Trip Details

Location: Linn County

Weather: Mostly sunny with intermittent clouds during herping. High of 76 degrees. Low Wind.

Time: 4:00 p.m.

Herpers: Don Becker, Jim Scharosch & Matt Ricklefs

Account by: Matt Ricklefs

Photos by: Jim Scharosch & Matt Ricklefs

Thought of the Day: Stand By Me

Photo by Jim Scharosch

The crazy spring of 2012 continues. Jim and I had been invited by Don to scout a few areas. These were areas I had only been to once, but Jim had spent time around in his youth. We all gathered at a predetermined location, spent a little time catching up and then it was off to herp!

Since it was so early and we had not documented many reptiles this early on Herpjournal, I did take time to get a couple of pictures of a Red-Sided Garter Snake (Thamnophis s. parietalis).

Photo by Matt Ricklefs

It was a young one and was about 11 inches long.

In order to get to one of our locations, the way across the river was a railroad tracks bridge. This set of tracks is seldom used and when they are active is mostly in the late evening; however it did conjure up images from Stephen King’s story and movie Stand By Me that we all chuckled about.

It was a little while before we found anything again. In a pond left in the dry backwaters of the river Jim found some cool glass bottles and I stopped to take a couple of pics of a Northern Leopard Frog (Rana pipiens) I found under a piece of metal.

Photo by Matt Ricklefs

It was about 4 inches long.

We were on the way out and back safely across the tracks when Don spotted what appeared to be a False Map Turtle (Graptemys pseudogeographica) about 5 inches long. We were still up on a hillside and carefully crept down and stalked ever so silently toward the wary turtle. A couple of times, since it was so still, we had to make sure it was really a turtle. It was! However, it seemed to be a little worse for wear. It had a battled scared leg and was not very active, but was still alive. We did take a few pictures and set it back where it was to allow nature to decide its fate.


Photos by Jim Scharosch

About that time Jim noticed some movement nearby and there, walking around in the puddled water was a juvenile Western Painted Turtle (Chrysemys p. bellii) about 1.5 inches long.

Photos by Jim Scharosch

After a few pics we allowed this little one to be on its way as well.

We went up into some high prairie and found a large amount of cement pieces just up the hill and near a large prairie remnant. It did look rather “snakey”. It didn’t take long for Don to pull up a nice Western Fox Snake (Elaphe v. vulpina) about 38 inches long tucked away between two slabs of cement.

Photo by Jim Scharosch

Photos by Matt Ricklefs

Although the weather had been quite unseasonably warm for some time, it was still clear that the snakes were sticking close to their den sites, which this obviously was. After a few pics (and some goofing around) were bid adieu to the snake and started for home.

That was the last find of the day, but a great find. We have not documented a large colubrid so early in the year to date, so it was a very interesting find and will help add to our knowledge.

Photo by Matt Ricklefs

It was great getting out with Don, and we continue to look for earlier herping this spring. Happy Herping everyone!

Read our disclaimer here...