Trip Details

Location: Barber County, Kansas

Conditions: Sunny and warm. High of about 75 degrees.

Time: 3:00 pm to 7:30 pm

Herpers: Jim Scharosch & Matt Ricklefs

We woke up in Barton County and it was cold, cloudy and windy. There was blue sky in the faaaar distance so we decided to wait and see what happened. Nothing changed. We decided our best bet was to go south. So we high tailed it down to Barber County, near the Oklahoma border. It was 3:00 pm and the first time we had had a chanced to herp on this day. This was pretty late and coming this far you hate to waste any time. These are things you just need to deal with. It was much warmer and clear down here and we started herpin’.

We had just turned onto the road to go to places we had been the year before when Jim noticed a large Bullsnake (Pituophis c. sayi) in the driveway of a house right at the turn.

This was the fourth one of the trip. It was a good three and a half feet long. There was something peculiar about this one however. It hissed sparingly, not the usual long blasts, and spread out it head so that it appeared flat and triangular. It also reared up much higher than Bullsnakes usually do. The ones in Iowa and so far as we had seen in Kansas acted as usual, long hisses and rearing more laterally. We pondered if this was a mimic of rattlesnakes as they are in the area. We will have to do some checking around to see if this hypothesis has been formulated by others. If anyone has any input, we would love to hear your observations.

After the usual amount of documentation, we moved on. We tried some new roads and found some favorable areas. Now in saying favorable, it is based purely on speculation until we find something. We continually update our knowledge and build on this. You can never learn too much. Anyway, we drove. We finally found a old building we had access to. There was some junk lying around and we went turning. We did find two Southern Prairie Skinks (Eumeces obtusirostris). We worked on taking some pics. This proved difficult as they were warm. We wrangled them for a while and unfortunately in the process the one I was working with dropped it tail. This does not hurt the skink, but as they need to grow it back it is inconvenient I would think. These both appeared to be female as they were uniformly brown. We decided it was late and after replacing them to where we found them we moved on. We drove the same road and found another junk pile. This looked good as well and we looked around. Under a larger piece of tin I scored with another Southern Prairie Skink, this one appeared to be a male as it had a lighter color over all and had a red-prange chin.

This was cool, and then a second later I noticed a familiar brown blotched pattern of a Prairie King Snake (Lampropeltis c. calligaster).

This one was a juvenile at about ten inches long. It was in pretty good shape and the colors were very bright. This was a good score and even though we got a late start we counted ourselves lucky we found what we did. It was 7:30 pm so we headed back to the hotel. Although we have tried to maintain our documentation day by day, we have occasionally been side tracked. This night it was Spider-Man on HBO. So, at 10:00 pm we got "grab and growl" supper, some Fat Tire Ale and considered it a lounge night.

We looked for an earlier day on Wednesday and after hearing about a place down further south we looked to head to OKLAHOMA!!

Nuff Said’

(Had to coin old Stan as his creation side tracked us).

Happy Herpin’!!!

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