Trip Details

Location: Barton County, Kansas

Conditions: Partly sunny and warm and windy. High of about 80 degrees.

Time: 10:00 am to 2:00 pm

Herpers: Jim Scharosch & Matt Ricklefs

So here we are... again. It was are repeat from last year. Bad weather had chased us south and then we decided we wanted another crack at finding a massasauga. We drove to the area they are found in and drove around. The walked. Then drove. The walked. The drove. Then . . . well you get the idea. This may be taking it a bit far, but it is very tedious. Road hunting is the recommended technique in this area. It is very interesting. You contend with driving in circles, watching for others driving, and deciding when you can re-travel the same roads. We traveled down a road we had found the Bullsnake on earlier in the week. Nothing. We traveled back on the same road and at the end found a snake. It had only been about eight or ten minutes and this was all it took for a nice Prairie King Snake about fifteen inches long to travel across the road.

It was very brightly colored and we had not found one in this area yet. It cooperated nicely and we got some good footage. It was then allowed to go on its way. We drove more and decided as it was about 1:00 pm we would try one last time to capture some footage of a massasauga.

We walked again down the road we found one last year. Then walked back. On the way up I saw, and missed, a racer. On the way back it had moved a bit further, but I was prepared and caught it this time. It was a Yellow-Bellied Racer (Coluber c. flaviventris).

This is another species we had not documented in this area. It was very green colored on the top with the usual bright yellow on the bottom. It was very pretty. I know, pretty is a fooffy word, but you can only describe things so many ways and it was pretty cool . . . The green was brighter than we had seen in east central Kansas. In the area of Iowa we live in, we have Blue Racers. These may be considered intergrades where we are as the ranges overlap, but they appear to be very much "foxii". They are bright blue on top and snow white on the bottom. You can check out a picture of one we found in the 2001 log. Anyway, back to Barton County. The racer tried to escape then went into hiding mode and covered it head. This is usual from what we have seen of many racer species. It stood still long enough for us to get some very good pictures. I picked it back up and it must have decided we were less of a threat and was braver as it bit me a couple times and then Jim a couple of times also. They were good solid bites, but never broke the skin. We decided this poor sap had had enough so we let it go on it’s way. I followed it for a while with the camcorder for a while to see where it would go. It went to the weeds then decided to be defensive toward me. Then it went a little further and found a hole and down it went. Then we went. Went back to Kansas City and Jill’s house. We had conceded defeat with he massasauga. It was a bitter pill to swallow, but decided we had done OK, and would have other chances. So off we went.

We traveled back to KC and were lucky enough to miss much of the severe weather that had been in the area this day and before. There were many tornadoes that had been through the area and luckily we had missed them.

We have one day left and looked to make the best of it.

We will see what Friday brings....

Happy herpin’!

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