Trip Details

Start Time: 4:00 pm

Weather: Sunny, high of about 70 degrees.

Location: Linn County, Iowa.

Herper: Austin and Jim Scharosch

Austin and I had a few minutes so we decided to go check out a large field near our house. It was a spot where I had found a large DOR bullsnake last summer. I had wanted to visit the area for a long time, but had never been able to figure out who owned the land. I talked to someone who goes to our church who lives across from the field and she wasn't able to find out who owned it, but said that people were out in the field all the time and nobody would care so we decided to give it a shot.

It was a pretty nice area, and we could tell why I had seen that bullsnake once we got out and started walking. The habitat hadn't been plowed in all the years I have lived in the area and there was a large number of rodent burrows. Parts of the land still had prairie grass growing and the soil was fairly sandy. There was no artifical cover, like boards or tin, so we walked a few laps around the field. We approached a sandy rise and I saw a bullsnake, but it didn't look right. It took a second to realize it was dead. It was large, I held it up and it was taller than I was, so I would put it at a little over six feet long. There were no obvious injuries and the snake looked to be in perfect shape. I have no idea what could have killed it, unless someone happed on it and hit it with a stick or something, but then you would think it would have shown signs of damage. Very strange.

We were pretty bummed out about this discovery and started walking back to the car. I decided we should go turn a few rocks in the ditch, in an area we have checked a couple times but had never found anything. Austin said, "We won't find anything" and wanted to go. I made him come over anyway, and got to give him the business when we found a young Fox Snake (Elaphe vulpina).

It was about twenty-four inches long and fairly typically colored. It was nice to find a fox snake, since it was our first of the year, and last year we only found a single juvenile. Also two of my best fox snake spots have been wiped out between last spring and now. We didn't see anything else, but I am going to work on getting some cover boards into that field and maybe turn up more bullsnakes.

Maybe this is the spot that breaks my Hognose jinx?

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