SC Reptiles and Amphibians


August 2008

Gene's Notes:

We finally received some rain on August 13th. It was a long gentle rain amounting to maybe 0.5 inch maximum. It was very welcomed. Until that time, we had not had any rain since the approximately 1.25 inches on July 22-23. The temperatures in early August topped 100 F on several days. Baby Five-lined Skinks and Six-lined Racerunners (right) have been scurrying about. On August 14th, I saw my first newborn Fence Lizard of the season basking on the front porch of my home.

On Saturday, August 02nd, I startled an adult Redbelly Water Snake (left) that was basking on the edge of the farm pond. It entered the water and waited a moment to see what my intentions were. This gave me a chance to capture its image.

On Tuesday, August 05th, I visited Bakers Creek State Park on Lake Thurmond in McCormick County. At the boat launch area, I saw a large Eastern Garter Snake poking its head out from between a railroad tie and a concrete pad near the restrooms. On the lake I saw an adult and a juvenile Bald Eagle. That evening, Win reported seeing a DOR Armadillo on the road in southern Greenwood County. The next day, while cleaning and weeding in the area of my household trash cans, I found a adult Brown Snake.

On Saturday, August 09th, Win snapped an image of a Beaver living in a small rock cave exposed by the lowered water level in Lake Thurmond.

On Tuesday, August 12th, I decided to look around areas of Abbeville and McCormick County near Lakes Russell and Thurmond. Unlike the preceding days in August, temperatures this day were comfortable, hovering in the 70s F. I visited the Lake Russell Dam overlook (below), Calhoun Falls State Recreation Area, and areas of the Sumter National Forest. The only sighting of particular interest was a yellow-colored Red Fox crossing the road.

In the morning hours of Wednesday, August 13th, much of the Piedmont received a little gentle rain and much lower temperatures. In late afternoon, after the sunshine appeared again, I rode around local roads. I did not see anything noteworthy until I turned onto my driveway and found a young adult Black Rat Snake.

In the evening of Saturday, August 16th, a thunderstorm dropped about an inch of much needed rain on the farm and vicinity. The next evening I cruised local roads. I found an adult Black Rat Snake on the side of the road. The snake was lying in an unusually smooth pose but did not appear to have been harmed. I decided to keep the snake overnight for later photographing. I placed it in a box and continued cruising. In late afternoon the next day, I got the snake out and placed it on a limb of a Honey Locust Tree. I figured the ripening locust fruit would make an interesting backdrop. I looped the snake over the limb and expected it to begin climbing. The snake opened its mouth and looked as if it were going to strike. Then the snake dropped to the ground and began violently writhing in a corkscrew fashion, like the spiraling ribbon of a rhythmic gymnast. My first thought was that somehow the snake had gotten a thorn stuck in its mouth. A second thought was that this snake looked like an Eastern Hognose Snake faking a death seizure. I picked up the snake and began cleaning debris from its mouth and searching for a thorn. The snake began going limp in my hands and barely moved when I placed it on the ground again. The snake looked as if it was dying. I decided to keep it overnight for observation. The next morning, the snake could only writhe feebly. It was certainly dying. I believe the snake must have been injured in the head before I found it and truly did suffer a seizure when I tried to photograph it.

On Tuesday, August 19th, while trimming grass at the edge of our flower garden, I saw one of the small brown snakes, possibly an Earth Snake, hurry out of my path. The next morning I found a dead newborn Brown Snake on the pavement bordering the flower garden. I am afraid that I must have killed it while using the weeder.

On Tuesday night, August 26th, some remnants of tropical storm Fay dropped about 1.5 inches of rain on the farm. The ground was so dry that almost no runoff occurred. The potential for more rain lingered the next day, but only a sprinkle came.

On Wednesday afternoon, August 27th, Win spotted a large Snapping Turtle crossing his yard moving away from the farm pond. The turtle was the same size as the one he saw in late June which moved into the pond. We suspect it was the same turtle.

September 09, 2008
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