SC Reptile and Amphibians


November 2002

Gene's notes

I did very little herping this month. I checked the spring well several times, but have not seen any Three-Lined Salamanders. I hope the local population has survived.

Using my digital camera, I made some higher quality images of captive Northern Pine Snake, Florida Cottonmouth, and Desert Kingsnake. I had someone request a good photo of a Cottonmouth display its namesake, warning gape. Unfortunately, the specimen was acustomed to being viewed and would only slightly crack its mouth. The closest view to a gape that I could get was a chin display.

I have been assembling a collection of pictures of non-native mammals and birds made at local zoos. I hope to add pages to link to these pictures during the winter months.

Also, I have added a new feature to the this website, Frequently Asked Questions. I've started with two questions that I get asked many times. I plan to expand the FAQ list as an on-going project.

Gene Ott


Joey's notes

Week ending 12-01-02

It is hard to believe that there are but 4 weeks left in the year. I can already find myself looking forward to 2003! Warm sunshine. Remote rivers. Boat landings. Dirt roads. It will be great!

For the here and now, very little is going on. On Sunday (12-1-02) I went to some local places. By the creek I found no Tiger Beetles, although I often see Cicindela repanda there at other times of the year. I went over to the River Pasture and found a Spotted Salamander. At the pond, some Ducks that appeared to me to be Gadwalls, but I was quite a distance and am not totally sure about this ID.

Throughout the week, I have seen assorted Anoles, Fence Lizards, and Ground Skinks, but that is about it for wild Reptiles. Other animals, birds in particular, have caught some of my attention. Here are a few I have noticed;

  • Gadwall Ducks
  • Great Blue Heron
  • Plover (species unknown)
  • Red-Tail Hawk
  • Belted Kingfisher
  • Pileated Woodpecker
  • Yellow-Shafted Flicker
  • Yellow-Bellied Sapsucker
  • Brown Creeper
  • Brown Thrasher
  • Eastern Bluebird
  • Slate-Colored Junco
  • Rufus-Sided Towhee
  • White-Throated Sparrow

Certainly others were seen, but did not stand out in my memory. I shall try to do a better job of keeping up with the Birds.

Week ending 11-24-02

This week I have had very little time to devote to the outdoors. I have had a ton of family obligations, and it gets dark early, so it is a little hard to make it into the wilderness.

The weather has been typical for this time of year, with some days pretty and some days not-so-pretty.

Wednesday (11-20-02), My birthday. I have made it 41 years! To treat myself, I went to the River Pasture. Checked under some logs for Salamanders, and under my favorite log, the "good log," was a Spotted Salamander. I didn't recognize his pattern and made some crude drawings. When I got home, I checked my notes on the Spots I had seen under that log and realized this was a new animal. A new friend. Neat. I will add him to the notes and know/keep up with him from now on. I also loaded up a bucket with cow poop.

Thursday (11-21-02), I took the cow poop to work. I thought I would give my students a chance to hunt Dung Beetles, even if we had to stay on campus. I told them I had brought them pies and muffins. They were happy. I told them it was cow pies and meadow muffins. Some were still excited and dug happily for their expected prey. We got a few small specimens, nothing major.

Sunday (11-24-02), Happy Birthday to my brother Jeff Holmes. Hope it was a good one!

Week ending 11-17-02

This week has proven to me that Autumn is here. The leaves are still pretty, various invertebrates are still around, but the cool is becoming cold.

Thursday (11-14-02), I had my class spend some time outdoors. We found some Ground Skinks, Green Anoles, and Fence Lizards, even collecting a few as feeder items. It is nice to be able to find three species of Reptiles at this date. Slimy Salamanders were also to be found under logs and coverboards in the forests. Not much else.

Throughout this week, Coopers Hawks, Red-Tailed Hawks, Pileated Woodpeckers, Blue Herons, Slate-Colored Juncos (another sure sign of the oncoming season) , Meadowlarks, and other birds have been around to help decorate the forests, fields and skies of my corner of South Carolina. I would like to spend more time Birding, and during the up-coming bleak of Winter, I may just do that.

Almost time for Spotted Salamanders!

Week ending 11-10-02

As the weeks pass, the fall leaves have become boldly colored with golds and reds. Simply beautiful! Those who don't take time to enjoy such wonders are surely missing out on something very special.

Thursday (11-7-02), Walking a bit on campus, we gathered lizards as feeder items and found Green Anoles, Ground Skinks, and Fence Lizards. We also found a Red-Spotted Newt and kept it for its poop and the snail shells that could be there.

Friday (11-8-02), Found an Assassin Bug (Wheel bug) in the back of my truck. I had almost put my hand right on him! That could have hurt.

Saturday (11-9-02), It was to be warm and partly cloudy, perhaps one of the last decent days of the year for rambling and collecting. Having never caught any sort of Tiger Beetle in Orangeburg County, We made it our destination. We refers to my son, my nephew, and myself. On the way we hit a couple of spots in Lexington County that looked right for snakes (another goal) but came up empty handed. We also passed a great looking area of open dirt/sand along the road and stopped. Just couldn't pass it up. It yielded several Tiger Beetles, Cicindela tranquebarica. I was glad to get this species in Lexington. I also saw a lone Dragonfly, likely a Wandering Glider, but failed to collect it. Gulf Fritilaries were seen frequently here, and throughout the day. Moving on into Orangeburg County we stopped near the little town of North, and on a sandy road under a powerline, I collected two Cicindela punctulata and a neat little Dung Beetle. Around the corner, at a cemetery, I got another Dung Beetle. Both of them were found while they were out rambling, looking for dung, I guess. We explored further south and at one old farmhouse, I turned some trash/debris and found a Southeastern Crowned Snake. It was getting rather cloudy, not good for Beetling, so we headed back towards the interstate, but did spend a few minutes in the edge of Calhoun County. Just long enough to catch a little brown Cicindela punctulata and a lovely green Cicindela scutellaris. Along the way we saw a Raccoon and Fox Squirrel, both pretty neat mammals. Herps noted include Southern Toad, Green Anoles, Fence Lizards, and Ground Skinks. I think its great that we can continue to enjoy such a diverse assortment of Herptiles at this point in the year.

Sunday (11-10-02), Warm and with rains coming in, it could have been a nice day for Amphibians, Salamanders in particular, but I didn't make it over to the river to look.

Take care and enjoy the beauty of nature!

Joey Holmes

Updated December 9, 2002
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