Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Unexplained Mysteries... 3-16-2013

After the lovely salamander-filled Tuesday night we had, the temperatures dropped fast! Reports say that the female Spotteds didn't ever show up in force, so the "Big Night" will take place some time in the future! We got a tip that Blue Spotted Salamanders had been on the move in Suffolk County... at a place about 4 miles from our front door! I didn't know they were in this part of the state, much less that close!

Despite the icy weather (32° F), we went over to check out this place; new to us and close to one of our other favorite hiking spots! As soon as we parked, we noticed tons of great flipping rocks... even sheets of concrete!

This place was screaming SNAKE!!!!! 

There were stones not too tight to the ground, logs, AC... just a ton of great snake stuff! Unfortunately, we realized it was going to be far too cold to see any of the elusive Blue Spotted Salamanders... or probably any salamanders at all!

One stone flip made me come dangerously close to reenacting my stick-in-the-eye debacle of two years ago!
Stick in eye? Close!
(The stick-in-the-eye post is here)

There were many vernal ponds, though, and when the weather gets better, they will be full!!

I was flipping in one area and Andrea "ahem"ed me and I turned around and she had a snake. It looked like a deceased Garter.
Deceased Garter
He was gnawed off below the vent, but he wasn't stiff. I thought there was a chance that he was alive, so I put him down my shirt. Surely any snake out in 32° temps would be just about dead.

Well, as expected, he was dead. He never perked up. I figured it was worth a shot. I lay him out in the open for someone to eat. Poor fella.

We went down to a nearby vernal pond. I was peeking into the water when I heard Andrea say "I hope this guy's not dead"! She had another snake in her hand! And this one wasn't dead! His tongue slowly flicked in and out!
32°!!!!!!!!!!! What on Earth was going on?!

Garter snake at 32 degrees!!!

Well, I put him into my shirt to warm up and he was certainly alive! He was tickling and poking me.

There was some road work going on nearby and we figure that a den might have been disturbed. That sucks... I hope no other Garters were out and about in the cold! Damn, it has snowed a ton since then too!

So, yeah... I called it! This place in Suffolk County... this... this... farm-type place is going to be a heck of a snake hike! Plus, it's close enough to hit on week nights after work!

We still need to find those Blue Spotteds too...