CSC – Project Noah Snake Count is Over…but Keep on Herpin’
The Spring Snake Count is over and data is still trickling in…but WOW!!!! We really rocked this one! My last post was on Day 2 of the count and we had at that time 1,842 snake spottings and 782 users. This week finds us at 2143 spottings, upping our total by over 300 snakes! We now have 813 PN users, an addition of 31 new spotters. Stay tuned for future updates!
We will be featuring more snakes and stories from our members in the coming weeks. Please feel free to write up your snake count experience and send it to me at email@example.com Your story/comments may be featured!
The very first Project Noah Snake Count Meetup was not quite the huge success we had planned. We had good initial interest in the event but as the event got closer and folks realized it was Memorial Day Weekend, we were quickly left with a core group of 5 people: myself, Project Noah Community Director – Karen Loughrey Richard, new PN member Daniel Pinkston and local Illinois resident and PN member Jeremy Schumacher with his son Joseph.
We left our camp and arrived at Snake Road shortly after 9:00 am to meet Jeremy and Joseph. In an ironic twist of fate, Snake Road was less than hospitable. Four hours of braving the swarms of black flies flying up our noses, into our mouths, eyes and ears and the mosquitoes feasting like royals upon us was more than we could tolerate after only finding a red eft, long-tailed salamander, several cave salamanders, a Southern leopard frog, several Northern cricket frogs, 3 Western ribbonsnakes, Eastern fence lizard, 1 broad-headed skink and 1 small ring-necked snake. I would post photos here now, but in an act of total insanity I had left my camera back at our camp. Both Karen and Daniel each loaned me a camera, but I have not gotten the photos back as yet. But here are a couple of Karen’s wonderful pix of the Snake Road critters.
Friend and fellow herp photographer Jake Scott and girlfriend Lindsay arrived in time to help locate and photograph the western ribbonsnakes, but were also overwhelmed by the biting nasties! We decided to call it quits and try another location for our afternoon activities. Jake, Lindsay, Jeremy and Joseph headed off to search for spotted dusky salamanders and we decided to try our luck a little to the west after a bite to eat and a short nap.
On our way to Horseshoe Lake, we spotted a freshly killed yellow-bellied watersnake…not the turn we were hoping for that Saturday afternoon. But shortly after turning onto the lake side drive, I spotted a western cottonmouth basking on a log just out of reach. Daniel was ready to get out and see some action and had barely taken 2 steps when he came upon a very large plain-bellied watersnake that was just going blue before shed. She was quite the beauty with a lot of color on the belly but not enough to make us think a copper-bellied. After consulting via text with Jeremy, we determined that she was very likely an intergrade between the yellow-bellied and copper-bellied.
Here is Daniel with a very large plain-bellied water snake that he is holding while Karen photographs it. There was an older couple in the truck behind him. They were utterly fascinated by us, but wanted nothing to do with the snake when Daniel started towards their truck. LOL
Unfortunately, we saw no more snakes this day and decided to head back to Tennessee on Sunday and cut our losses. Just on a hunch, after I parked the Jeep, I went to check under my tin…Sure enough I found 2 ring-necked snakes! Home is not only where the heart is, but it is also where the snakes are!