Trip Details

Location: Linn County, IA

Weather: 80 degrees, sunny

Time: 8:00 pm

Herpers: Laura and Jim Scharosch

Account by: Jim Scharosch

Photos by: Jim Scharosch

A number of years ago a coworker brought in a small snake that he had found dead in his yard. It was in a small plastic container. Without looking very closely at it, I told him it was a brown snake, which are very common in Linn County. As he turned to go, I noticed an unexpected flash of color and took another look at the snake. It was actually a red belly snake, which was a new county record for Linn County.

Fellow local herper Don Becker made it a mission to try and locate a surviving population in the county. It took a while, but this spring he turned some up.

Laura and I wanted to get out for a bit after doing a bunch of yard work during the day. We rolled out to the site where Don had located the snakes.

The first thing we saw was this Eastern Garter Snake (Thamnophis sirtalis)

The only other thing we found was our target, a Red Belly Snake (Storeria occipitomaculata)

It was a nice chunky adult snake, most likely a gravid female. The color on the belly was very vivid dark red.

Even though they are extremely common in other parts of the state, it was pretty cool to find one in our home county. If that coworker had never brought that snake in to show me we probably wouldn't have figured out they were even here!

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