Trip Details

Start Time: 6:30 p.m.

Weather: Sunny. 75 degrees. Medium wind.

Location: Linn Co. Iowa

Herpers: Janie Ricklefs & Matt Ricklefs

Account by: Matt Ricklefs

Photos by: Matt Ricklefs except as noted

Thought of the Day: Let’s go looks for snakes!

Somewhere between dinner and the grocery store I had convinced my wife to stop by one of my usual spots quick to look for snakes. Not a small feat in and of itself. She is not a herper, but appreciates that I am. I was a little surprised that she agreed to stop. I checked a few things and had her close to experience the find. She kept her distance. Nothing. Oh well. She was a little relieved I think. Now I will say that part of my herping ritual when I leave is to have her wish me good luck, which she does with all genuine caring. I told her to wait just a second while I check one other thing. It is some that has not yielded a snake yet, but is still nice and I always check.
“Got one!” I said, to which she replied “Oh crap”. It was a Racer (Coluber constrictor) about 26 inches.

Photo by Janie Ricklefs

She waited patiently while I took a few pictures and was even gracious enough to get a picture of me with it, which she did very well. I asked if we could check one other spot and she agreed.
This time, she got in on the turn and I flipped a smaller racer and a Garter Snake (Thamnophis sirtalis).

The garter was large and heavy and most likely gravid. Garters are one species of snake that actually have live babies rather that lay eggs. Since she was settled in so well, I let the racer go and just took some in situ shots of the Garter.
Janie was content to be out in the field as an appreciator of nature in general and made a phone call that she needed to make while I checked a few other things. We found nothing else, but getting her out was nice and we finished our errands afterward - a nice compromise.
Happy Herpin’!!!

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