Trip Details

Herp Trip: Saturday, June 2 2001

Herpers: Jeff LeClere, Kati Marier, Joe Monahan, Jim Scharosch, Laura Scharosch, Austin Scharosch

Location: Johnson County, Linn County

Time: 10:30 am - 4:00 pm

Temp/Conditions: 50 degrees, windy, cloudy in the morning. 60 degrees, windy, partly sunny in the afternoon.

We went to a sand prairie area in Johnson County. The weather was acting like it was not going to cooperate, and we pondered not going at all. When we got to the area it was chilly, but we saw a painted turtle (Chrysemys picta) basking on a log so we were a little encouraged.

After we walked in a ways we started to find Ornate Box Turtles (Terrapene ornata). This area had been burned off this spring and it made it fairly easy to locate them. I don't get out often in sand prairie habitats and have not seen very many box turtles in Iowa so this was a welcome find.

This is a picture of Austin with the first herp he has found on his own in his short herping career. It was the first male we found that day, and he was pretty proud of his find.

We found a Bullsnake (Pituophis catenifer sayi ) trying to bask near some mammal burrows. It was still rather cold, but the sun was beginning to appear on occasion. The bullsnake was a gravid female and was preparing to shed. We were guessing it was her pre-laying shed. Even considering she was preparing to shed, she had a very dark background color compared to most of the bullsnakes I have found. When released, she disappeared quickly into one of the mammal burrows.

On our way home we stopped at another site in Johnson County and located two plains garter snakes (Thamnophis radix). At this point, the sun had come out a little more and these snakes were active.

When we reached Linn County on our way home, we stopped at a site I had wanted to check for a while. It was unproductive. We made one more stop on our way back and located a gravid female Fox snake (Elaphe vulpina) under a board.

We also found two more plains garter snakes at this site.

As bad as the weather started out, I am glad we went out. It is always fun to go herping with friends, and it had been a long time since I had been out with Jeff. I had never been herping with Kati, and I got to meet Joe. Too bad Matt missed this one.

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