Trip Details

Start Time: 4:30 p.m.

Weather: Sunny. Around 77 degrees. Medium wind.

Location: Linn County, Iowa

Herpers: Matt Ricklefs

Account and Photos by: Matt Ricklefs

Thought of the Day: I haven't found one of those here in a long time.

The day previous I had taken my niece, who is back from ISU for Mother's day, out herping. We had not found anything where we went and on the way back I decided to check a spot that was good but had been developed. We drove down a residential road that is still surrounded in part by sand prairie (what hasn't been developed). I saw a DOR. I told her that I could show her a dead Bullsnake and I wanted to check it out anyway. Something in my head said it didn't look right. As I got out of the car and got a little nearer and noticed to my GREAT disappointment that it was in fact a recently squished Eastern Hognose snake. OUCH!!! It killed me. That stuck with me for a while. I estimate it had been hit earlier that day. In talking to Jim about it I described it and he asked if I had gotten pictures and I said I had not. Sooooo, I decided to.

On Monday I went back and it was still there albeit with no head and no guts. Ah the efficiency of nature. I did get some pics and regretfully I have posted one. The color had faded and originally it had quite a bit more orange on it. It was a beautiful snake. I decided (after reviewing some topo maps) to re-investigate an old stomping ground. "Back in the day" before houses were here Bullsnakes and Racers were common and found often. Although I had never found any, I know Hognose were also more prevalent. I parked and walked to an old piece of tin. The area had gotten thornier, but it was still there. Nothing however. It is a bit grown over, but I would check it again. I walked a field to an area that had some cover. This actually got better and there was more to turn and it was a nice open area, with cover nearby. I had found Bullsnake sunning here in the past, but not for some time. The developments were farther away and this area had grown back over and actually looked pretty good. I had known about this cover for a year or two, but had not found anything. I felt eventually it would pay off. As luck would have it, it did. I found a Milk Snake (Lampropeltis triangulum).

It was about fifteen inches. I had not found a Milk Snake in this area for almost 16 years. A welcome find to be sure and encouraging. We'll see what time brings. I walked around a few other areas and although I did not find anything there were a few nice places and pieces of debris in good areas. I'll keep checking it out. I even found an old foundation of a house that we used to have to walk a long way in to. It is now right by a road that will soon be developed. It is odd. Some of the areas may make it, but most of this is still going to be houses. What do you do?

Until next time...Happy Herpin'

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