Trip Details

Location: Jackson County, IA

Weather: About 76 degrees. Low Wind.

Time: 6:00 p.m.

Herpers: Jim Scharosch & Matt Ricklefs

Account by: Matt Ricklefs

Photos by: Matt Ricklefs

Thought of the Day: Starting to move…and surprise.

It’s getting to be that time of year that you have been waiting for fall and you know it will be over before you know it. We decided to get out for a trip after work and went to one of our favorite Timber spots.

It is still a little early for fall timbers, but not it isn't so early that it would be impossible to some. It was, however, still relatively dry. After some looking around, we had our first find under a rock in an area where we commonly find juvenile Milk Snakes (Lampropeltis triangulum), and we found another one.

It was about 6 inches long. It was very active and I worked to get a few pictures as Jim walked on a bit.

Since we are very familiar with this spot, we usually take about the same routes around. Jim took a normal path that lead to some other rocks and outcrops we check. I followed about two minutes behind him after getting what pictures I could of the Milk Snake. As I stepped through the path, I heard a familiar quick buzz, and noticed I had stepped very near a 28 inch Timber Rattlesnake (Crotalus horridus).

We had not ever seen one on this path, but we had seen them around this area. Jim was surprised he missed it, but in looking at the habitat it appeared it had either been coming down the hill in the brush. Or it had been tucked up near something and Jim’s passing made it think to move and I just happened to be the right 2 minutes behind him to see it. It was just letting us know it was there, but I’m still glad I wear knee high snake boots. This was a very pretty one and looked as though it may have very recently shed.

That was it for the day. We did think that this definitely shows things are on the move back to their over wintering areas. We’ll see the full swing in the next few weeks around here. Then… it will be over until next spring. Where does the time go?

Happy surprise herpin’!

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