Trip Details

Location: Linn County, Iowa

Conditions: Sunny, highs in the middle 70's

Time: Late afternoon

Herpers: Laura, Austin and Jim Scharosch

Account by Jim Scharosch

One of the advantages of living on the outside edge of a development in a rural area is that once in a while you get to see a herp in your yard. In the past we have seen a brown snake, an eastern garter snake, a tiger salamander, numerous toads and a bullsnake either in the yard or on the roads around the house. Today we were mowing the yard. Austin was in the back on the riding mower, and we hopped off to catch a snake. It turned out to be a Plains Garter Snake (Thamnophis radix).

Photos by Jim Scharosch

It was cool, because this is a snake we don't see really often, and it was a new species to our "around the house" list. It was nice to get some decent pictures of a plains garter, though it was beginning to show the blue eyes of a shed.

After we finished mowing we went of to our local milksnake spot. It wasn't long before Austin turned up the first Milksnake (Lampropeltis triangulum). It was in shed and really nasty looking so I didn't take any time on pics.

Photo by Jim Scharosch

A few minutes later Austin turned up another milk. This one was the dark chocolate color we often find in this location. A lot of people might think these are not very attractive, but I really like them.

Photos by Austin Scharosch

Austin flipped another milk, but it got down into the rock pile before he could grab it. He had it by the tail and we decided not to try and wrestle it out of the rocks. We will see it another time.

We stopped at one other spot but only saw a garter snake.

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