Tuesday, July 7, 2015

Five snake species on a Thursday? 7-2-2015

Hey, thank you Independence Day! We both got Friday the 3rd off and Andrea was released at 3 PM on Thursday the 2nd! I wasn't as lucky but I got home by 5 and we decided to get out and herp a local spot. It had been a hot day and things were cooling off nicely by early evening. We didn't go far, just to a local Suffolk County spot.

We started out with a small Redback, getting warmed up. Us, not him. He was pretty cool.

I flipped a large slab of concrete and there was a Three Ring Circus under it! I put my hand on top on one Ringneck while one jetted away and the other verrry slowly crawled off. There was nothing I could do; I had to hold up the concrete. I couldn't even pick up the small guy under my hand. Andrea came to my aid.
I banged my ankle returning the slab to place.

We went up a hill to flip a few rocks and stuff. I stepped in a Yellowjacket nest. My ankles caught fire first, then as I ran screaming, a couple more got the back of my legs. I had four stings and was moaning and telling Andrea how much it hurt. It did. A lot. Ankle stings blow. But we herped on.

I saw a teeny frog hop by while exploring a recently dried vernal. I snapped a blurry shot and thought "Peeper". It turned out to be a recently metamorphosed Wood.

Since the shadows were getting long, we figured most snakes would have headed for cover for the night. We decided to only flip the "low hanging fruit"... the smaller, flat ones that lay there among the hundreds of back breaking boulders. (I usually go for all of them.) First flip, a beautiful black Water Snake.
I noticed a lot of ants were sharing this rock so I thought I'd nudge him to make him move to some different cover. He thanked me with a slashing bite across a vein on the back of my hand, but not moving. Andrea laughed quite hard. I picked him up to move him myself and he musked me into next week. As I freely bled, I cracked my knee hopping back over the guardrail.

Next, we flipped a Garter but it crawled over my foot and away before we could get a picture. The next Garter was in the blue and decided to latch onto the laughing Andrea's hand. Her nail polish was wisely chosen, just for this shot.
Oddly enough, a snake-a-phobe was passing at that moment and got all "ewww" and stuff and when she asked "does it bite?", Andrea could only hold up her hand with the snake dangling from it and say "yes". We tried a quick educational program but we didn't really win her over.

On the next rock, we snapped immediately... a dark, beautiful Garter.

Our fourth fruitful flip in a row was this young Nerodia. who would not pose, no matter how hard I tried to calm him.

This was crazy... almost every flip was producing. We had four straight flips in a row that had snakey results. We headed back to look on the other side of the path. That is where we found this extraordinarily fat American Toad.
A bruiser, indeed.

Remember last year when Andrea found a massive Milk Snake in an unlikely place? I don't either. I was home sick and she went without me. Anyway, we have always been sure to check that area closely ever since. Much to our surprise (and making Andrea gasp), this 36" beauty was under almost the very same rock as her Triangulum Terror last year!
Different snake (we compared head patterns in photos) but uncanny that another large Milk was right in the very same spot.

So, four species of snake on a Thursday night! How could it get any better?

I saw a flat rock right at the edge of the brook... perfect for Water Snakes. A flip revealed perhaps the night's biggest surprise... a very knocked-up Dekay's Snake.
Not what I was expecting at all.

We had flipped a few more Garters and Waters but failed to get pictures but we call this night (less than two hours) a rousing success. I decided that I was done injuring myself so we headed home... swollen, bloody, bruised and with a funky musk cocktail on our hands.

That's what it's all about.


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  2. !Cúanto coraje que tienen los dos ,con los reptiles,,,,guauuu!!!!!Un beso Martha

    1. No es el valor, sólo el amor !!
      Love, Mike