SC Reptile and Amphibians


September 2002

Week ending 09-29-02

Gene's notes

From a herping viewpoint the month ended like it began, very sparse. I do not think I have ever experienced a summer with such a dirth of herps. The Spring was wet and very promising. What a contrast. I saw a couple DOR black snakes this week.

On a positive note, I did get some good bird images and posted them on the SC Birds pages. I also posted a few additional mammal pictures of the SC Mammals pages.

Gene Ott


Joey's notes

This week has seen moderate temps. Some substantial rain also.

Monday (9-23-02), Cool and rainy, we flipped tin on campus. Found no snakes. Just Skinks, Toads, Slimy Salamanders, and Insects.

Wednesday (9-25-02), Yard work after work. Checked my tin.; Slimy Salamanders.

Thursday (9-26-02), Load camping gear.

Friday (9-27-02), Saturday (9-28-02) and Sunday (9-29-02), With the Trooper loaded with camping gear, nets, hooks, kayak, etc., the Holmes family took off after work towards the Clemson area. We met with various In-Laws to enjoy the weekend on Lake Hartwell. The weather was pleasant, food was good, and everyone was happy.

On Saturday morning, I broke away from camp and prowled the lake edge for Tiger Beetles. Found Cicindela repandas in good numbers, but I was happier with a C. trifasciata (glad to get this one in Pickens County).

Later, I ran off again. This time looking for Herps (wanting to catch a snake in Anderson county). I found Six-Lined Racerrunners and Fence Lizards. Saw a Grey Fox dart across the road, and rescued two college-boys who got their SUV stuck (down a dirt road). Just didn't catch a snake, although I did find a DOR Copperhead and Black Racer. My Anderson County snake will have to wait. Butterflies were enjoyable. We saw tons of Sulfurs, Buckeyes, Gulf Fritillaries, Great Spangled Fritillaries, and Monarchs. All very nice. Nice trip.

Hope to get outdoors some next week. I'd like to try some different areas. We'll see.

Joey Holmes

Week ending 09-22-02

Gene's notes

Thursday (9-19-02): Finally! I saw my first live snake on the roads in about 2 months. It was a young Copperhead, about 30 inches. I saw it at dusk as I returned home from work. Later, I cruised a little but saw no more snakes.

Sunday (9-22-02): While driving on family errands, I saw 2 DOR Copperheads and 1 DOR Redbelly Water Snake.

Gene Ott


Joey's notes

I hope you have all had a good week. This week has had its share of rain and it seems the intense heat of summer is over. Gulf Fritilaries are the Butterflies I see a lot now. Very pretty.

Monday (9-16-02), Following the weekend rains, the Enoree River was swollen and out of its banks in several parts of the floodplain. I have always enjoyed herpng around high water, as it seems the animals get displaced and are easily found, so off I go to the river pasture after work. I saw lots of Mallard and Wood Ducks, but it was not birds I was after. In several flooded areas of the pasture, bubbles came from the bottom of placid water. This seemed odd, but I suppose underground chambers, such as Mole tunnels, were filling with water, and air was escaping. I caught and released a few common Tiger Beetles (Cicindela repanda), but I was after herptiles. I found Southern Leopard Frogs and Green Frogs and these jumped quickly into the water. Eastern River Cooters were trying to keep out of the main current and were easy to spot near the edge, but as usual, hard to approach.

Tuesday (9-17-02), Not much excitement.

Wednesday (9-18-02), Northern Brown Snake, under a rock, on campus

Thursday (9-19-02), After work, I went over to Whitmire (in neighboring Newberry County) for a few minutes and collected a Tiger Beetle (Cicindela tranquebarica). When I got home and checked the mail, I found a box from a friend. It had a couple of Tiger Beetles (Cicindela formosa) for my collection. Very pretty beetles.

Friday (9-20-02), At work, inside, the Everglades Ratsnakes started to hatch. Outside, we found an Eastern Wormsnake under coverboards.

Saturday (9-21-02), Bought a new tent (now I MUST go camping). Otherwise cool and rainy.

Sunday (9-22-02), Cool and Rainy, I caught a Black Racer under some tin in Laurens County.

Now Summer is over. What natural wonders will Autumn hold?

Joey Holmes

Weeks ending 09-08-02 and 09-15-02


















Gene's notes

My free time continues to be in short supply and I find myself posting weekly notes late. Unfortunately, there has not been much herp activity to report. We did receive some much needed rain, prompting local Box Turtles and frogs into action. However, local snake activity is still very low. I did manage to take some good pictures of Wild Turkeys and Whitetail Deer which I will soon post.

On the otherhand, the number of emails asking for help in identifying snakes and reporting snake sightings has increased. It is good to know there are some places with snakes!

I received an email from Sumter reporting that a juvenile Mediterranean Gecko was found in the wild. It will be interesting to learn whether a sustainable population is being formed in Sumter as occurred in the Charleston area.

Gene Ott


Joey's notes

Week ending 09-8-02

Warm-hot again. Water levels at local rivers & ponds are still down.

Monday (9-2-01), Walking on campus with a class, we found the expected lizards and toads. We even saw a Black Racer, but he was alert. Enough said?

Tuesday (9-3-02), Nothing noteworthy.

Wednesday (9-4-02), Uncovered an Eastern Worm Snake under a rock. Again, on campus

Thursday (9-5-02), Nothing noteworthy

Friday (9-6-02), The darkest night of the month, and quite possibly the last good month of road cruising for 2002. I still needed to catch a snake in Chester County. Road cruising in some Sumter National Forest lands, I got my snake, a Copperhead, at 9:50 PM. He was a big one; 40-41-42 inches long, but VERY lean. I fear that he will not survive the winter. Too bad. But nature will have its way. With my goal for the evening met, fifteen minutes later I stopped at a store, and got my second victory of the night; a live male Hercules Beetle (Dynastes tityus). Good score! My first live male Hercules of the year. Glad to get it in Chester County as well.

Saturday (9-7-02), Off to Ashville, NC to see my brother (a fine musician and herper himself) perform at the Gray Eagle. Of course I stared off the road as we traveled, and longed to explore the fields and forest we passed. The show was fine and worth staying up late for.

Sunday (9-8-02), Having spent the night in Ashville, we rambled a bit in the mountains. I found places that might be good to hunt for Snakes and Tiger Beetles, should I return. And I hope to!

Week ending 08-11-02

Week ending 9-15-02

Week ending 09-15-02

This week has seen little time for outdoors. I have observed that the seasons are changing. Temperatures are lower, and sunset is earlier. Almost time for Autumn.

Wednesday (9-11-02), Smooth Earth Snake on Campus, Grey Fox crosses the road as I ramble after dark.

Thursday (9-12-02), A different Smooth Earth Snake on Campus. We spent a great deal of class time cleaning the pool in the outdoor Caiman pen. Messy work, but needing to be done. I collected some Tiger Beetles (Cicindela repanda) after work to set up in an aquarium in my classroom. I also spend a lot of time thinking about what this day/date means. There is almost no way to get it out of my mind.

Friday (9-13-02), My students enjoyed setting up the Tiger Beetles in a aquarium in the classroom. We even got to see them eat several flies (easily collected with bug nets at the compost pile). Really neat, and I am surprised I have never kept these creatures before. Out after dark, the roads were cluttered with frogs and toads, but no snakes. I did get to see a Barred Owl come down right in front of my truck, grab a prey item (likely a frog) off the road, and take off with it. NEAT!

Saturday (9-14-02) and Sunday (9-15-02), We received lots of wonderful rain. This should do much for rejuvenating the environment. A benefit to wildlife, flora, and mankind.

Still lots to look forward to. Many species of herptiles are active in Fall. Several species of insects are only found in Fall. Camping is pleasant. Still a lot to do, a lot to enjoy.

October 08, 2002
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