Several years ago, I was going through my records, and realized that I had caught snakes in quite a few of the 46 counties in South Carolina. I thought it might be a good idea to catch a snake in EVERY county. Most were a matter of time, and a visit or two. The other week, when I scored in Edgefield, I then had only one county to go, Barnwell.
Monday (9-27-04), I was off work, another hurricane/tropical storm (Jeanne) was approaching. A perfect time to go herping! I reasoned that terrestrial, diurnal snakes would be hunkered down, under cover (tin/debris). I also reasoned that the under-ground snakes would be flooded out of their burrows and may be under tin/debris also. I could hunt in a hat/poncho, and bring a change of clothes/shoes. It might work. I needed to go to an area with lots of stuff to flip/turn. I called Tony Mills in Aiken, and he was game to spend some time outside in the storm, herping. I drove down, we met and hit the woods immediately. We found Slimy Salamanders and Southern Toads, Skinks, Anoles, Fence Lizards and Racerunners. We also found snakes. A Corn Snake and three Black Racers, all under coverboards/tin. My theory proving sound. We then ventured into nearby Barnwell County, to a spot of private property, and hit a large stack of tin. We peeled back the sheets one-by-one, and there, near the bottom of the stack was my BARNWELL COUNTY SNAKE! A Hognose! Patterned! Dare I dream it to be a Southern? I grabbed it up (it musked and pooped on me instantly) and checked. Eastern Hognose! Oh well, it was pretty, I have not caught a Hognose this year, and best of all, it was in BARNWELL COUNTY! Tony had to get back to work after that, and I rambled on alone. Five minutes later I found a DOR Canebrake Rattler. It was an adult, in good condition, so I salvaged it for a specimen. Here and there I go. I found another Black Racer, out crawling in wind and rain. I also found more lizards and even some Tiger Beetles (Cicindela tranquebarica, punctulata, and scutellaris). More wind, more rain, more driving. It turned out to be a 260 mile day but well worth it, because now I can say, “I have caught a snake in EVERY county in the state of South Carolina!”
Tuesday (9-28-04), At work, my Bullsnake eggs are pipping!
Wednesday (9-29-04), All 4 of my Bullsnakes eggs have hatched and the babies look good! At home, under my tin, I find the female Mole Kingsnake from last week and October of 2003. She had shed, and looked very good (she was about 30 yards from where she was released 8 days ealier).
Thursday (9-30-04), Laurens, SC begins its annual festival (every small town has to have a festival) called the “Squealin’ on the Square”. It is a BBQ festival! I could not have asked for a better theme!
Friday (10-1-04), More BBQ! I helped judge some of the seafood entries (this is the SC BBQ Championships).
Saturday (10-2-04), More BBQ! Beef brisket, pork loin, Boston butt, funnel cakes, etc, etc, etc!
Sunday (10-3-04), Recovering from a BBQ over-dose. I checked my tin, Nothing. I did not even care. It was a VERY good week.
SPECIAL THANKS TO TONY MILLS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!