SC Reptile and Amphibians
Week ending 09-02-01
Locally we have been teased with rain sprinkles but the soil surface remains dry.
Friday night (08-31-01) I road cruised, but saw only frogs and toads. I picked up a Green Tree Frog for a school exhibit.
Sunday afternoon (09-02-01) I walked around the farm with my camera. I photoed some flowers and dragonflies. I found baby Fence Lizards, Ground Skinks and Green Anoles.
I did not note any DOR snakes this week. Perhaps they will begin moving around in September.
Week ending 09-02-01
Goodness! It's September already! This year is flying for me! Now I'm starting to think about how few warm weeks we have left to enjoy. But, cold weather has it's charms also.
Monday (8-27-01), On my day off, I choose to knock around locally a bit. I saw the expected lizards (Skinks, Fence Lizards, and Anoles), Frogs/Toads, and Basking Turtles. I saw the Tiger Beetles and Dragonflies I thought I would (none I needed to collect). I even saw two Black Racers but both were alert and quick to turn into the bushes.
Tuesday (8-28-01), Back to work. My students had picked up 5 eggs and a skink under a log a few weeks back. 4 of the eggs hatched a week or so ago. Cute little skinks. The other egg seemed to be running a little late, and I thought nothing of it. When I checked, I was surprised to find a hatchling Green Anole! The Anole mother had placed her egg in a skink's nest! Sure is cool to discover neat stuff like this. My nephew called late in the evening. He had caught a new Tiger Beetle (Megacephala virginica) in his yard. Very exciting!
Wednesday (8-29-01), Set a turtle basket at the river pasture. Showed the class how to find Tiger Beetles (Cicindela repanda) on the big sand bar.
Thursday (8-30-01), Checked the turtle basket. Had a very pretty Eastern Painted Turtle (marked and released) and a nice sized Snapper (10-12 pounds). We re-set the trap.
Friday (8-31-01), Checking the trap we found nothing. But a few yards away on the ground we caught a new (for me) Tiger Beetle (Cicindela duodecimguttata). Love getting new species! Then we headed to the pond to put out some coverboards. While there we caught two new Dragonflies Twelve Spotted Skimmers! Now I had seen them for years. I had seen them in two counties of SC and even while on our little trip to Kentucky. But this was the first time we had been able to secure any for our collection.! When we got back to where we had parked the bus, a big male Mole Kingsnake was waiting for us! He even regurgitated in the capture bag! We took a look at the meal; Vole! The vole was tagged and bagged and Frozen. It makes good data for what Mole Kings eat in the wild! After work I stopped by Olaf's Canoe Post in Laurens and finally bought myself a (used) canoe. Olaf also rents canoes, teaches canoe lessons, and guides trips locally. Please contact him for all your Canoe needs (864) 984-1640.
Saturday (9-1-01), Typical day at work, even had to stay over. After I got off, I checked those new cover boards at the pond. Just found a few small bugs and Cricket Frogs.
Sunday (-2-01), Checked those coverboards again. Frogs and small invertebrates. Later, we took the new (used) canoe to the River. We drove up to the sandbar and let my son get the feel of it in the shallow current. Then my wife and son took the canoe downstream 1 mile to the bridge. I drove along the riverbank and stopped from time to time to check on them. They did fine. While waiting for them to reach the take-out, I did see a beautiful Midland Watersnake in the shallow water. Then the rains came. Nap time on the sofa. Made take a quick ride after dark. Plenty of frogs/toads on the wet roads but nothing else.
Week ending 08-26-01
I do not remember seeing any herps during the week. I had some energy left Friday evening (08-24-01) so I road cruised locally a couple hours. Saw a few toads and frogs and a dying, adult Eastern Garter Snake.
I had to return to work both Saturday and Sunday. However, on Saturday morning (08-25-01) I found an AOR juvenile Eastern Garter Snake.
I received a dozen or so emails this week with requests for help with snake IDs. Maybe things are picking up.
Week ending 08-26-01
Where to begin? Hmmmmm? Oh, I know! It was hot! Hot all week, with no rain. Hot and dry.
Monday (8-20-01), Cherokee County! I'd tried back in the spring to herp a bit in that fine county, but failed to secure a snake (still trying to catch a snake in every county in SC). So once again I traveled to Cherokee, to the southeast corner, to a boat ramp on the Pacolet River. There I found my snake, a fine gravid female Midland Watersnake. (I actually caught her in the middle of the river but I was parked on the Cherokee County side and entered from that side so I'll claim it). Around the edges of the boat ramp and parking area I found Tiger Beetles (C. repanda) and collected a few from that location. Exploring further I found and collected an Eastern Pondhawk and more Tiger Beetles (M. carolina). Returning home, through Union County I stopped and Tiger Beetled (C. rufiventris and repanda) for my little collection. Busy and fun day.
Tuesday (8-21-01), For evening recreation I went to the pond. I collected some feeder frogs (Bullfrogs, Green Frogs, S. Leopard Frogs) and took time to enjoy seeing Eastern Narrowmouth Toads, Green Treefrogs, and Cricket frogs. I did get quite a thrill upon seeing a Jumping Mouse! Woodland or Meadow? I don't know, but I certainly know it was a Jumping Mouse (very long tail & very long back feet & seemed to be taking 3-4 feet per hop as it escaped) . I've only seen one other (caught in a drift fence in 1991) so this was very exciting.
Wednesday (8-22-01), After work I had some free time to knock around and found a Brown Snake (wow!) but little else of interest.
Thursday (8-23-01), Took the lantern down to the big sandbar on the river, at sunset. To attract bugs I let it burn an hour. During that time I found a few frogs (Pickerel, S. Leopard, Fowlers Toad). Checking in at the lantern I from time to time, I found 4 Tiger beetles (C. repanda) that I could have caught much quicker/easier with the net during the day. But then, that was not the point. I wanted to see what I could get to come in to the light. Tons of small moths, gnats, mosquitoes, Mayflies, etc. I did enjoy my quiet time by the water. An Opossum was ambling about in the road as I drove home. I saw no need to stop and catch it.
Friday (8-24-01), Coming home from work/school, my son and I had a good look at a Bobcat as it crossed the road in front of us. Full daylight at 5 PM. Neat. Took my nephew back to the pond at sunset and he got to see some Green Treefrogs, S. Leopard Frogs and Eastern Narrowmouth Toad. Big fun for a 3 year old! Also, I picked up some sort of Ground Beetle that made my fingers smell like Lysol.
Saturday (8-25-01), At work, I had my class collect some feeder toads on campus. We uncovered 2 Brown Snakes as we went along.
Sunday (8-26-01), Family day, Church day.
Have a nice week!
Week ending 08-19-01
DORs this week have included a large Snapping Turtle, a Copperhead and several unidentified snake specimens. I found a juvenile Box Turtle AOR and saw an Osprey at Lake Greenwood. I really hope this Fall is a good herping season since I have essentially missed the summer.
Hope, my son's fiancee, works at a pet shop and has growing reputation as someone who can identify odd creatures. This week a domesticated Ferret was brought to her. The ferret had been running wild in Abbeville. Apparently it had been stalking some newborn kittens. I'm glad the owners of the kittens were thoughtful enough not to kill it.
I recovered an escapee myself this week. Back in early June, a Corn Snake which I had been keeping for the last 2 years escaped into my home office. (I forgot to fasten the lid.) My office is a single room in a building adjacent to the house. When I discovered the snake was missing I left the outside door ajar for several nights reckoning the snake would quickly find its way out. (If you saw my office you would immediately know why searching for the snake was not an option.) Friday night I left the computer running a long program and went to bed. Just before dawn, I was awakened by our dog signaling she wanted to go outside. Because a couple of stray poodles had shown up at the house Friday evening, I had not let her go out before going to bed. So I let the dog out and went to the office to check the computer. Right in the doorway was my fugitive Corn Snake. She she was in good condition but skinny. Saturday she devoured 3 mice.
Week ending 08-19-01
Been very hot this week. Very hot. Not many snakes moving. Seen a few Ratsnakes road killed, and the moon is dark, so stuff should be beginning to move soon. But, when snakes are getting hard to find, Dragonflies and Beetles are plentiful. Also been a good week for Moths (Imperial, Royal Walnut, Polyphemus, and Lunas) and Butterflies (Monarchs are showing up. Also seeing Viceroy, Tiger Swallowtails, Red Spotted Purples, and many others). Have seen plenty of Tiger Beetles (C. rufiventris) just about everywhere this week.
Monday (8-13-01), Tried to herp around a bit locally, but kept getting rained out. Bummer. But we need the rain.
Tuesday (8-14-01), Work. Then cut grass. Very hot.
Wednesday (8-15-01), Set traps (turtle basket and funnel trap) in a pond near Laurens. Saw some Six-Lined Racerunners along the way and the students chased but.........
Thursday (8-16-01), On campus we found a Brown Snake under a log. Off campus, we checked the traps. A small Bass and Bluegill Bream were in the funnel trap. The turtle basket held 6 Eastern Painted Turtles, 2 Yellow-Bellied Sliders and a large male Eastern River Cooter. I was happy to see this one. I seldom get these in the trap and he was particularly pretty. Nice long front claws. One of the Painteds we noticed was marked. We've trapped this pond since 1994 and marked many turtles. Nice to see this old friend. We moved and re-set the traps.
Friday (8-17-01), Checking the traps we found..........nothing. Took the traps out but we will set them again soon. My students chased some Dragonflies and got a Black Saddlebags, Whitetail Skimmer, and Green Darner. Saw a Yellow-Billed Cuckoo near the Institute as I was leaving work. I had a family errand over on I-85 at the SC-Ga state line. I had checked out my maps and found several exits in Anderson and Oconee Counties where there were Boat landings near the Hwy. I took some extra time and managed to collect some Tiger Beetles (C. repanda) in both counties and some Dragonflies also (Eastern Pondhawk in Anderson and Slaty Skimmer in Oconee).
Saturday (8-18-01), At work, I found my Skink eggs had hatched (picked up recently on campus under a log). At home, we had relatives visiting and my nephew wanted to go Tiger Beetling. We went to the pond and caught C. trifasciata and C. rufiventris. Also saw about 354,719 baby Cricket Frogs. Later a colleague (and a student) stopped by. We collected some Scorpions they wanted, and found a VERY small Eastern Narrowmouth Toad, Spring Peeper, Fowlers Toads, and Green Anole, all illuminated by the flashlights. My friend and the student went on road cruising, but stopped by the house later and reported no snakes moving.
Sunday (8-19-01), Rather busy with a lot more family time, but we did see an Osprey at one point while crossing the river. It was sitting on a rock as we drove across on the bridge. We stopped and walked back but he flew as we approached. Always nice to see Osprey.
Week ending 08-12-01
Hot weather and few herps this week. Racoons and Opossums were the most numerous DORs. Deer and toads were the most numerous AORs. DOR snakes were limited to an Eastern Hognose (black phase), a Mole Kingsnake, and a Copperhead.
Sunday morning I found AOR a Box Turtle and an immature Rough Green Snake. The male Gulf Coast Spiny Softshell Turtle was basking on the rock in my farm pond. He had his neck stretched to the sky and I could not resist trying to get a picture. Being very skiddish, he dropped his pose before I could get setup with the camcorder. Since I had the camera out, I took some more pictures of dragonflies. Same species as I had photographed before: a Slaty Skimmer and a Widow Skimmer. I did get a picture of an interesting little spider on the prowl.
Week ending 08-12-01
It has been blazing/boiling/steaming/smoking/scalding hot this week. Never the less, I've been outside a fair bit.
Monday (8-6-01), My son and I went for a little ride. We stopped a few times here and there, collecting some Dragonflies and Tiger Beetles but failed to find anything odd or new, and didn't find any interesting Herptiles either. We did manage to collect a couple of Dragonflies in Abbeville County. My son got into some Yellowjackets, but only got one sting.
Tuesday (8-7-01), Picked up a male Hercules Beetle on the store-front on the way to work. I had been needing one. At work, I found that my 21Everglades Ratsnakes eggs had hatched. Early I suppose, they began slitting on day 51. Cute little guys. Found a female Hercules Beetle outside by the Caiman pen.
Wednesday (8-8-01), Set turtle basket and funnel trap at the pasture by the river. We tucked the funnel trap up tight against the river bank, and set the turtle basket out in flowing water in a sheltered area.. I had hopes for Softshell Turtles. In the past I've caught several at this exact location.
Thursday (8-9-01), Found a Red-Bellied Snake on the ground at work fairly early. Later, we went off campus to check the traps. The funnel trap held nothing. The turtle trap had 2 Snapping Turtles. A nice one at 15-18 pounds or so and a small one of 6-8 pounds. Both released after a brief lesson on safe turtle handling. We relocated the turtle basket in a small pond in the pasture and moved the funnel trap to another place in the River. Along the way we caught a Black Racer.
Friday (8-10-01), Today is my son's birthday. Wow! He son is 14! I'm very proud of you son. Happy Birthday!
Checking traps we found another Black Racer along the way. Caught and released. The turtle trap held 3 Eastern Painted Turtles. Marked and released. The funnel trap just held some small panfish/bream. I had some free time after work. I decided to try Fairfield County. Never spent any time there and it's not all that far. I was able to find 3 species of Tiger Beetles (repanda, trifasciata, and punctulata) at various stops, and at Lake Monticello I caught some Dragonflies (Halloween Pennant, Swift Setwing and Eastern Pondhawk). The only Reptile I saw was a Six-Lined Racerunner. Looks like it has some good herping areas and I hope to be back soon.
Saturday (8-11-01), At work we collected a couple of feeder skinks (one had 5 eggs with her but we kept the eggs for safe hatching. Later I found a fresh hatched Black Racer DOR. Collected a few Dragonflies and Tiger Beetles here and there but nothing odd. Just kept them as county records.
Sunday (8-12-01), Too lazy. Good day for an afternoon nap.
Week ending 08-05-01
Another week of all work and no play! I saw 4 or 5 DOR Black Rat Snakes while I traveled to and from work.
I'm glad Joey has had time to do some herping, even if he is finding mostly dragonflies and tiger beetles.
The personnel of the web site hosting service for this site report having to fight off large numbers of attacks generated by the "Code Red" virus this week. This has resulted in denial of service to many visitors. Hopefully things will be better in the coming week. Also, inaddition to emails from persons seeking help in identifying snakes they have encountered, I have received numerous emails seeking to propagate the w32/sircam virus. If anyone wishes to send an email to the site I hope he/she will put enough in the "Re:" block to let me know the message is legitimate. If a message looks suspicious, I will not open it.
Week ending 08-05-01
We've had boiling hot clear weather, and cooler cloudy weather, and cloudy/humid/hot weather. Baby Skinks, Anoles, and Toads are everywhere. Red Admirals are very common Butterflies now.
Monday (7-30-01), A colleague stopped by. We herped around a bit in the river pasture, we saw tons of basking turtles (including a huge softshell) and my friend found an Eastern Kingsnake and a Brown Snake. I caught a few of Tiger Beetles (sexguttata, punctulata, and repanda). After supper and sunset, we took a little ride on the roads in Union County, SC and saw frogs/toads AOR and one Redbellied Watersnake. Not many herps, but a nice visit.
Tuesday (7-31-01), Did I do anything fun? Ordered some collecting vials and odonate envelopes from Bio-Quip.
Wednesday (8-1-01), Had my class set a funnel trap, on a local farm. Tons of Dragonflies, and we collected some.
Thursday (8-2-01), Checking the funnel trap, we had two smallish Midland Watersnakes, and collected some more Dragonflies.
Friday (8-3-01), Off work for the day. Loaded gear and kids (my son and nephew) into the truck and took off, pre-dawn. Stopped for coffee below Columbia and saw an Imperial Moth under the lights of the store. A good sign. We found our way to the national forest near Charleston. Kind of cool in the early morning. We flipped some tin..........nothing. Nothing crawling or flying so we took off up towards the Santee River and the Georgetown/Williamsburg/Berkley tri-county area. Saw a Yellow Billed Cuckoo at the bridge and a flock of 7 Wood Storks circling above the River. Dr Rutledge would have liked that. In Williamsburg County we caught a Great Blue Skimmer and Tiger Beetle (punctulata). In Georgetown County we caught Eastern Pondhawks and Tiger Beetles (punctulata), and in Berkley we caught Tiger Beetles (trifasciata) on the boat ramp. All good stuff.
We returned to our little "area" at the clearwater pond, and on our favorite road, we found lots of stuff (my appologies to the hard-core herpers but this is mostly bug stuff). On the road we found good Dragonflies including Swamp Darners and Great Blue Skimmers, Dashers, Slaty Skimmers, and Pondhawks, but still no snakes crawling (the water was very low). I mucked and raked a bit for Amphiumas but no luck. I did find a Bronze Frog under a log in a dry ditch. At the Clearwater Pond, we swam to cool off. by a brushy edge of the pond, I caught two Banded Watersnakes. The only snakes we saw the whole day. We did catch Tiger Beetles (trifasciata and Megacephala carolina). We also caught Halloween Pennant, Calico Pennant, Banded Pennant, Golden Winged Skimmers, Dashers and Pondhawks. Other sights we enjoyed in the area were Deer, Barred Owls, Pileated Woodpeckers, Redheaded Woodpeckers, Blue Herons, American Egrets, Snowy Egrets, and Osprey.
Eventually we had to leave but kept on working on the "bug collecting". At the boat ramp in Moncks Corner we got Golden-Winged Skimmers, a Four-Spotted Pennant. More Tiger Beeltes (M. carolina and C. trifasciata). We Stopped in Dorchester County and quickly caught a Pondhawk. Next was Orangeburg County where we caught Golden-Winged Skimmer. Then came Calhoun County where we found a Tiger Beetle (punctulata) and Halloween Pennant. Finally we stopped in Lexington County and found another punctulata and an Amanda Pennant. In all, we collected Tiger Beetles in 5 counties (3 species) and collected Dragonflies in 7 counties. Saw numerous turtles everywhere there was water, but few snakes (just the 2 Bandeds). We saw good birds, but few mammals. Invertebrates ruled the day and that was fine with us.
Saturday (8-4-01), Found a Hercules Beetle at the big truck/auto over by the interstate.
Sunday (8-5-01), Church and family day. DOR Copperhead along the way.
I had a nice week. Collected 3 new species of Dragonflies (new to me) and had fun with nature across the State. Not many snakes moving, but plenty of reasons to get outdoors.
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