting the beautiful snake on its way. It really was a nicely colored
and patterned snake. A worm snake finished off the outing. It was a
nice short outing, with a timber surprise! The totals were 25 prairie ring-necked
snakes, 1 western worm snake, 1 eastern yellow-bellied racer, 1 speckled
kingsnake, and 1 timber rattlesnake. A total of 29 snakes.
|June 06, 2009
was visiting my grandparentís again and no visit would be complete without
some herping. 27 prairie ring-necked snakes were flipped under rocks and
artificial cover; two northern water snakes were seen swimming in a small
pond; and a western ribbon snake was rolled under a log. A total
of 30 snakes.
|June 09, 2009
at work, I spotted a very nice and sadly DOR red milk snake. Too bad it wasnít
alive. A total of 1 snake.
|June 10, 2009
work my coworker and I saw a DOR osage copperhead, DOR eastern garter snake,
and an AOR eastern garter snake. A total of 3 snakes.
|June 11, 2009
preparing to give a program at work, I saw a northern water snake, a western
smooth earth snake, and a DOR prairie ring-necked snake. A total
of 3 snakes.
|June 13, 2009
preparing to give a program at work, I walked up on a western smooth earth
snake crossing the road. After the program, I headed over to a small glade
and promptly found 2 prairie ring-necked snakes, an eastern yellow-bellied
racer, and a nice juvenile red milk snake. A total
of 5 snakes.
|June 14, 2009
and I decided we wanted to give a pygmy rattlesnake a try. We headed to an
area in southeast Missouri to look for one. Along the way, we stopped off
at a tin site and flipped a prairie kingsnake. When we arrived at our targeted
area, it took a while to find a snake, but we finally started with a couple
of flat-headed snakes. We soon followed that up with a nice copperhead under
a rock with a nest of wasps and some brown recluses. Finding multiple species
of venomous animals under a single rock can be unnerving. We took pictures
of the snake and moved on. We then came to a small glade with a great looking
rock on it. We flipped it and saw our targetís shed skin. It was the
skin of a western pygmy rattlesnake. We were excited and searched the nearby
area to no avail. We were glad they were here, but were felt like we got
sucker punched in the gut when we couldnít find the animal. We eventually
moved on disappointed. We continued hiking for what seemed like forever,
when I flipped a small milk snake, which was followed shortly by another
one that Brian flipped. Our next find was a very large eastern garter snake
and then another red milk snake We started to walk the path down hill
when Brian noticed an area of large rocks. He flipped them and found a nice
adult great plains rat snake under one of them. A hour or so later, Brian
saw another good looking rock within the woods. He flipped it an not only
found one, but two great plains rat snakes underneath it. This marked the
second time this year that two great plains rat snakes had been flipped under
the same rock. We eventually got tired and rested until it was time to road
cruise. We ended the night finding a couple of copperheads. The totals
are 4 flat-headed snakes, 3 red milk snakes, 3 great plains rat snakes, 3
osage copperheads, 2 prairie ring-necked snakes, 2 eastern garter snakes
(1 DOR), and a prairie kingsnake. A total
of 18 snakes.
|June 25, 2009
work, I decided to go to a nearby area just to hike around for a little bit.
While there, I saw a northern water snake and road cruised a black rat snake.
A total of 2 snakes.
|June 26, 2009
going for a drive in Eastern Missouri, I spotted a DOR eastern yellow-bellied
racer. A total of 1 snake.
|June 28, 2009
my sister Melissa, and I decided to look for mudpuppies and map turtles in
eastern Missouri today. It was a slow day. We had trouble finding good mudpuppy
areas and we couldnít find many map turtles. We did catch a glimpse of a
ouachita map turtle which was a lifer for all three of us. We also later road
cruised a neonate common map turtle. During the evening and night time, we
road cruised for snakes. It wasnít long before we found our first snake of
the night. It was a copperhead. Within the next five minutes, we road cruised
two more. We did end the night finding two more copperheads. Our totals include
5 osage copperheads and 1 northern water snake. A total
of 6 snakes.
|June 29, 2009
work, I road cruised a prairie ring-necked snake and saw a DOR eastern garter
snake. A total of 2 snakes.
|July 2, 2009
taking my dog for a walk in eastern Missouri, I flipped a small northern
water snake under a rock at the waterís edge. A total
of 1 snake.
|July 4, 2009
and I decide we wanted to herp someplace new. We decided to hit Indiana.
We had talked to people who had some places to show us so we made arrangements
to meet up with them. The first day found us in southeastern Indiana. We
met up with Greg and his girl friend and he took us to a spot where we could
find kirtlandís snakes. We got to an area that was a little overgrown and
finding cover to flip was a little difficult. I finally managed to flip a
brown snake under a small rock. We continued on for another ten minutes or
so without much luck, at least until Greg flipped me and Brianís first kirtlands
snake under a rock at the waterís edge. We were happy and made sure that we
got good pictures. It didnít matter what else we found or didnít find, the
trip was well worth it! However, luck would have it that we had only begun.
We moved on to an area that had some junk to flip. Though Greg had never
seen a kirtlandís snake at this particular spot before, he had faith that
they were there. His faith was strong this day and under one of the first
pieces of shingle was a large adult kirtlandís snake. Also within the shingle
pile were a few garter snakes. We then moved on to see some dusky salamanders,
two-lined salamanders, and queen snakes. All of those herps were found including
a red-spotted newt which was also a lifer. At the queen snake spot, we found
some very nice looking midland water snakes as well as a few queen snakes.
It was a great first day of the trip and we were looking forward to the next
two days. It has been a long time since I have gotten five lifers in one
day. The totals for the day are 11 midland water snakes, 4 eastern garter
snakes, 4 queen snakes, 3 kirtlandís snakes, 1 midland brown snake, and 1
northern ring-necked snake. A total of 24 snakes.
|July 5, 2009
we drove over to western Indiana to look for queen snakes with Mike, Marty,
and Tracy. They were kind enough to take Brian and I to one of their great
spots. The morning started out slow. The habitat was great, but other than
a ring-necked snake, not much was seen. After a couple hours of searching,
a few water snakes turned up. The water snakes at this particular location
are stunning. I spent some time photographing the water snakes before we
released them. After much searching, Mike finally turned a neonate queen snake
up under a rock near the waterís edge. Photos were taken and the snake was
let go on itís way. We continued on finding a few more midland water snakes.
We eventually neared a big log jam within the creek we were searching. Mike
went over to it and saw a midland water snake and an adult queen snake out
basking on it. Mike and Marty kindly volunteered to go in the water after
the queen snake. Marty was able to grab it before it dropped into the water.
Thanks to those two guys, we were able to get great pictures of the snake.
We soon let the snake go where we found it. We werenít sure quite what to
do at this point, so after some thought among the group, we continued up
stream. While walking near the waterís edge, Mike and I both went down
after a snake. Mike flipped one of the nicest midland water snakes I had ever
seen and I grabbed another queen snake before it could get in the water. We
all took pictures and let them on their way. We soon had to split up, because
Mike, Marty, and Tracy had to be back home at a certain time, so Brian and
I said our goodbyes and headed north to a spot Greg had told us about. We
arrived at a location that had tin and boards to flip. We flipped all the
boards we could find to no avail. We called Greg and he told us about one
more board and a sheet of tin that are usually good producers. We looked and
looked for the tin but we just couldnít find it. While walking transects looking
for the tin, we heard a crinkle under Brianís boot. Buried within the
thick grass was the sheet of tin. Under it was our goal for the trip
north. It was a lifer for Brian and another fox snake for me. We took pictures
of the uncooperative adult fox snake and released it back under itís tin.
Under the board he told us about, we found 2 garter snakes that looked like
the Chicago subspecies and one that looked like the eastern subspecies. I
also got covered by ants, which hurt! Brian thinks I was being a baby, but
those things hurt. I canít wait to see Brian get attacked by ants. Iíll be
the one laughing then. Anyway, it was another fantastic day! The totals were
11 midland water snakes, 3 queen snakes, 2 Chicago garter snakes, 1 eastern
garter snake, 1 western fox snake, and 1 northern ring-necked snake. A total
of 19 snakes.
|July 6, 2009
was our last day of the trip so we headed to northwest Indiana and northeast
Illinois. We started off in the sand prairies looking for bull snakes, but
the closest we came to a bull snake was a shed skin. We then moved on to
an area that we knew had fox snakes. Unfortunately, we were skunked here as
well. We decided our luck needed to be changed so we headed over to a vacant
lot to search for plains garter snakes. I had found a few here several
years ago and I was hoping today would not be any different. We searched all
the artificial and natural cover we could find, but no snakes were to be
had. I finally decided to walk to the back of the lot to see if there were
anything back there. I found a few tiny chunks of concrete. Under
the first one was a small adult eastern plains garter snake. It was a lifer
for Brian and a welcome find for me as well. We had to take it back to the
car, which was where our camera gear was. In route to the car, I flipped a
board that I had missed and found a huge gravid plains garter snake. We carefully
took her to the car too. After photographs, we released her. We then moved
on to an area that had a smooth green snake population. All that was seen
here was a midland brown snake. We soon decided to call it quits and headed
home. On the way home we saw a prairie kingsnake that was dying on the interstate.
It was a sad sight. Today was a little slow but the whole trip went way better
than we ever could have hoped for. I want to thank Greg, his girlfriend,
Mike, Marty, and Tracy for herping with us and helping us find our target
species. I also want to thanks those that gave us areas to check. Without
all the help, this trip would not have been a success. A total
of 4 snakes.
|July 11, 2009
was visiting my grandparents today and coincidentally a little herping was
done too. After finding a handful of ring-necked snakes, it was time
to leave. While driving home, I spotted a garter snake crossing the road.
After a quick picture, I moved it to the other side of the road and continued
on my way. The totals were 7 prairie ring-necked snakes and 1 eastern garter
snake. A total of 8 snakes.
|July 12, 2009
and I had plans to look for snakes again today in eastern Missouri. We headed
to a spot where we were hoping to finally break my coachwhip curse. Unfortunately,
the curse still sticks with me. We found an eastern collard lizard and a
coachwhip shed skin though. So close! Anyway, we headed to another area to
search a couple of glades. We immediately found a rough earth snake. Unfortunately,
things got slow after that. The nothing streak was broken by a couple of
collard lizard sightings. That was followed by a speckled kingsnake that was
found out on the crawl. We finally moved on to another area where some ring-necked
snakes were found including a couple of rough earth snakes. It was nice to
get out, but the weather just wasnít conducive for herping. The totals were
7 prairie ring-necked snakes, 3 rough earth snakes, 1 speckled kingsnake,
and a DOR osage copperhead. A total of 12 snakes.
|July 13, 2009
cutting a lawn in my neighborhood, I spotted an eastern garter snake bolting
through the grass. A total of 1 snake.
|July 18, 2009
was unseasonably cool for this time of the year so my dad and I headed over
to western Illinois to do some herping at one of my spots. We stopped of
at one junk site and got two garter snakes that were out basking. We then
moved on to my tin site. At my tin site, we immediately found several northern
ring-necked snakes. We also flipped a western smooth earth snake and a Midwest
worm snake. The highlight was a copperhead that I flipped under a sheet of
tin. We then crossed the river and searched another area. Here we saw many
northern water snakes an a couple of ribbon snakes. We also saw a 4 foot
yellow-bellied water snake. It was great to get out in the cool weather! The
totals for the day were 8 northern water snakes (3 DOA), 7 northern ring-necked
snakes, 2 eastern garter snakes, 2 western ribbon snakes, 1 blue racer, 1
yellow-bellied water snake, 1 western smooth earth snake, 1 Midwest worm snake,
and 1 northern copperhead. A total of 24 snakes.
|July 19, 2009
and I again made plans to herp, this time in southern Missouri. We started
off at a tin site where we promptly found a prairie kingsnake. We then moved
on to another site, which we couldnít get access to. We changed our plans
a little bit and headed over to another area in which we had only herped
one other time before. On the way there we saw a DOR osage copperhead. After
our arrival, we immediately started searching. A few hours passed without
much more than a female collard lizard and many lichen grasshoppers. However,
Brian finally broke the snake drought with a small western worm snake. After
not having anymore luck, we decided to head over to an area we knew that produces
cottonmouths. We had never seen an Ozark cottonmouth before so it seemed
like a great idea. Plus, I had gotten stung by a large hornet and I needed
time to see how I was going to react to it. We soon arrived to the river
and herped the waterís edge. We hadnít found much so we went into the hills.
We flipped a large rock and found snake eggs underneath of it. We think they
may have been rat snake eggs or something, but who knows. We also flipped
a juvenile speckled kingsnake and a prairie ring-necked snake. We finished
searching the area and then headed to a different location on the river.
On the way there, we saw a DOR black rat snake and a DOR eastern garter snake.
At the new location it took about 20 minutes before Brian spotted a juvenile
western cottonmouth in the river. We took photographs of our first Ozark
cottonmouth and eventually let it go. The slow day ended with a cool find!
A total of 8 snakes.
|July 25, 2009
my grandparentís house I found 17 prairie ring-necked snakes and 1 northern
water snake. I also saw 2 common snapping turtles in the pond there. Those
are always cool to see. A total of 1 snake.
|July 26, 2009
dad and I went to one of my favorite spots in eastern Missouri during the
evening to see what we could find. We found 4 prairie ring-necked snakes
under rocks and a DOA black rat snake, but nothing else of interest was seen.
Road cruising only produced a central newt. The evening didnít produce like
I had expected. Oh well! You win some and lose some. A total
of 5 snakes.
|July 27, 2009
and I spontaneously planned a three day trip to southwest Missouri in order
to find a few animals. The main goal of the trip was to find a pygmy rattlesnake,
but we also wanted to get a coachwhip, red river mudpuppy, gray-bellied salamander,
and an Ozark zigzag salamander. We started off at a place that a friend
of mine had seen a pygmy rattlesnake before. He told us where he had found
it, but the problem was we had to walk about a mile and three quarters to
get there. We started the hike. Brian immediately found an eastern narrow-mouthed
toad under a rock, which I took the time to photograph. We then continued
walking. After a few hours of not finding anything, we decided to roll logs
and see if that would produce anything. It paid off with a nice adult black
rat snake. It was a nice jet black color and made for a nice picture. Nothing
else was seen so we made the long trek back to the car. We were so exhausted
from the hike that we drove around for a little bit to regain some energy.
We then stopped at another area. There were small pocket glades here so
we spent the next couple of hours flipping rocks. The only snake seen was
found under a large rock on the edge of the trail in the woods. It was a
nice greenish looking southern copperhead. We took our time and got some
pictures. Again, we were tired and drove around a little bit to get our
strength back. It was dusk now and we didnít have much time to look.
We stopped by an area that from the road didnít have the greatest potential
in the world. However, it looked better and better the further we walked
back. There were small pocket glades with nice rocks. We didnít have high
hopes for anything, but during the summer it takes a tough effort to find
something cool. Well our persistence paid off big. Brian and I both spotted
a good looking elevated rock. Brian flipped it and to our surprise, our first
western pygmy rattlesnake was coiled underneath. We were ecstatic to say
the least. We spent some time making sure we got good pictures of the adult
pygmy. After making sure we were happy with our photos, we let the little
ground rattler go back under its rock. That find alone made the whole trip
worth it! We still have two more days to go. A total
of 3 snakes.
|July 28, 2009
woke up early with the intention to find some gray-bellied salamanders.
We did quickly find some small gray-bellied salamanders, but non were big
enough to photograph so I passed on that. We also failed in finding any
Ozark zigzag salamanders. We then moved on to a spring to see if anything
could be had there. We saw a very cool looking midland water snake. It had
a stripe down about a fourth of itís body starting behind the head. It was
a cool looking snake. Our next stop took us to some cedar glades.
We walked the glades for about an hour and a half without much luck. I was
tired and decided to sit on a rock in the path while Brian looked at a rock
outcropping just off the trail. Brian then said, ďThereís number twoĒ. I
ran over there and couldnít believe our luck when I saw the pygmy rattlesnake
sitting there basking in a partial coil. One was asking for a lot, but two!
We again made sure we got great photographs before moving on. After that
great find, it got hot so we moved on to a river to look for mudpuppies.
We didnít have any luck so during the evening, we hit another glade to look
for snakes. Brian took me to a spot where he had seen a pair of coachwhips
a couple of years ago. While checking a crevice in the same vicinity where
he saw them before, he called me down to see what he had found. In a crevice
coiled up was my first eastern coachwhip. The jinx is finally broken! We
tried to coax him out, but it was impossible. It didnít matter though. I
was thrilled with the lifer. I look forward to getting a picture of the next
one I find. I will be just as thrilled to find another one. Nothing else
was seen that evening. A total of 3 snakes.
|July 29, 2009
found ourselves further north today. We hit a glade in the morning, but
the few hours of searching produced nothing. We then decided to herp our
way home. We stopped off at a cave to look for grotto salamanders. It took
a few minutes but we finally managed to find a couple of larval grotto salamanders.
We also found several cave salamanders and pickerel frogs. It was a nice
way to beat the heat, but it was time to move on. We drove all the way back
to eastern Missouri. There was still a couple of hours of light, so we decided
to herp with what was left of it. We went to a place that we have seen timber
rattlesnakes in the past. Not long after arrival, I spotted a pair under
a rock crevice. We left them alone but we did take a few insitu shots from
a distance. We continued on and not 3 minutes later we saw another one in
a crevice. After another insitu picture, we moved on. We then hit an
area that always produces prairie ring-necked snakes and the occasional other
snake. We flipped 23 prairie ring-necked snakes at this location. We ended
the day seeing two adult eastern yellow-bellied racers in a cedar tree. It
was a great trip! I got 3 lifers including two pygmy rattlesnakes. I couldnít
have asked for anything better. A total of 28 snakes.
|August 8, 2009
and I once again planned a three day trip to southern Missouri. Our goal
was to find some mudpuppies. We started searching late morning. Our first
find was a nice midland water snake that I was able to save from some fisherman.
If I was any later, the snake would have been killed. I will never understand
that type of thinking. We eventually moved on and found a good pool to search.
We started searching. Brian soon made the first find. He flipped a common
map turtle under a rock in the water. I thought that was a weird way
to find one, but it offered me a photo opportunity. Later, Brian found the
first red river mudpuppy under a rock in about six feet of water. After losing
it once, we finally found it again. We took some pictures and enjoyed
watching as it swam back under itís rock. It wasnít long before Brian flipped
yet another mudpuppy under a rock. We again took some pictures and let in
on its way. We moved up stream a little bit and found another smaller pool.
There was a spring flowing into the pool that was evident by the sharp drop
in temperature. Anyway, the pool didnít look that great, but it looked good
enough to hold our attention. After looking under several rocks we
both came to one that looked great. Brian flipped it and found our
third mudpuppy of the day. I went down to get the salamander, and Brian dropped
the rock on my head. In the end no real harm was done to me or the salamander.
We did have a good laugh though. We photographed the great looking salamander
and then let it go back under the object that Brian assaulted me with. That
concluded the day! A total of 1 snake.
|August 9, 2009
decided to look for mudpuppies. The morning started out slow. The river was
more silty than we would have liked, but we remained persistent. We finally
snuck up on a small common map turtle and grabbed it for some photos.
It was very uncooperative so we took what we could get and let go. The day
went on without much being seen. Toward the end of the day, Brian spotted
a snake that we were hoping to see down there. It was a western cottonmouth.
This was our second Ozark cottonmouth. Unfortunately, before I could get
a camera on it, it crawled into a crevice. That night we road cruised and
found a midland brown snake. We also saw a DOR prairie kingsnake, a DOR black
rat snake, and a DOR southern copperhead. A total
of 5 snakes.
|August 10, 2009
searched for a common mudpuppy farther north but we had no luck. We
then decided to head home. We did stop off at one spot to see if we could
turn something up. I was able to photograph a broad-headed skink, but nothing
other than a prairie ring-necked snake was seen. It was a slow trip, but
we did find the species we were looking for. A total
of 1 snake.
|August 15, 2009
|While visiting my
granparentís, I managed to spare a few minutes to herp. All that was found
were two prairie ring-necked snakes and an adult common snapping turtle.
A total of 2 snakes.
|August 18, 2009
decided to hit one of my usual spots. After about an hour of searching,
I realized I wasnít going to find anything, so I switched my plans.
I hit one of my tin sites instead. The first several sheets didnít
produce anything, but I finally found a northern ring-necked snake.
Soon after that, another sheet of tin produced an opaque eastern garter snake.
A little more time had lapsed before the next find. A brand new to
this world neonate blue racer was nicely coiled under a small sheet of tin.
It made it known that it didnít like being disturbed. It did its best
black mamba impersonation, but it didnít help me out in the photo taking
department. I let it go without a good picture. I finished the
day with two consecutive eastern garter snakes. A total of 5 snakes.
|August 22, 2009
W. and I saw the predicted weather a few days in advance and we knew just
where we wanted to go. We headed to a spot in Central Missouri for
the day. We arrived there in the morning and my sister Melissa, who
also tagged along, found a neonate eastern yellow-belly racer right off the
bat. After photos, we continued on. My sister soon duplicated
the find from before in similar fashion making it two eastern yellow-bellied
racers in a row. While photographing the second racer, I told Brian
to finish checking a crevice that I started to check. He did and soon
pointed out the copperhead coiled just at the entrance. We figured
it was gravid so we took a couple insitu shots and moved on. We finished
the day with another neonate racer and shed skins from timber rattlesnakes,
osage copperheads, a red milk snake, and a speckled kingsnake. I wish
we would have found those snakes. Oh well, I canít complain too much.
The temperature and overall weather felt great today. Other than my
sister getting attacked by hornets, it was a good day. The totals
are 4 prairie ring-necked snakes, 4 eastern yellow-bellied racers (1 DOA),
and 1 osage copperhead. A total of 9 snakes.
|August 23, 2009
cutting a lawn down the street, I noticed a juvenile eastern garter snake
crawling across the patio. I love grass cutting surprises. Later
in the day my dad and two brothers decided to play a round of disc golf.
My brother tried to make the perfect shot on the hole of death and essentially
lost his disc in the woods. While searching for the disc, I saw a
tiny chunk of concrete and flipped it. To my surprise there was a
juvenile eastern garter snake under it. We didnít find the disc, but
the snake was a good trade off. A total of
|August 29, 2009
dad and I hit one of my tin sites in Illinois today. It was slow here
as we only found two northern ring-necked snakes, so we headed back across
to the Missouri side. Here we walked an area that is kind of like a
sand prairie. Sand and junk get deposited here when the river floods.
I flipped many pieces of wood, styrofoam, and logs to get nothing but angry
wasps. I found so many wasps here that I was extremely nervous to
flip anything else. Wasps can move when they want too! Anyway,
I finally got a nice eastern garter snake under a board. Later, I
saw a northern water snake in the river side lake and flipped two more northern
water snakes under a rock. I did more running from wasps than I wanted
to, but it was still nice to get out. A total
of 6 snakes.
|August 30, 2009
a day that may not have even reached 70 degress, Brian W. and I headed to
a spot in Illinois that I had never really herped much before. Iím glad
we did! The morning started out slow. However, Brian finally
spotted an adult opaque speckled kingsnake in a crevice. We made a
mild attempt at getting it out, but the fact was we could have gotten it
out, but i wasnít willing to hurt the animal to do it. We eventually
moved on. A while had passed without any other luck. He soon
hit a nice rocky clearing and Brian spotted a small brown phased northern
red-bellied snake. It was nice to photograph one of these, especially
since I didnít photograph the first one this year and I lost the pictures
of the second one. Not long after that, Brian flipped a juvenile blue
racer. More pictures were taken and we moved on. We soon hit
an area that looked good for rattlesnakes and copperheads and true to its
appearance, we spotted a nice northern copperhead poking its head out of
a crevise. We moved on with insitu photos. We then came to another
area that looked primed for vipers, especially timbers. In fact Brian
spotted a rock from a distance and he said, ďYou know, that is a timber rookery
rockĒ. We took a few steps and sure enough. There was a massive
timber rattlesnake approaching five feet in length coiled in front of the
rock. We then walked to the other side of
the rock and looked in the crevice to find a second much smaller, but much
brighter timber coiled way back in there. They were both gravid, so
we didnít disturb them. We continued on. I should mention that
some of the areas we searched were on top of a large bluff. I have
had success at the edges of bluffs, so Brian and I searched along the top.
Brian stepped onto a rock to peer into a crevice and when he turned around
the rock gave on him. I thought for a split second that he was a goner.
Very fortunately for him, God was smiling down on him. The thing that
saved him was a very small ledge that he was able to get a foot hold on.
He was able to grab the edge of the bluff and he pulled himself up.
I also made sure I had him in case he slipped again. It is amazing
that one tiny ledge four feet below saved him from 150 foot freefall to his
death. Brian, you are one lucky SOB. Anyway, after that huge
scare, we vowed to be careful and the flood gate opened up in the way of
jokes. We continued on. We saw a couple more racers and started
heading back to the car. We were no longer looking for herps at this
point we just wanted to get to the car. I saw a rock that wasnít the
greatest looking rock. I joked to Brian saying, ďlook a rattlesnake
rookeryĒ. Brian then replied, your right.Ē I thought he was joking,
but true enough there were 2 timbers coiled at the edge of the rock.
i couldnít believe it. Again, we left them alone and continued on.
We decided to use the last couple of hours to head over to a spot in Missouri.
We found a few ring-necked snakes in route to our destination. We finally
got to our goal area, which was a nice rocky wooded hillside. it wasnít
long before I spotted a nice gravid timber rattlesnake in a wide open crevice.
The snake was asleep so we got great shots of it tightly coiled in the crevice.
The snake likely never knew we were there. We soon continued on to
a spot I saw numerous juvenile timber rattlesnake shed skins. Brian
peeked under the rock and spotted not one, not two, but a hat trick of osage
copperheads. We had gotten a timber from each state and a copperhead
from each state in the same day. It was a fantastic day. We finished
the day with several more ring-necked snakes. The totals for the spectacular
day are 14 prairie ring-necked snakes, 5 timber Rattlesnakes, 3 blue racers,
3 osage copperheads, 1 northern copperhead, 1 northern red-bellied snake,
and a speckled kingsnake. A total of 28 snakes.
|September 06, 2009
W. and I are once again ready to head out. We again decided to go
to a place in Eastern Missouri that I had never really herped before and
Brian had only a little experience there. We started out finding a
ring-necked snake here and there. After an hour and a half we arrived
at some place that looked very promising. We were finding many ring-necked
snakes and we know what that means. It means that there is likely
a milk snake around using those smaller snakes as dinner. That was
indeed the case. Brian flipped up a large opaque, but very attractive red milk snake. We took our pictures
and let the snake go under his rock. We continued on and flipped more
ring-necked snakes and an eastern garter snake. While walking back
to the car to go to the next spot, we walked up a nice adult copperhead
in the forest. It was attractive enough that it was worth a few pictures,
so we spent some time doing that. We then follewed the forested hillside
to a rocky area and Brian flipped up our second milk snake of the day.
It was an odd looking milk snake because the sides of the red saddles were
faded much like what you see in long-nosed snakes. It was also a bright
animal. We took pictures and continued on. We made it back to
the car and headed over to a different area. This is when today really
gets nuts. We stopped at a small glade and found a few ring-necked
snakes and a racer pretty quickly. Then Brian and I came to a crevice.
We scanned the edge and saw nothing. Brian took a flash light, got
down on his hands and knees, and was looking into the crevice. That
is when I realized that I needed to get Brian up as quickly as possible.
I got him up and pointed to the adult copperhead that was six inches from
his hand. We couldnít tell if it was gravid, post gravid, or just
out doing normal activities. I scanned a little harder and answered
the question. Laying not far from the adult was 5 neonates.
We got some insitu shots and continued on. We were more than pleased
with that find. We saw a few more ring-necked snakes and another racer.
We then saw another prime looking crevice and it also had a copperhead.
This snake was still gravid. I took a picture of the snake poking its
head out of the crevice and continued on. While Brian was checking
yet another crevice, I flipped up a ringed salamander. I was hoping
to see one of these today and we did. As I was releasing the salamander,
Brian shouted like something had startled him. I walked over to see
why. There was another adult copperhead coiled in the grass.
He did the same thing that he did earlier. BRIAN MAKE SURE THAT THERE
ARE NO VENOMOUS SNAKES BEFORE YOU GET ON THE GROUND! It didnít take long to see the 4 neonates that were with the female.
I jumped up on the rock that produced the crevice and I had been taking insitu
shots of the adult and the neonates, when Brian pointed to the adult copperhead
that was stretched out a foot behind me. This wasnít a good day for
keeping our distance as far as safety goes. Anyway, she looked like
she had dropped a load recently. We decided to flip some of the nearby
rocks in hopes of another milk snake, when we flipped the snakeís young
under a very small rock. There were five neonates under the rock.
Luckily, we were able to prop the rock up so we could get some pictures.
We carefully set the rock back down when we were done and moved on.
While walking back to the car, I spotted a black coil sticking out from under
a rock. I was pretty sure I knew what it was, but there is only one
way to find out. I flipped the rock and pulled out a nice adult speckled
kingsnake. We quickly took pictures and let the snake go back under
its rock. We then moved on to another very rocky area. We found
more ring-necked snakes and another racer, but that was it for that spot.
It was almost dark at this point so we herped the last half hour of light
on a rocky wooded hillside. I flipped a small rock and there were six
adult ring-necked snakes under it. This got our milk snake senses tingling.
Well, within minutes, Brian flipped up a juvenile black rat snake, or so
I thought. I walked over to him and realized it was a very odd red
milk snake. It had very little red. The head was pink with the
first couple of blotches being dark red brown, but the rest of the blotches
got darker and darker untill the blotches were black near the tail.
We took pictures and I talked to a few people about this weird color morph.
We think it was likely a genetic defect, but we donít know what it was.
People suggested that it was anerythric and others suggested that it was
hypoerythric. Either way, it was a cool snake. Many people would
have collected it, but we didnít. It lived a successful life to adulthood.
I didnít think it was fair to take ihis freedom away. Plus, I would
love to see it again in the future. That snake ended an unbelievable
outing. The totals are 45 prairie ring-necked snakes, 20 osage copperheads,
3 eastern yellow-bellied racers, 3 red milk snakes, 1 speckled kingsnake,
1 eastern garter snake, and a DOR rough green snake. A total of 74 snakes.
|September 11, 2009
cutting a lawn down the street, I found an adult eastern garter snake crawling
near the edge of the patio. This is the third straight week I have
seen a snake in this yard. It is nice to work and still have your hobby
come into play. I took some pictures while the snake chewed up my finger.
A total of 1 snake.
|September 12, 2009
dad, sister and I decided to spend some time doing some herping. We
went to one of my spots in Eastern Missouri. Today was mostly uneventful,
but I did find a juvenile eastern garter snake in a pile of shingles and
I spotted a diamond-backed water snake basking in a lake next to the road.
Also seen today were a DOR diamond-backed water snake and a DOR black rat
snake. A total of 4 snakes.
|September 19, 2009
W. and I decided to go herping in Southeastern Missouri today in hopes of
finding a mud snake or two. Upon arrival we quickly road cruised a western
cottonmouth, but unfortunately it had been hit and it wasnít looking so good.
Iím not sure if it was a fatal injury or not, but hopefully the snake will
make it. We drove around and found a small creek with many rocks along
the edge of the water. We decided to see if we could find anything.
We searched the area and found 3 midland water snakes. I was glad we
found some because I needed a good picture of one. We then decided
to move on to another area. While driving out the way we came in, we
saw a snake right where the cottonmouth was crossing. We thought for
sure the cottonmouth had crawled back onto the road. To our surprise
though, it was a very nice looking southern copperhead. We were thrilled
to see it. We took our pictures and safely removed it from the road.
We then headed into the bottomland forest to look for a mud snake.
We didnít find any mud snakes, but we did find some western cottonmouths
and a few broad-banded water snakes. Over the course of the day, we
found 2 spotted salamanders. 2 marbled salamanders, and a small-mouthed salamander.
Though we didnít see a mud snake, we still had fun. The totals are
20 western cottonmouths, 3 broad-banded water snakes, 3 midland water snakes,
1 DOR yellow-bellied water snake, 1 DOR rough green snake, and 1 southern
copperhead. A total of 29 snakes.
|September 20, 2009
a school project, I need to herp several glades for snakes, so today was a
good day to herp a small local glade here in Eastern Missouri. My sister
Melissa and I spent a few hours searching and were rewarded with a few different
species. The totals are 19 prairie ring-necked snakes, 2 western worm
snakes, 2 eastern garter snakes, and 1 eastern yellow-bellied racer.
A total of 24 snakes.
|September 21, 2009
in a conservation area in with my ecology lab class, I spotted a snake zipping
through the grass. I was able to get a hand on it and realized I was
holding a rough green snake. I hate school, but if snakes make an appearance
during classes, I may like it a little more. A total of 1 snake.
|September 25, 2009
|I decided to sample another small glade in Central Missouri for my Ecology project. I only had a few hours, so I had to cover a lot of ground in a short time. My sister Melissa and I quickly discovered a juvenile eastern yellow-bellied racer stretched out on the glade. This was shortly followed by a very nice sub adult speckled kingsnake that we flipped under a rock. A few more minutes had passed when I flipped a bright, banana yellow juvenile speckled kingsnake. It was a very beautiful snake. Unfortunately it was time to leave. I did see a DOR eastern yellow-bellied racer on the way home. A total of 4 snakes.|
|September 26, 2009
|Today, my dad and I wanted to herp a new location, so we packed up our gear and headed down to an area in Kentucky and Tennessee. Along the way we saw a couple of DOR northern copperheads. One of our first stops was along the edge of a large lake. Here I promptly flipped up a small, but very nice midland water snake. After getting pictures, we moved onto another location. This was also along the shore of a large lake. Here we flipped three more very nice midland water snakes. We soon moved on again to a wooded area surrounding a lake. I was looking for queen snakes when I saw a DOR rough green snake and shortly after a nice southern black racer. It was a very slow day, but while walking a trail at yet another location, I saw a snake slowly making its away across the trail. It was a live northern copperhead and a large one at that. I made sure I took good photos. It was a fun day, I just wish we would have seen more. It was time to leave. The totals were 4 midland water snakes, 4 northern copperheads (3 DOR), 1 southern black racer, and 1 rough green snake. A total of 10 snakes.|
|September 27, 2009
|Because Kentucky and Tennesse didnít pan out, we dicided to spend a few hours at LaRue on the way back home. LaRue started out slow, but finally a few things started to show themselves. A few cottonmouths made an appearance follwed by a couple of western ribbon snakes. They were few and far between though. However, as we neared one of the swamps, I saw a rough green snake making its way across the road. After a quick picture we moved on. Not long after, I saw a dark snake quickly making its way across the road ahead of me. It was a Mississippi green water snake and a nice example at that. I was happy to get a chance to see another one. Unfortunately after photographing the snake, we had to leave. We decided to take the scenic route home. While looking at the unbelievable storm damage while driving, we noticed a group of vans pulled over on the side of the road. As we passed them I saw why. It was a herpetology class and they had found a timber rattlesnake crossing the road. This was a fitting way to end the day. The totals were 4 western cottonmouths, 2 western ribbon snakes, 1 rough green snake, 1 mississippi green water snake, 1 timber rattlesnake. A total of 9 snakes.|
|October 03, 2009
|Brian W. and I were planning our usual trip to one of our favorite spots in Southern Illinois. We arrived there in the late morning and immediately got to work. It didnít take long to start finding stuff. Within the first few hours we found several marbled salamanders, small-mouth salamander, several central newts, a green treefrog, a gray treefrog and a bird-voiced treefrog. However, we hadnít seen any snakes yet, so we headed over to our snake spot. When we got there, it did not take long to find the first of several cottonmouths on the day. Most were juveniles flipped under rocks, but a few were adults. We also got a smooth earth snake and a ring-necked snake. We also spotted a large copper-bellied water snake before it spooked and was lost in the vegetation. We finally got to the end of the line and there were lots of railroad ties that needed flipping. Under one of the railroad ties I flipped a juvenile black kingsnake that had obviosly eaten another snake, probably the eastern ribbon snake that I have been looking for so long. Photos were taken and then it was released. The next tie over had a juvenile garter snake under it. We soon doubled back and walked furthur down the other side. Here we promptly flipped a couple of diamond-backed water snakes under cover. This was the first time I have seen this species here. We finally decided to kill the last two hours of the day at a different location, one Brian nor I have ever explored. Here we found a western cottonmouth on a dry rocky hillside. This was odd we thought, but we had seen this before. We suspected it was a gravid female. Soon after that, we flipped a stunning red milk snake under a rock. Unfortunately it was now dark and the pictures just did not turn out right. We had to call it a day. The total were 21 western cottonmouths, 2 diamond-backed water snakes, 1 copper-bellied water snake, 1 northern ring-necked snake, 1 western smooth earth snake, 1 eastern garter snake, 1 black kingsnake, and 1 red milk snake. It was a fantastic day. A total of 29 snakes.|
|October 04, 2009
W. had high hopes of a good day today. We went to a spot in southwestern
Illinois were we only herp once in a blue moon. However, the storm damage
here was absolutely incredible. It took us over an hour to walk to
our destination which should have taken less than 30 minutes to walk to.
At our location, the damage was just as bad. We had to walk around fallen
trees every few steps and to make it worse we were not finding any snakes.
After only finding the largest green treefrog we had ever seen, we decided
to make the miserable walk back up to the car. We headed home early.
We did stop off at a small hillside in eastern Missouri before going home.
Here we found a prairie ring-necked snake and a western worm snake.
It was an extremely dissapointing day. A total
of 2 snakes.
|October 08, 2009
raining cats and dogs and at this time of the year, a certain species of salamander
calls this breeding time. My mom actually wanted to get out and see
some, so we headed out to my spot in eastern Missouri. We first roadcruised
to see if anything was crossing the roads. After driving for a while,
I concluded that answer was "no", however, the sticks in the road were making
it confusing. I finally decided to stop for a weird looking stick.
It was a spotted salamanders. We shortly roadcruised another spotted
salamander. I think many of the so called sticks were salamanders.
I am kicking myself now. Oh well, I wanted to see some ringed salamanders
so we continued on to some specific breeding pools. After searching
the water filled pools for quite some time, I caught a glimps of one swim
into the deeper part of the pool. I saw a couple more evade my hands
during the night as well. However, toward the end of the outing, I
was able to flip a nice adult. I was able to get a picture after all.
It was a fun night. A total of 0 snakes.
|October 10, 2009
|Melissa T. and I wanted to get out today for some herping, so we got out into the field early. The first place we headed had potential for tiger salamanders, but a couple hours of searching revealed nothing. We soon moved on to another area. Here we searched some pools where I had seen ringed salamanders the week before. We were not dissapointed. We saw many different ringed salamanders within several of the pools and I got great pictures. After, the success here, we headed over to another area. Here we found a handful of southern red-backed salamanders. However, no abystomids were found here. We moved on to our final spot of the day. It was a rocky hillside where I had success finding snakes in the past. We quickly started finding ring-necked snakes. The ring-necked snake streak was broken, when I flipped a nice adult speckled kingsnake under a large rock. We finished the day off with a couple worm snakes and flat-headed snakes. The totals for the day were 34 prairie ring-necked snakes, 2 western worm snakes, 2 flat-headed snakes, and 1 speckled kingsnake. A total of 39 snakes.|
|October 11, 2009
|After having some success yesterday, Brian W. and I made plans to herp in western Illinois today. We found 2 garter snakes and a ring-necked snake at the first location. At the second location we found several smooth earth snakes, northern ring-necked snakes, and worm snakes under rocks, most of which were small. We also flipped a blue racer and a lovely neonate copperhead. After searching the remainder of the area we moved on to a roadcut that looked good, but we hadnít searched before. It didnít take long for Brian to find a red-bellied snake. It was a good day. The totals were 5 western smooth earth snakes, 4 northern ring-necked snakes, 4 midwest worm snakes, 2 eastern garter snakes, 1 northern red-bellied snake, 1 blue racer, and 1 northern copperhead. A total of 18 snakes.|
|October 18, 2009
T. and I needed to collect more data for my ecology class project, so we headed
over to a spot in eastern Missouri. We quickly found a lined snake,
but then we had trouble finding anything else. We finally made it to
a primising hillside, where we started finding rough earth snakes, ring-necked
snakes, and a few more lined snakes. Toward the end of the day, I spotted
a nice light-colored copperhead tucked up under a rock ledge. On the
way back to the car I flipped a rock and felt a pine needle get jabbed under
my finger nail. I took a look but saw nothing under my nail.
Then the intense pain started taking place. I had just been a victim
of a scorpion. It was my first scorpion sting. I was actually
kind of proud of myself. The pain soon died down to a mild throb.
That incident closed out the day. The total were 6 prairie ring-necked
snakes, 5 rough earth snakes, 4 lined snakes, and 1 osage copperhead. A total of 16 snakes.
|October 19, 2009
sister told me she accidentally ran over an eastern garter snake just down
the road from my house, so she showed me the dead snake. Sure enough!
She felt bad about it, but it happens. A total
of 1 snake.
|October 21, 2009
|After class today several people from the forum were visiting the area, so we made plans to go herping together. It was suppose to be Greg, Mike C., Marisa, herping some nice rocky open hillsides. The big goal was to find a milk snake, but we failed at that. Greg was the first one there and he had some luck before I had arrived. I was able to get there around mid afternoon. Greg and I immediatly moved to another hillside where we started having success. We flipped a lined snake or two, found some ring-necked snakes, a smooth earth snake and a worm snake. I also put my hand on another scorpion and somehow didnít get stung. After an hour and a half or so, Mike and Marisa showed up. We continued herping finding the usual suspects. I tried to locate a particular hillside and I just could not find it. We wasted quite a bit of time looking for it. We finally gave up and settled for a another area. Mike promtly flipped up 2 juvenile speckled kingsnakes in short order. We were all happy to see these and we spent some time getting photos. It was getting a little late and Greg had to leave to head back to Indiana. Mike, Marisa, and I continued on. We arrived at our final hillside where Mike again found our third speckled kingsnake of the day. Not long after that find, Mike struck gold again. If I thought he wouldnít have pounded me to a pulp, I would have kissed him. He flipped up a juvenile coachwhip. He broke my curse! I had seen one earlier in the year, but it was in a crevice and it would not allow me to get pictures. Now I was able to photograph one. I was absolutely stoked about this find and was absolutely overjoyed. Unfortunately the coachwhip came at a price. Only minutes after finding the coachwhip, I turned my ankle and went down in pain. I thought I broke my ankle. After several scary moments I realized I was able to walk. I limped as we herped our way back to the car. I thought my ankle would be sore, but it felt fine. It wasnít until I got home that I realized the seriousness of the situation. I took my shoe off and it looked like I was smuggling an orange in my sock. I went to the emergancy room and was diagnosed with a severely sprained ankle. I was out of commision for a week at least. However, I will herp in crutches if I have to. Anyway, the cost for the coachwhip was worth it. I want to thank Mike, Greg, and Marisa for sharing their afternoon with me and helping me achieve my ultimate goal at finding a coachwhip. Thanks guys! The total for the day were 14 prairie ring-necked snakes, 4 western worm snakes, 3 speckled kingsnakes, 2 lined snakes, 1 western smooth earth snake, and 1 eastern coachwhip. A total of 25 snakes.|
|October 23, 2009
|While driving on a road in eastern Missouri, I saw a DOR eastern garter snake. A total of 1 snake.|
|October 28, 2009
While doing some house work, my brother was taking the trash out and told me there was a snake out by the trash can. To my surprise there was an eastern garter snake stretched out along the base of the house. This has been a good year for snakes in the yard. This was the third snake in the yard this year. A total of 1 snake.
|October 31, 2009
was Halloween and what would be scarier than herps. Brian W. and I headed
over to a spot in western Illinois to do some salamandering. This was
an interesting outing because my ankle was not anywhere near healed.
However, I do not like passing up good herping days, so I gave it a try.
The outing started out great as we were finding several small-mouthed salamanders.
We actually found 28 throughout the day. However, the tiger salamander
was still eluding us. We finally decided to go to a nearby location
to look for snakes. That was a bust, but we did see a DOR prairie kingsnake.
It was still a fun day. A total of 1 snake.
|November 01, 2009
Brian W., my dad, and I headed over to one of my spots in eastern Missouri.
We were not sure what to expect, but we knew things would be out. We
started out by finding a few ribbon snakes followed by a couple of northern
water snakes and a racer. Along the way we found a couple more ribbon
snakes. We then made it over to my copperhead den site. Here we
found a few racers, some black rat snakes, some garter snakes and five copperheads.
We even located two new copperhead dens. I never knew they were there.
It ended up being a great day. The totals for the day were 8 western
ribbon snakes, 6 eastern yellow-bellied racers, 5 osage copperheads, 4 eastern
garter snakes, 3 black rat snakes, 3 northern water snakes, 2 prairie ring-necked
snakes, and 1 DOR brown snake. A total of
|November 07, 2009
W. and I decided today was the day to make our annual November trek into southeast
Missouri. We had no idea what we were about to embark on. We
got there and immediatly roadcruised a midland brown snake and a juvenile
black rat snake. We then drove to another area. I quickly flipped
up a juvenile cottonmouth under a rock. We saw a few broad-banded water
snakes and a ring-necked snake as well. After we searched the hillside
we moved onto our target area. Only a few steps were taken before we
saw our first snake at this location. It was a western cottonmouth.
Soon cottonmouths were seen at the turn of your head. It was a rare
situation to turn around 360 degrees and not see a snake. At some points
we could see groups of cottonmouths as many as 13 or 14 individuals at a time.
It was ridiculous! At times it was like a mathematical formula.
It seemed like for every snake seen, there were three times that many hidden
in the leaf litter. By the end of the day we found over 204 cottonmouths.
It by far shattered my previous record of 130 snakes found in one day.
The totals for today were 204 western cottonmouths, 24 broad-banded water
snakes (1 DOR), 1 black rat snake, 1 midland brown snake, and 1 Mississippi
ring-necked snake. For a record total of 231
|November 08, 2009
an overwelming day yesterday, my dad and I went out to one of my spots in
eastern Missouri. We found the usual suspects here. We found a
few racers and garter snakes early on. At the copperhead den, two of
the copperheads from last week were visible in a rock crevise. Another
copperhead was seen and it was a new one for me. The dayís totals were
3 eastern garter snakes, 3 osage copperheads, 2 eastern yellow-bellied racers,
and 2 black rat snakes. A total of 10 snakes.
|November 15, 2009
the 231 snake day last week, my dad wanted to see those kind of numbers, so
we headed down to southeast Missouri to see if we could duplicate those numbers.
The day started out a little slow. Cottonmouth sightings were scattered.
This was likely due to the cold overnight temperatures. Shortly after
midday, the snake sighting began to increase. We started seing snakes
every few steps. We were not even close to stay on pace with my totals
from last week, but we still found groups of 3 and 4 snakes. At the
end of the day, the totals were 61 western cottonmouths and 3 broad-banded
water snakes. A total of 64 snakes.
|November 22, 2009
Brian W., Melissa T., and I wanted to see some four-toed salamanders, so we headed to a spot we knew about in eastern Missouri. The day started out slow as we only found a few southern red-backed salamanders. However, I scored first as I rolled a small log to discover an adult four-toed salamander along with a red-backed salamander. We photograped it and continued on. We soon turned up a western slimy salamander and found another adult four-toed salamander. On the way back to the car, we rolled a nice example of a marbled salamander. We finally made it back to the car, and took a few minutes to get some water in us before we headed down another hillside. Under one of the first logs I rolled, I caught a glimps of a spotted salamander as it dove down a hole. We were bummed, but we soon redeemed ourselves, by rolling another nice adult spotted salamander. Not long after that, I flipped yet another spotted salamander under a rock. We closed out the day finding our third four-toed salamander, our fourth spotted salander and our only central newt. The day went better than expected. A total of 0 snakes.
|November 28, 2009
weather looked good so Brian W., my dad, and I planned a trip to a place in
eastern Missouri we had only herped on a handful of occasions. We searched
rewardless for quite some time. However, as I was bending over to flip
a rock, I spotted a midland brown snake zipping through the leaves.
We photographed the snake and released it. Unfortunately, this was
the only snake seen for several hours. We eventually decided to go
to one of my favorite herping spots in hopes of seeing something that would
make us feel like we didnít waste our day. Upon arrival, we quickly
found a few northern water snakes. At the copperhead den sites, we saw
two new copperheads and one we had seen the last couple of times we visited
this spot. We were able to salvage the day. The totals for the
day were 3 northern water snakes, 3 osage copperheads, and 1 midland brown
snake. A total of 7 snakes.