SC Reptiles and Amphibians


October thru December 2007

Gene's Notes:

The exceptionally warm, dry weather continued throughout October and November. We received about 0.5 inch of rain in October and only 0.25 inch in November. December brought a half dozen days with low temperatures in the 20s F and several in the teens. Over 4 inches of rainfall brought much needed relief. Green grass began to show in the pastures. Herp activity continued to be repressed throughout fall. I saw my last local snake on December 3rd. It was a Brown Snake on my garage driveway.

October began with the unexpected death of a dear family friend. On October 7th I had the opportunity to visit to Huntington Beach State Park on the coast. As expected alligators were active. I was able to get some good images of wading birds, including Wood Storks, Snowey Egrets, and Tri-colored Herons.

On November 10th, I participated in a field trip of the South Carolina Assiociation of Naturalists to Little Mountain, SC. We were warmly welcomed by the Town, provided the opportunity to visit the unusual local geology, and fed a delicious BBQ lunch. The only herps I noted were a dead Garter Snake, numerous Cricket Frogs, and a Box Turtle. The dead Garter was off trail, near a creek. At first look I thought it had been killed by a person, but upon reconsideration, I think it may have been partially eaten and dropped by a disturbed hawk or owl.

View From Atop Little Mountain

In mid November, daytime temperatures were still in the high 70s F, so I decided to make a day-trip to the Sandhills in and around Aiken County. My prime objective was to capture a Cottonmouth and pose it for a specific image I had in mind. I didn't see a single live snake. The most noteworthy herp observation was of Green Anoles. At one wetland road crossing, almost every guard rail post was claimed by a single lizard.

Back on the farm, I found numerous nests of Golden Mice while mowing the bottomlands. The bottoms were covered by thickets of briars with canes stretching at least 10 feet above the ground. I have been searching without luck for a Golden Mouse to photograph for the last several years. I found 2 mice in separate nests but was not successful in capturing either.

Golden Mouse Nest

My family had a big Thanksgiving Dinner. Much of December was devoted to family events, including 3 birthdays, parades, breakfast with Santa, and Christmas.

My major project for the last few months has been the preparation of a photography book about snakes. It is almost finished and I hope to have it published early in 2008.

Gene Ott


January 01, 2008
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