Trip Details

Herpers: Jim Scharosch & Matt Ricklefs

Saturday 4/28 about 1:30 pm - 3:00 pm.

Temp: about 75 degrees average. Low to mild wind/clouds on and off, but mostly sunny.

Location: Jackson County, Iowa.

Species to report

Under tin/metal by house foundation

Two Eastern Garters (Thamnophis sirtalis)

Four Prairie Ringnecks (Diadophis punctatus)

Numerous Five-Lined Skinks (Eumeces fasciatus) below and on top of bluff.

On top of bluff:

Two large Black Rat Snakes (Elaphe obsoleta) in the four to five foot long range were sunning on a ledge. The larger one had very high yellow coloration. At first glance, if you saw it slithering away and got a quick look you would think it was a Bullsnake. These cooperated in picture taking quite nicely!! They were quite settled in on their ledge.

This video is of the bigger Black Rat when he decides he is ready to move.

Further down on main bluff we found a four foot long Timber (Crotalus horridus), under a rock propped up with large opening. It was alert when we saw it, but not rattling. It may have heard me come down the slope and became alert, although they often tend to "freeze down", or may have been in ambush mode as its head was up and ready. We took several pictures before it decided we got too close and hissed, rattled and rolled out of there. Needless to say it spooked us a little when it pulled that move. Ahhh, never assume you know what they will do. They will teach you something new every time!! Normally they are fairly quiet and are slow to rattle. I've been going to this area since about 1986 and this was the most agitated I've seen one without actually being touched. He backed around and went down a small opening about two feet from the rock he was resting under - rattling the whole way down.

Toward the end of the bluff we found a very small Milk Snake (Lampropeltis t. triangulum).

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