Trip Details

Location: Jackson county, Iowa

Weather: 80 degrees, humid, partly cloudy

Time: 5:30 p.m.

Herpers: Jim Scharosch

Account by: Jim Scharosch

Photos by: Jim Scharosch

I went up to check on the rattlesnake rookery areas at the property where we started the Herpjournal Habitat Restoration Project this spring. We have been coming here for years and observing the habits of the snakes on this property.

On two visits here this spring I have seen a timber in one of the outcrops along the drive in, right along the road. As far apart as those two visits were I was pretty sure the snake was a female that had chosen this outcrop as a rookery, which might be an unfortunate choice as it is so close to the road. I didn't see that snake today, which I hope was due to the heat, that maybe she was under the deep rock of the outcrop. The alternatives being that it wasn't a female rooking and it left, or maybe it got hit by a car. Let's hope its not the latter.

At the north den, the lower rookery had nothing, which wasn't a surprise as I hadn't seen anything there in earlier visits. The upper rookery, which also had no snakes last visit, had two Timber Rattlesnakes tonight! One was a smaller dark brown animal and the other was a large yellow-gold snake. I would guess the larger one to be nearly four feet.

I didn't wan to disturb them any more than necessary so I just grabbed quick cell phone shots and left them.

Other than millions of baby toads, a common gartersnake on the road and a couple of hornets that managed to zap me, that was it for the day. This will mark four straight seasons that females have been seen on this rookery. It's nice to see that they seem to be producing yearly now. I hope it continues to improve as we cut down cedars and open up more basking areas on the hill.

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