Trip Details

Location: Linn County, Iowa

Weather: 50 degrees. Sunny, light winds.

Time: 11:30 a.m.

Herpers: Don Becker, Jim Scharosch

Don has been visiting this overwintering area for a couple of years now for mid-winter snakes. This den is home to a variety of small snakes, and when conditions are right they will emerge for short periods of time well before snakes in other locations. I have always wanted to visit this spot, so when the forecast for the weekend looked good I hit Don up.

The day was warm for February and the sun was shining. Air temperature was around 50 degrees, but the rocks along the wall were quite a bit warmer. It didn’t take long to spot a Brown Snake (Storeria dekayi) coiled up under some leaves.

All told we found six brown snakes.

I have always wanted to pose a snake on the snow, so I today I got my chance.

We also spotted a basking Eastern Garter Snake (Thamnophis sirtalis).

Don said he doesn’t normally see them this early, so that was cool.

That was it for the day. Seeing snakes in February in Iowa was fun. In sixteen years of HerpJournal, these are the earliest snakes from Iowa we have ever posted. They beat the previous earliest by over a month!

Thanks to Don for a nice herping break from winter!

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