Trip Details

Location: Bremer County, Iowa

Conditions: High temp 75 degrees, calm winds early, windy in the afternoon, sunny early, clouds late

Time: 9:00 am - 1:30 pm

Herpers: Austin Scharosch, Jim Scharosch

Account written by: Jim Scharosch

Austin and I went out today to a spot in Bremer county on the hope of finding a Massasauga. Sauga's are early spring critters, and you have to find them before the grass starts growing in to deep. I knew this would be our last chance to get up here early this spring with my out of state trips coming up the next few weeks. To kill the suspense, no, we didn't find any saugas, but we still had a decent trip. I have to keep my account brief, I have a lot of stuff to get done before the marathon Kansas and Kentucky trips this year.

Our sauga hunt started about 9:30 with us walking the burned off edge of the area we were in. We spent about an hour and a half here without seeing anything, then decided to drive to a different spot. We got there, got out of the car, walked about a hundred feet and spotted a three foot long Fox Snake (Elaphe vulpina) on the crawl.

It was laying out straight in the short grass, and was fairly easy to spot.

After pictures and releasing the fox snake, Austin spotted this small Painted Turtle (Chrysemys picta).

Austin commented on its long claws, which you can see in the picture.

Right in the same area I snagged a two foot long Eastern Garter Snake (Thamnophis sirtalis).

It was in no mood to pose for pictures, thus the "in hand" shot. We found two more garter snakes throughout the afternoon. All three garters were seen on the crawl.

Not far down the trail, I saw the body of a large fox snake sticking out near a rock pile. It was a really fat fox snake, and was very dirty like it had just come up from hibernating.

It was probably the biggest fox snake I have seen in a few years.

We didn't see anything else in this area, and the wind was starting to pick up, and clouds were rolling in. The temperature was dropping and we knew we were done seeing snakes on the crawl.

We went to a different nearby area where I had seen skinks in the past, and we were able to flip three of them under rocks. I only managed to catch two of them. This is the first, a Northern Prairie Skink (Eumeces septentrionalis).

That finished off the trip, no Massassaugas, but not a bad day at all.

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