Trip Details

Location: Ellis, Russell, Wabaunsee counties, Kansas

Conditions: High of 75, sunny, little or no wind

Time: 10:00 am - 6 pm

Herpers: Chad Whitney, Laura, Austin and Jim Scharosch, a friend of Chad.

We weren't meeting Chad until 9:30 am this morning, so Austin and I decided to go back to the first tin site we had visited the day before, the one where Chad had turned up the prairie rattlesnake. It was cold when we got there, about forty-five degrees. We turned some tin, and flipped the same big coachwhip from under the same big building piece that Chad had found it under yesterday. Not far from that, I turned another chunk of that building and found another Prairie Rattlesnake (Crotalus viridis).

At first I thought it might be the same one, but it was quite a bit smaller than the one from the day before. It was cool enough that this one wasn't about to repeat the crazy attack mode that the one from yesterday displayed. It laid in its coil and never even tongue flicked as I took my photos. That was all we found there, and we shot back to Hays for breakfast.

We met up with Chad and a friend of his at about 9:30 am and after they got breakfast, we headed out. As we drove along the gravel road, Chad's friend spotted a big Bullsnake (Pituophis c. sayi) sitting on the shoulder of the road.

It didn't want to pose for pics, so I didn't spend much time with it.

Soon we moved on to a small rocky area along the road. Chad and his friend managed to find four adult Central Plains Milk Snakes (Lampropeltis t. gentilis) from this tiny area.

This one was shedding, but the black bands were so wide it almost had almost no red.

This last one had two really cool abberant half blotches.

We stopped near an old prairie homestead and caught a horned lizard, glass lizard and prairie racerunner. I didn't take any pictures.

We stopped at a small draw in a grassy field and walked back to a pond area. Austin caught his first ever Slender Glass Lizard (Ophisaurus attenuatus).

They are a challenge to catch anywhere you find them, but in the deep grass they are especially difficult. We caught two prairie racerunners also, but didn't stop to take any photos. Chad's friend caught a three foot long coachwhip, but I didn't take any pictures of that either.

It was now about 12:30 pm and about the temperature was about seventy degrees. We next spotted a four foot bullsnake on the road.

I didn't work very had at getting photos, and the snake went into it's hissing act pretty quickly.

We made a few more stops that afternoon, but didn't turn up a whole lot. Chad found a lined snake, but I didn't get any pictures. We also saw numerous collared lizards and ringnecks. In one spot, Chad and I both found juvenile great plains rat snakes. I stuck mine in my pocket so I could flip a few more rocks before taking pictures. Chad asked me if I wanted to take photos of his and I said no because I had one. Of course, mine got away before I could take any pics. No big deal though as we had already found some and there were more to come. After that, we said goodbye to Chad's friend and we headed east to get to where we were staying. We followed Chad down the interstate and when we got to Wabaunsee county, we said our goodbyes to Chad and he continued on to his parents house in Kansas City.

It was 6:00 pm and at sixty degrees it was cooling off quite a bit from the afternoon heat. We decided to quickly stop off at a few spots we knew of here in Wabaunsee county before heading off to our hotel in Franklin county. Our first stop at a tin spot didn't pay off. We went to an area where we always find copperheads and started checking some rocks. The second rock I turned had a badly decomposed milk snake under it. I wonder if some herper might have accidently dropped the rock on it at some point. It was pretty strange. Later, we turned a huge rock and found three Copperheads (Agkistrodon contortrix).

One got away into a hole in the hillside, but we managed to wrangle the other two out onto the road for some photos.

On the way to the truck we turned a few more rocks and found a fourth copperhead.

We stopped at a couple other spots, but that was all we found for the day. It was getting cool very quickly and we were all ready for a shower and some food, and maybe a margarita.

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