Trip Details

Location: Linn, Miami and Franklin Counties, Kansas

Conditions: Sunny and warm. High of about 84 degrees.

Time: 9:00 am to 1:00 pm

Herpers: Jim, Laura & Austin Scharosch

On Sunday morning we took a vote and decided to take another shot at the eastern part of Kansas on our way home. We stopped off at the area where we had found the Timber Rattlesnakes the day before on our way east, and checked an exposed, rocky hillside that we had not checked the day before. It was obvious that the area had been herped a lot this season; you could see that the rocks had been turned a few times. As we were walking to the hillside, we came upon a small pool area in the creek that ran thru the draw. In that pool, I saw something swimming around, kind of thrashing about. I said, “Look, a catfish...no, that’s a snake!” I took my tongs and snagged it out, and it was a Plainbellied Watersnake (Nerodia erythrogaster).

It was a good three feet long and was very cranky. After getting bitten by about three of these guys on our Illinois trip a month ago, I decided to neck this one and avoid the bleeding. It was a very nice looking water snake for its size. It was as big as the biggest Plainbellies we found in Illinois, but had a very visible pattern of blotches on it’s back, unlike the Illinois ones, which were very dark, with no pattern visible at all. The Illinois ones are very copper/orange colored on the belly, while the one we found in Kansas had a very yellow belly. We got some pics, managed not to get bitten, and let him slide back into the water. We checked the rest of the south-facing hillside, but saw nothing but a few skinks. On the road while we were cruising east, we found a fourteen inch long Snapping Turtle (Chelydra serpentina) on the shoulder of the highway.

Austin hadn't seen one before so we stopped and moved it back into the ditch.

We cruised the roads in eastern Kansas again, looking for junk to flip. We saw quite a few Ornate Box Turtles (Terrapene ornata)

and Eastern Box Turtles (Terrapene carolina) crossing the roads.

Apart from this, we didn’t have much luck and didn’t manage to find anything. It was one of those decisions you wish you could take back, it would have been nice to be home earlier, but what are you going to do? We headed back to Iowa tired but pretty happy with our trip.

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