Trip Details

Location: Obion and Lake Counties, Tennessee

Conditions: Sunny, high in the lower 80's

Time: 10:00 am thru 1 am

Herpers: Jeff LeClere, Mike Pingleton, Jim Scharosch

Account by: Jim Scharosch

After a massive camp breakfast we headed out for our first Tennessee herping day. We started off in Obion county, working a hillside near a small pond. A racer jetted up the hill, I had no shot at grabbing it. The rest of the hillside turned up nothing but ground skinks.

We drove down a long road with swampy ditches on either side. There were tons of turtles in the ditches, and the occasional snake would be seen basking. We saw a couple of good sized Diamondback Water Snakes (Nerodia rhombifer) and went back to make an attempt at catching them.

This shot was taken from a good distance. Though Mike put in an heroic effort, we were unable to snag them.

We found this Ribbon Snake (Thamnophis proximus) crossing the highway.

While shooting the ribbon snake, Jeff spotted this small Green Tree Frog (Hyla cinerea) right where we were sitting.

We drove off from there and saw a small junk site. We turned up only this baby Speckled Kingsnake (Lampropeltis getula holbrooki).

I wanted to see a kingsnake from this area to see what they looked like, but this juvenile wasn't going to show me anything. I would need to see an adult.

We looped around the north side of the lake, and Jeff spotted something in a small water-filled ditch along the road. It turned out to be a good sized snapping turtle. Mike went in and fished it out. I didn't think to take any pictures, so you can find them on Mike's site if you want to see them.

We reached our next location in Lake county and walked down the hiking trail. This trail ran along a cypress swamp, and had the added benefit of having a few rocks to turn. We were not finding much again, when I flipped a rock and saw a flash of salmon-pink. I called out MUDSNAKE! Then realized it was actually two small Western Mudsnakes (Farancia abacura reinwardtii).

They were each about eighteen inches long. This was one of the snakes I really wanted to see, so this find alone made my trip.

We saw turtles a'plenty and a few more uncatchable water snakes on the drive back to camp. We had another of Mike's awesome camp dinners then sat around the campfire and discussed our trip. Jeff wanted to try to get some video of calling Southeren Leopard Frogs, so Mike and he went out around midnite to find some. I wasn't feeling well and stayed behind. Jeff got his video but wasn't happy with it so we knew another late night was in store for later in the trip.

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