SC Reptiles and Amphibians


May 2009

Gene's Notes:

May was warm and sufficiently wet. Roses were beautiful for Mothers' Day.

On May 3rd, as I drove across the dam of the farm pond I saw Yellowbelly Sliders basking on the rock. Movement in the water to my right drew my attention. There were two large Snapping Turtles wrestling. They had made their bodies buoyant and bobbed on the surface. They could have been two males combating, but it looked more like a mating pair. I had never observed this behavior before.

In early May, the Eastern Kingsnakes in my area of the Piedmont suddenly decided it was time to mate. On May 3rd Win reported seeing three DOR Kingsnakes while driving to Greenwood. The next day I saw four DOR Kingsnakes on the road to Newberry.

Yellowbelly Sliders, Trachemys s. scripta Snapping Turtles, Chelydra serpentina

Throughout the month, the song birds have been busy raising their young.

Eastern Kingbird, Tyrannus tyrannus Eastern Phoebe, Sayornis phoebe

On Saturday, May 09th, I participated in a South Carolina Association of Naturalists (SCAN) field trip to the Cracker Neck Wildlife Management Area in Aiken County. The property is located on the Savannah River Site. It was a beautiful day and I was primed to see many herps. On my trip down, I unavoidably ran over a Slender Glass Lizard crossing the road. On Cracker Neck, the only herps I saw were an Alligator, Six-lined Racerunner, Green Anole, and Southern Toad. Others saw a Cottonmouth and a probable Black Racer. Even though I did not find many herps, I really enjoyed the outing and the BBQ we ate afterwards.

Win made two herp presentations during May, one to a school and the other to a 4H group.

My most intensive herping outing was the annual trip to the Francis Marion National Forest. We had great success during this event. I have posted notes at Under A Low Country Moon 2009.

Before returning home, I visited the gardens at Mepkin Abbey, a Trappist Monastery located near Moncks Corner, SC. There are two awesome woodcarvings made from the remnants of ancient Oak Trees. One is a nativity scene shown below. The other is a crucifixion scene.

Six-lined Racerunner, Aspidocelis s. sexlineata

Wood Carving at Mepkin Abby, Moncks Corner, SC

While on the herping event in the National Forest, a friend was looking for Fairy Shrimp in roadside pools. I was not familiar with these creatures. Serendipitously, the next week Win brought me some Fairy Shrimp that he found in a ditch at a boat landing.

Fairy Shrimp

June 02, 2009
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