Trip Details

Start Time: 2:15 pm

Weather: Sunny, high of about 68 degrees.

Location: Linn County, Iowa.

Herper: Al, Austin and Jim Scharosch

To say my dad is not into snakes would be an understatement. He has always been good about tolerating my hobby, even when I was a kid picking up bullsnakes and bringing them home. The only time I remember him having an issue was when I was younger and I brought home a twelve foot long Burmese Python. If I remember right, I think he gave me twenty-four hours to get it out of the house. I know he used to be scared of snakes in general, but I think that has let up some now. Still, he's not planning a trip to "The Snake Road" anytime soon.

I was stuck at work and dying to get out. It had been cold here the last few weeks, with record lows being set almost every night. It was the first warm day in a while and I was stuck at work without a vehicle, as my wife and I had carpooled and she wasn't leaving early. My son had gotten out of school early due to an inservice and I hatched a plot to get my dad to go pick him up in Center Point, then come pick me up at work and the three of us would go walk an area in Linn County that Matt has found a few bullsnakes at already this year. My dad loves spending time with my son, so it didn't take a lot of convincing.

We got to the area about 2:15 pm and started turning stuff. We started off at the area where we had had the best luck in the past, but saw nothing. At about 2:30 pm Austin saw a garter snake, which got away before we could lay a hand on it. I looked over and my dad was flipping stuff! I was fairly amazed!

We decided to work our way back towards the vehicle. At about 2:45 pm I reached down to flip something and casually glanced over at what Austin was flipping. I noticed a small snake under the object he had flipped. I yelled, "Get him, get him, get him!" and Austin snagged it. Austin called "Bullsnake, no Fox Snake, no Bullsnake", in that order.

It was a Bullsnake (Pituophis c. sayi), a last years baby, and it never put on the coiling up and hissing act that the adults usually do. It had been a while since I had seen one in Iowa, so it was a nice find. It was also the only thing we saw the rest of the day.

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