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Hocking Hills Herping

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Posted by: tspuckler at Sat May 7 22:55:47 2011  [ Report Abuse ] [ Email Message ] [ Show All Posts by tspuckler ]  
   

The last weekend in April I travelled to south-central Ohio with 16 high school students to an rea known as Hocking Hills.

We arrived on Thursday night and did a Night Hike along a creek. It's pretty much rained throughout the month of April in Ohio and the temperature was rather cool.

The habitat we were exploring


Two-lined Salamander


A Two-lined that was a bit larger than the first


I found a decent-sized Slimy Salamander


A thunderstorm broke out and we had to retreat back to the bus.


The following morning we went zip lining


Fungus


That afternoon three of the reptile-centric students that were staying in my cabin headed to Lake Hope to see what we could find. The weather was overcast and cool (in the 50s).
We found our first Ohio snakes of the year. Gil (far left) lifted a rock that had three Northern Ringneck Snakes under it.






We also found a few Five-lined Skinks




The following morning we headed out to Ash Cave. The students never tire of finding ways to remind me of my intense dislike for Star Wars.


Ash Cave is the largest recess cave on Ohio.


I found some redback Salamanders


This set off the students on a salamander search


Tiny Dusky


Full-sized Dusky


White Trillium is Ohio's state wildflower


The quest for reptiles and amphibians continued once we made it to the top of the cave


Later we hiked alongside this creek


Earth Star Puffball.


We found a few Longtail Salamanders


Big Slug.


Eastern Garter Snake as found


Graham, a sophmore, decided to catch it


He got musked and pooped on


A second EGS


Pickerel Frog


We saw a Northen Water Snake that eluded capture, despite the effort of three students and myself. I fell back from the group and spotted this one basking on a fallen tree.


I wasn't thrilled about the prospects of wading out into the water to catch a snake that would surely bite me if I was "lucky" enough to catch it, but I did not want to let my students down.
I thought I was alone with the snake. I slowly approched it, made a grab, and then felt its teeth as it sank them into my wrist. From the shoreline I heard a woman yell "Oh my GOD!", drop her things and go running off down the trail.



Posed photo of the same snake


Tim at work.


A smaller Northern Water snake that we found near Conkle's Hollow


The students being led by their high school biology teacher, Mr. Maretka, through Conkle's Hollow


Vidja is an exchange student from Iceland. On the first day of the trip I asked her what she hoped to see and she said "A snake." Here she is with a Black Rat Snake that I caught at the last hike.


There's no time like toad time.


Black Rat Snake - this one was approaching six feet


The snake bit one of the boys.


Although the weather wasn't so great, it still was a pretty good weekend









Third Eye


   

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