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Snake Road October 7-10

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Posted by: tspuckler at Thu Oct 11 17:24:41 2012  [ Report Abuse ] [ Email Message ] [ Show All Posts by tspuckler ]  

Snake Road is located in Shawnee National Forest in southern Illinois. Each October the road is closed to allow snakes to travel safely to the limestone bluffs where they spend the winter.

I arrived at Snake Road on Sunday at 4:00 in the afternoon. It had been a cool day with high temperatures only reaching the mid-50s. Although warm in the areas where there was sun, I only found one snake, a young Western Cottonmouth.

On Moday I had a "lifer" that I wanted to see (Marbled Salamander) that several herpers had seen in the previous few days, so I headed out to a nearby cypress swamp. The daytime temperatures reached the low 60s.

The most drab Southern Leopard Frog I've ever seen.

Big Bess Beetles.

A more colorful Southern Leopard Frog than the first.

Central Newts were more common than the previous two years. I think the cool temperatures and weekend rain inspired them to come out.

The first snake of the day was a "lifer" Eastern Ribbon Snake, but it wasn't the herp I was seeking.

Bleached EBT shell.

Five-lined Skink. I also saw a Ground Skink, but that dude did not want to get his picture taken.

Young Bullfrog.

Somebody must have set their "natural history artifacts" here with plans to come back and get them later.

I had walked at least a mile and flipped 50-60 railroad ties. I was beginning to get a bit discouraged about finding my "lifer." Needless to say, I was pretty stoked to finally find this.

Seeing empty turtle shells is OK, but live turtles are way better. Here's a Red-eared Slider actually living in its native range.

I was really pleased to see this though - so colorful it could be noticed from far away - Eastern Box Turtle.

Just in case you didn't know...

I made it back to Snake Road around 2:30 in the afternoon. The first serpent I found was the smallest snake of the trip, a tiny Ringneck.

A larger, darker Western Cottonmouth than the one found the day before.

A Rough Green Snake just chillin' on a limestone rock face.

I dig how mild-mannered and inoffensive Rough Green Snakes are. Let's face it: If you don't like these snakes, you've got a problem with yourself.

I can see for miles and miles and miles...

Tuesday saw temperatures in the mid 60s and somewhat windy conditions. Things started to pick up a bit on Snake Road.

Cricket Frogs were regularly seen around mud puddles.

Several Western Cottonmouths were out and about.

A number of Western Ribbon Snakes were active too.

A view of the bluffs.

Yellowbelly Water Snakes are usually rather common, but I only saw one.

One of three Eastern Garter Snakes, I thought this one was quite attractive.

Eastern Fence Lizard - mostly small ones were out, but this was an adult.

A fine young Racer.

One of two Mississippi Green Water Snakes seen on Tuesday.

The last snake seen was this large, dark Western Cottonmouth.

These folks came all the way from Ontario to check out what was up at Snake Road.

Today the temperature made it to 55 degrees and it was somewhat windy. I decided to check out a couple of local attractions before my last hike on Snake Road. First up was Pomona Natural Bridge.

Ground Beetle.

I also checked out Little Grand Canyon, which, as the name implies, is nowhere near the size of that other Grand Canyon.

Slimy Salamander.

While driving, I saw this young Racer on the road.

Roadcruising for millipedes isn't as popular as roadcruising for snakes - but don't knock it until you've tried it.

I made it onto Snake Road at 2:00PM.

The first snake I saw was a juvenile Timber Rattlesnake.


E. Garter Snake.

Sassafras leaves beginning to turn.

This Rough Green Snake was hanging around the bluffs. A young Rough Green and Racer were also seen, but not photographed.

The limestone bluffs.

A sweet-looking female Eastern Fence Lizard.

Longtail Salamander (a Cave Salamander was also seen, but not photographed).

Soon it began getting dark and it was time to go.

See you next year, Snake Road!

Third Eye Herp


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>> Next Message:  RE: Snake Road October 7-10 - 05kas05, Thu Nov 1 18:54:47 2012
>> Next Message:  RE: Snake Road October 7-10 - Tony D, Wed Nov 7 09:36:28 2012