SC Reptiles and Amphibians


April 2008

Gene's Notes:

On April 2nd, I found a DOR baby Redbelly Water Snake close to the same location near the farm where I had found one two weeks ago.

I missed a planned trip with the SC Association of Naturalists on April 5th to view Congaree River bluffs in Calhoun County due to bad weather. With better weather the next day, I visited Greenwood State Park. I found a dozen or so, Midland Water Snakes basking on the riprap near the Park's exhibit building. With slow movements, I was able to get very close to the snakes and snap some good images. Green Anoles and Five-lined Skinks were also active on the rocks.

Saturday afternoon, April 5th, yielded another round of bad storms. On his way home from work, Win found the road blocked by a lightning-struck tree felled only about two miles away. The next day I snapped an image of the tree after the road had been cleared. The lightning really splintered the tree's trunk.

Friday, April 11th, was probably the warmest day of the year so far. My grandson, age 4.5, came for a weekend visit. He caught a large male Five-lined Skink in the flower garden. After dark, I took him to the farm pond to look for toads and frogs. Fowlers Toads are the principal breeders at the pond now. Spring Peepers are still singing. We found numerous Fowlers Toads. I let him catch two. I found a Spring Peeper singing on a tree limb. After photographing him, I caught him and put him in my grandson's collection box. After a few minutes of captivity, the Peeper escaped when my grandson tried to take it out of the box. We saw two Mud Turtles hunting in the water at the pond's edge. I caught one to keep for photographing later. About midnight, a cold front passed through bringing much lightning.

Sunday afternoon, April 13th, I visited the Saluda River park at Ware Shoals. It was a beautiful afternoon and numerous River Cooters were basking on the rocks. There were a few Mallard ducklings and Canada goslings cavorting with their parents.

Thursday, April 17th, Win caught an Eastern Garter Snake to use in an upcoming "snake talk."

Friday, April 18th, was another warm spring day. Win and his son, Wolf, helped me plant some corn. Later, Win and Wolf searched around the farm for animals. They dip netted some crayfish and tadpoles and caught a Northern/Midland Watersnake.

My wife and I spent the weekend in Aiken, SC to celebrate my birthday. Aiken is a beautiful, bustling city. I did not see any herps on the trip, but on the return Sunday, April 20th, near home I saw a large, silver-gray DOR Corn Snake.

The following workday week was warm and sunny. Daytime temperatures were in the 80s and the early evenings were warm enough for snake activity. I made several cruises of local roads, finding DOR Black Racers, Black Rats, Garter, and Corn Snakes. I am really hoping to find a live local Corn Snake this year. In the 1990s, Corn Snakes were common, but have been hard to find in recent years.

Saturday, April 26th, I rode all three of my three grandchildern in a small wagon pulled by the lawn tractor. First, we visited Win's two-week old chicks which he is raising. On the return trip to my house, we found an adult Mole King Snake on a shady part of the path.

Sunday morning, April 27th, my wife and I took Wolf around local roads. It had rained during the night, so I hoped to find a Box Turtle on the road. Much to Wolf's delight, we did find one.

In mid afternoon, with rain threatening, I rode around the farm looking for wild flowers. I found a patch of atamasco lilies growing at the foot of an American Beech on a steep hillside. After photographing several other wildflowers, I found myself in a Spring downpour of rain. As I crossed a paved road which passes through part of the farm, I spotted a large Black Rat Snake hurrying across the road.

The final three days of April were unseasonably cold.

Tuesday, April 29th, I saw a large Snapping Turtle on the side of a busy road in Greenwood. There was no safe place for me to stop, so much to my regret I left the turtle to its fate.

On the frog front, Cricket Frogs began singing about mid month. At month's end, Fowler's Toads and Gray Treefrogs were finishing and Green Frogs and Bullfrogs were beginning.

Wednesday, April 30th, we awoke to a light frost on the farm. I hope this is the last freezing weather until next fall.


April 30, 2008
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