Trip Details

Location: Linn and Buchanan Counties, Iowa

Weather: Partly cloudy with varying degrees of sun coming through. High of 72 degrees.

Time: 6:07 p.m.

Herpers: Don Becker, Jim Scharosch & Matt Ricklefs

Account by: Matt Ricklefs

Photos by: Jim Scharosch & Matt Ricklefs

Thought of the Day: “AHHHHHHHHHHHHH SNAKES!!!!”

Photo by Matt Ricklefs

We met up with our friend Don (aka Psyon) Becker and made an after work trip to look for Red-Bellied Snakes in a location they had been reported from. We stopped off first at another location on the way up and turned up a few Brown Snakes (Storeria dekayi), one of which was about 9 inches and gravid so I tried to get some good shots.

Photo by Matt Ricklefs

It did not like to pose, but I did get an alright shot.

Jim found an Eastern Garter Snake (Thamnophis sirtalis) and took a quick shot.

Photo by Jim Scharosch

That was all we found at this location and we moved on with our quest.

When we reached our destination we found more of the same. Brown Snakes. Right genus, wrong species. They were all fairly hefty and about the same size and I got a quick pic of one of them here as well.

Photos by Matt Ricklefs

We were having a good time as we had not all been out together in a while and I got a pic of Don mimicking a snake smelling the air.

Photo by Matt Ricklefs

We walked along this new area and found a very nice board behind some buildings and under the board was a dark colored 4 foot Western Fox Snake (Elaphe v. vulpina). We got an “in situ” shot then took a few more including Don and Jim taking a closer look.

Photos by Matt Ricklefs

Photos by Jim Scharosch

You will note that Don has his phone (used as a camera as well) in all the pics. Later that will become relevant. Unfortunately we did not turn up a Red-Bellied Snake, but we will continue to check the area. Obviously Storeria were well represented and hopefully we will turn up the right species one of these days.

We still had some time and decided to check another new area that Jim and I had found. We had not turned up anything yet here, but had only been there once and it looked promising. We worked the area and had not found anything. Finally toward the end of the search there was a rock away from some of the others. Don and I had been wandering around the area and Jim was working the last of a small line of rocks. Jim maintains we “jumped his line” but I say it was just the leap frog effect. Obviously we were all joking around but the end result was that Don and I flipped the rock and grabbed not one but FIVE juvenile Western Fox Snakes.

Photos by Matt Ricklefs

That was pretty amazing and a great sign for the area. I owed Jim anyway as we had gone out previously this year and he found like 100 Fox Snakes that day and I didn’t find a one. OK, perhaps it was not 100, but it was like seven.

Needless to say, with this many shots we got fun group, “in hand”, and the quote of the day “AHHHHHH SNAKES!” shot Jim provided and I was lucky enough to capture. That was all we found here aside from a Water Snake crossing the road on the way out that we did not get a pic of. And Don’s phone suffered a case loss that we looked for and did not find. Well at least not until later when I discovered it under the passenger seat of my car. Why we spent time driving to find it and didn’t look closer in the car escapes me. We dropped Jim off and on the way home Don and I stopped at one of his locations.

Our first find was a Garter Snake (Thamnophis sirtalis) about 11 inches long so I got a quick shot

Photos by Matt Ricklefs

It was also starting to get pretty dark. Our next find was a nice little 10 inch Milk Snake (Lampropeltis triangulum) that posed pretty well.

Photos by Matt Ricklefs

We also found a juvenile Milk Snake that did not want its picture taken.

Photos by Matt Ricklefs

Finally we found a grumpy “in shed” Milk about 15 inches.

Photos by Matt Ricklefs

That was all and it was nighttime to we headed home.

An interesting and fun day.


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