Trip Details

Start Time: 9:30 a.m.

Weather: Rainy. 70 degrees. Low wind.

Location: Iowa and Johnson Counties, Iowa

Herpers: Matt Ricklefs, Jim Scharosch, Austin Scharosch

Account by: Jim Scharosch

Matt and I decided to take a shot at an elusive Iowa quarry, the Smooth Green Snake. We were operating on a tip from a fellow herper. We didn't think our odds were too good, but we went out anyway. The weather was not going to cooperate, as it was warm and rainy. On the way to the location, we stopped off at a site we had located a few weeks prior. It had not paid off last time, but still seemed worth a return trip. We got out of the car, walked about thirty feet and as I reached to flip something, Matt says, "Bullsnake!". There layed a five foot bullsnake (Pituophis sayi).

photo by Austin Scharosch

photos by Matt Ricklefs

photo by Jim Scharosch

It was near a hole in the ground, and appeared dirty as though it had just come up from the hole to try and grab some sun. It's probably one of those deals where had we been thirty minutes earlier or later it wouldn't have been above ground. We took some pictures and put it down the hole. It was fun watching the ground bulge as the snake pushed it's way thru the underground tunnel. We worked the rest of the area but didn't find anything else.

We moved on to the green snake spot, but were not able to find anything. The weather was getting bad and we were not able to locate the exact spot we were told about.

We headed home and scouted a few locations as we drove. We drove past a few wildlife areas and along the way found a new tin site.

We turned up a Brown Snake and an Eastern Garter Snake under some tin.

Brown Snake (Storeria dekayi)

Eastern Garter Snake (Thamnophis sirtalis)

photos by Matt Ricklefs

I found two other garters that we didn't photograph. The spot was really nice, and definitely warrants some return visits under better weather conditions.

We called it a day. We were happy to have seen the bullsnake, as it confirmed that a previously unproducing spot was actually good. We were also happy to have found a new spot to hit another day. Not too bad for an crappy day weatherwise.

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