Herping in Hellhole with Holmes - 2004

By Gene Ott

Sunday morning, May 23, 2004

We turned onto Hellhole Road shortly before 9 A.M. In the road we found a Flordia Cooter.

At the campground, I photographed the Glossy Crayfish Snake. Then those stalwarts who showed up, divided into two groups and set out for cruising. This time we headed out before Jeff. Patsy had a small rubber snake which she marked with the word Holmes. We placed it strategically on the road for Jeff to find. Jeff later grudgingly admitted to "catching" it.

Ahead in the road we saw a Great Blue Heron lift off. There was a black creature in the middle of the road. It was a Bowfin Fish. Apparently the Heron had dropped it in its retreat.

After releasing the Glossy Crayfish Snake. We visited the location of the battling Cottonmouths again. The water level in the small pools had receded noticeably. Foraging in the pool was a small adult Cottonmouth.

Under a piece of trash in the pool, we found an emerging Carpenter Frog.

Farther down the road, we found a Yellowbelly Slider in the road. A large dead Pine Tree had fallen across the road. The portion that had been in the roadway had been removed to allow traffic. We searched under the log and debris. We found a small Slimy Salamander (our only salamander find of the weekend), an Eastern Narrowmouthed Toad, many newly emerged Southern Toads, a Ground Skink, and an Eastern Worm Snake.

While at the log, Jeff and his group joined us. Jeff reported that he had seen a very large Cottonmouth in a roadside pool that he had waded in. He offered to show us the Cottonmouth.

Upon arriving at the pool, we did not immediately see the large Cottonmouth. However, we did spot a nonvenomous water snake. Win waded in and caught it. A beautiful, gravid Banded Water Snake. Jeff spotted the Cottonmouth on the other side of the road. The old Cottonmouth was missing its right eye.

This ended our wonderful weekend herping in Hellhole with Holmes. I hope I will be able to return next year. Thank you Jeff!

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May 31, 2004
Contact: South Carolina Reptiles and Amphibians