SC Reptiles and Amphibians


May 2007

Gene's Notes:

Daylight hours were warm during most of May; however, temperatures dropped quickly at sunset. These cool temperatures discouraged nighttime wanderings by snakes, but days were productive.

At least three different adult Redbelly Watersnakes were seen at our small farm pond. In fact, on May 10th, I lifted a piece of sheet metal that we keep at the pond side and found two adult males and an adult female. On other ocassions, the adult males could be spotted cruising in the pond during the day.

Mole King Snakes usually begin showing up in the roads during May, but this year I did not see any during the month. My guess is that the cool temperatures after dark discouraged the Moles. I did find three DOR Cornsnakes locally. I cruised roads at twilight hoping to find a live one, but had no luck.

Last year, Win and I noted that Eastern Kingsnakes were found in larger numbers than usual. The same is true for this year. The young male Eastern Kingsnakes that Win found in April under a piece of plywood near the work sheds continues to visit the same hideway. We saw it under the plywood on several ocassions.

Black Racers were the most commonly seen species during May. A few Black Ratsnakes began showing up; more frequently toward the end of the month.

Win has been raising chickens at the farm for the first time. He started with 15 hens and 15 roosters. All has gone well. On May 10th, I helped Win and Hope harvest five of the roosters for meat. The birds were smaller than wished, so he has decided to let the other ten roosters grow.

On May 11th, I found an adult female Smooth Earth Snake alive on the road at midday.

On May 12, Win and his Brother-in-law, Paul, made an interesting discovery. Investigating the remains of an old house site, they found a Black Vulture nest hidden in a length of large diameter pipe partially hidden it kudzu. There were two young, but very large, nestlings. The birds hissed and growled.

On local roads I also found DOR a Brown Snake, Rough Green Snake, and two Copperheads. These were the only Copperheads that I saw locally during the month. Another indication of the cool nighttime temperatures.

The big herping event of the month was the annual gathering in Francis Marion National forest, May 25 - 27. We all had a wonderful time. Hope and Win had the best finds for the weekend. Hope found a Scarlet Kingsnake and Win captured a Siren, probably the Lesser species. I took some interesting pictures, such as a Cottonmouth caught in an abandoned fishtrap. We also saw several dead Alligators. The one I personally found appeared to have been shot. Win saw a number of wild pigs. I recorded sightings of 21 snakes and Win recorded 13. Five Banded Watersnakes headed my list count, and Black Racers and Cottonmouths at four each, tied for second place. I will be writing a special account about the weekend and will post a notice of it on the "What's New" page.

Gene Ott


June 18, 2007
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