At sunset, little ghosts and goblins prowl the streets, in search of candy. In Churchill, Manitoba their fathers accompany them, with loaded rifles. Churchill is on the western shore of Hudson Bay, along a Polar Bear migration route! The bears are frequently seen in and around town this time of year! Here in South Carolina, things are a good bit milder.
Monday (10-25-04), Mild indeed, I hear an Upland Chorus Frog singing from the forest on campus. The boys find a Brown Snake on the lawn at work. At home I find my little Copperhead quietly coiled under the sheet of tin he has chosen as his home.
Tuesday (10-26-04), I stopped by a tin site in Laurens County as I was driving home from work. Found an adult Black Ratsnake under a sheet of tin. At home, I found the little Copperhead under a sheet of tin (sounds familiar).
Wednesday (10-27-04), I took a stroll around the pond after work. Bullfrogs, Cricket Frogs, Green Treefrogs were all there, but I really got a kick out of the tiny (newly emerged) Narrowmouth Toad I found under debris near the pond. Super cool little creature! Here at home, my tin produced the little Copperhead, Ground Skinks, Slimy Salamanders, Vole, and a Chipmunk.
Thursday (10-28-04), On the way to work, I stopped for my morning coffee and found a neat Stick-Insect on the store-front. After work, I had a short visit with the little Copperhead under my (his) tin.
Friday (10-29-04), During the day, in addition to regular animal care, my students and I packed up stuff needed for my booth at the Reptiles/Exotic Pet Expo in Greenville. After work, I ran up to Greenville and set up my booth. I would be selling frozen mice (we took our tiny classroom freezer and plugged it in right there at the booth), baby Corn Snakes, baby Yellow Ratsnakes, a Short-tail Python, and an African Rock Python. This effort was to raise money for my Wildlife Science classes at Piedmont Wilderness Institute. I even had a neat Jack-O-Lantern with bugs (from stencils) and the letters “P W I” carved into it (Halloween, you know)!
Saturday (10-30-04), The show opened and thousands of people came pouring in. I saw some old friends and we even made some sales. Lots of vendors were present. There were the expected boas/pythons/colubrids/lizards/turtles/frogs, as well as tarantulas and scorpions, at the show. LOTS of venomous stuff was there too! Cobras (assorted species), Rattlers (assorted species), Gaboons, Copperheads, etc! There are very few restrictions on this stuff in SC, and I hope these folks keep themselves off the evening news. Lots of the animals there were captive bred. Lots of stuff was obviously wild-caught. What breaks my heart is some of the EASTERN MILKS I have seen, WILD CAUGHT IN SC! And what appeared to be a WC SOUTHERN HOGNOSE! WC TIMBER RATTLERS! Snakes I have spent years looking for without success, and some of these people treat them like routine merchandise! #$@#$% &*. When I got home, I went out back and checked on my little Copperhead. I pondered his life in my woods, and vowed that he would not be sold in a tupperware container at a show somewhere. I find a lot of snakes, but keep very few, most for photography or breeding purposes. In the massive pet market, captive bred is the ONLY way to go!
Sunday (10-31-04), I checked my Copperhead before heading to the show. The little guy was basking right at the edge of his sheet of tin. I wished him a good day and left for Greenville. I noticed a Broad-Winged Hawk on a power line as I drove along. I seldom see these and it was nice to get a look at this incredible predator. At the show we made some sales (a non-profit organization like PWI has do what it can to raise funds), and made some friends. We sold out of live snakes, but did not get rid of all the frozen mice. Oh well, my stuff at work will eat well! I did some shopping myself, and got a little Blackneck Gartersnake and a baby California Kingsnake. By the way, I asked before I bought them, if they were wild-caught or captive-bred!
Ready for November?