Trip Details

Location: Linn County, Iowa

Weather: Partly sunny. Cloud cover moving in and out. Mild wind and a high of 75 degrees.

Time: 5:21 p.m.

Herpers: Jim Scharosch & Matt Ricklefs

Account by: Matt Ricklefs

Photos by: Jim Scharosch & Matt Ricklefs

Thought of the Day: Let me find one!

Photo by Matt Ricklefs

Friday’s are always a good day to go out herping. It is the end of the week (for many people) and herping can provide an excuse to cut out early for the week. It also means you can add another trip in before the weekend starts. I met Jim at his place as we were going out close to his home. It was a decent day and our hopes were high. We were going to check out an area that had some human modification done to it and it was the first time this season that we would go there to examine the impact of this.

We worked the area that had been impacted the most and did not find anything. This is not altogether uncommon and could not necessarily be attributed to the recent changes. We headed over to “the other area” we usually worked and this had been undisturbed. We often found snakes on that side and we were again hopeful.

It was not long before Jim shouted “Fox Snake!”. Indeed he had found a nice looking Western Fox Snake (Elaphe v. vulpina) about 17 inches long. It was a good start for the afternoon.

Photos by Jim Scharosch

A short time later he found another one, this one about 22 inches.

Photos by Jim Scharosch

Photos by Matt Ricklefs

A little while after that he found two under one rock – a double!

Photo by Jim Scharosch

Photo by Matt Ricklefs

One was about 26 inches and the other about 18 inches. You can perhaps see where this is going.

We came back around to an area we usually don't check. With seeing as many fox snakes as we had so far, we decided it might be worth checking. A couple of rocks in, and you guessed it, Jim found another fox snake. This one was about three feet long.

Photo by Jim Scharosch

Soon after Jim found another adult Fox Snake...

Photo by Jim Scharosch

Photo by Matt Ricklefs

And then Jim found a sub-adult fox snake. This one was about thirteen inches long.

All in all “we” found seven Fox Snakes, meaning that Jim actually found them, I just happened to be with him. He did not hide that fact that he thought this was somewhat hilarious. (Editors note - He's right, it was hilarious. I wasn't cherry picking rocks either.) They all ranged around the same size except the last one was the smallest at about 13 inches. This one was also the grumpiest. I did take the opportunity to do an outtake shot of a Fox Snake in its arboreal habitat as well…

Photo by Matt Ricklefs

Just kidding about the arboreal habitat of course.

It was nice finding these and especially in this number. This area is our stronghold for Fox Snakes so it was good to see they were doing well. All were in pretty good shape and had recently already shed so they looked pretty bright as well.

Overall it was a good day, even if Jim didn’t let me find anything…

Until next time an equal amount of happy herpin’ to all.

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