2009 Snake Summary Page

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

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September
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November
December

 
 Date / Conditions
Summary
January 25, 2009

 Cloudy, Snow Flurries
30°

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

 Mostly Cloudy
70°

It 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

Cloudy
55°

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

Cloudy
40°

After 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 outing. A total of 0 snakes.
February 28, 2009

Cloudy
55°

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

 Mostly Cloudy,
80°

It 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

Cloudy,
80°

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

Partly Cloudy,
60°

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

 Mostly Cloudy,
65°

My 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

 Sunny,
65°

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

 Sunny,
75°

It 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 about. A total of 0 snakes.
April 03, 2009

 Sunny,
60°

Brian 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

 Sunny,
70°

The 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

 Rain, Thunderstorms,
70°

After 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

 Sunny,
60°

Brain 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

Cloudy
55°

The 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

Partly Cloudy
75°
Well, 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

 Cloudy,
70°

After 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

 Rain,
65°

I 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

 Cloudy
75°

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

 Rain, Thunderstorms
75°

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

 Mostly Cloudy
70°

Brian 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

 Rain
60°

After 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

 Sunny,
65°

A 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

 Mostly Cloudy,
70°

My 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

 Rain, Thunderstorms
75°

My 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

 Mostly Cloudy,
90°

It 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. A total of 1 snake.
May 16, 2009

 Sunny
85°

Spring 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
70°

Brian 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

 Partly Cloudy,
85°

While 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

 Partly Cloudy
90°

At work, there was a DOR black rat snake on the road. A total of 1 snake.
May 31, 2009

Sunny
90°

While 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

Sunny
85°

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

Partly Cloudy
85°

An eastern garter snake was observed at work while doing trail work.  A total of 1 snake.
June 05, 2009

Sunny
80°

Work 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

Partly Cloudy
85°

I 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

Cloudy
75°

While 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

Mostly Cloudy
90°

At 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

Cloudy
90°

While 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

Partly Cloudy
85°

While 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

Mostly Cloudy
85°

Brian 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

Partly Cloudy
95°

After 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

Partly Cloudy
90°

While going for a drive in Eastern Missouri, I spotted a DOR eastern yellow-bellied racer. A total of 1 snake.
June 28, 2009

Sunny
90°

Brian, 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

Partly Cloudy
85°

At work, I road cruised a prairie ring-necked snake and saw a DOR eastern garter snake.  A total of 2 snakes.
July 2, 2009

Cloudy
85°

While 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

Rain
70°

Brian 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

Partly Cloudy
85°

Today, 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

Sunny
85°

This 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

Mostly Cloudy
90°

I 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

Rain, Thunderstorms
80°

Brian 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

Partly Cloudy
85°

While cutting a lawn in my neighborhood, I spotted an eastern garter snake bolting through the grass.  A total of 1 snake.
July 18, 2009

Mostly Cloudy
75°

It 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

Mostly Cloudy
80°

Brian 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

Sunny
85°

At 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

Sunny
90°

My 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

Sunny
90°

Brian 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

Mostly Cloudy
85°

We 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

Partly Cloudy
85°

We 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

Partly Cloudy
95°

Brian 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

Partly Cloudy
90°

We again 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

Partly Cloudy
85°

Brian 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

Sunny
90°

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

Sunny
83°

I 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

Partly Cloudy
77°

Brian 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

Mostly Cloudy
78°

While 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 2 snakes.
August 29, 2009

Partly Cloudy
80°

My 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

Mostly Cloudy
68°

On 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

Mostly Cloudy
77°

Brian 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

Mostly Cloudy
83°

While 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

Partly Cloudy
83°

My 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

Mostly Cloudy
80°

Brian 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

Overcast
70°

For 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

Sunny
85°

While 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

Partly Cloudy
75°

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

Mostly Cloudy
80°

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

Sunny
80°

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

Sunny
70°

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

Partly Cloudy
70°

Brian 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
Rain
Rain
60°
It was 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

Partly Cloudy
60°

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

Partly Cloudy
55°

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

Sunny
60°

Melissa 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

Partly Cloudy
75°

My 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

Partly Cloudy
70°

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

Cloudy
65°

While driving on a road in eastern Missouri, I saw a DOR eastern garter snake.  A total of 1 snake.
October 28, 2009

Mostly Cloudy
60°

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

Sunny
55°

Today 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

Sunny
65°

Today 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 32 snakes.
November 07, 2009

Sunny
75°

Brian 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 snakes.
November 08, 2009

Sunny
80°

After 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

Mostly Cloudy
70°

After 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

Sunny
60°

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

Sunny
75°

The 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.


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