Trip Details

Location: Jones County, Iowa

Weather: 75 degrees, clear sky

Time: 9:00 a.m. 

Herpers: Don Becker, Jim Scharosch

Account by: Jim Scharosch

Photos by: Jim Scharosch

Don and I went out to a timber den in northeast Iowa to deploy some time lapse cameras. We are monitoring some areas we believe are the dens this fall to see how many snakes we can spot coming and going from the outcrops. It also gave us an excuse to look for timbers around the dens, even though it still may be a tiny bit early for big numbers at the den sites. This is a site on private property that we only gained access to last year. While we have only seen one timber on the bluffs so far, a number have been seen around the house on the property, so we know the population here is at least of reasonable size.

To make a long story short, we saw a garter snake in a crevice near the suspected timber den and that was all that was in the den area. As I started to think about setting up the cameras, I looked down the bluff slope to where Don was, just to see what he was doing. Directly in the line of site between him and I there laid a large adult Timber Rattlesnake (Crotalus horridus) neatly coiled up along a log.

As I said, it was a large adult, and it was a gray timber.

We have only seen these light gray timbers at two sites in Iowa, and they are within a few miles of each other on the same river system. You can tell the true gray timbers because they have a blue-gray eye color instead of the yellowish brown eye color of a normal timber.

We searched the other bluff to no avail. We have worked hard here to only find two timbers, but now we will be able to see what pops up on the time lapse cameras and hopefully add to our knowledge of this really cool location.

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