Trip Details

Location: Benton County, Iowa

Weather: Scattered clouds, 65 degrees.

Time: 4:00 to 6:00 p.m.

Herpers: Jim Scharosch

Account by: Jim Scharosch

Photos by: Jim Scharosch

Quick after work trip on one of the earliest warm days of the year. I stopped off at a spot I have been visiting for the last few seasons. It's a nice location early in the season, and doesn't get much afternoon sun. It is an overwintering site for milk snakes, garter snakes and fox snakes.

I checked all the best parts of the spot to no avail, and as I was crossing the high part of the hill, I turned a likely rock and found an Easter Garter Snake (Thamnophis sirtalis).

As I was carrying that snake down the hill to take pictures, I heard a buzzing sound a ways away. It wasn't very loud, but it was noticeable, so I walked toward where the sound was coming from. About twenty feet away I was surprised to find the source of the sound was an adult Fox Snake (Elaphe vulpina).

It was on the crawl, but my walking by stopped it and caused it start buzzing. I have seen a lot of fox snakes, and plenty of them had buzzed their tails at me while taking pictures up close, but I had never had one give away their position while I was that far away. Had that snake just kept crawling up the hill it would have been long gone before I got back up there.

That was it for the day. Not bad for a quick after work stop off.

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