Saturday, April 27, 2024

Herping at Bull Mills


Red milksnake - Lampropeltis triangulum

(Guest Blog by Dave Shanholtzer)

I had a great day Wednesday exploring Bull Mills with Kevin from the SWMO Herp Society.  We flipped the first tin behind the barn and immediately found a yellow-bellied racer. 

Yellow-bellied Racer
We moved to the three stacks of tin I separated out along the fence behind the barn and in the first one found a red milk snake and between the three stacks over 20 ringneck snakes!  We also found a broadhead skink and five-lined skink. 

Slimy salamander with a nursery web spider

On the glade we found prairie lizards and a box turtle.  Under an old fiberglass boat in the small field below the glade we found two huge black rat snakes.  In the woods north of the cabin we found another box turtle, an Ozarks zig-zag salamander, and a western slimy salamander.  

Rat snake hunting in the barn rafters

Back at the barn we found another huge black rat snake in the rafters and our first yellow-bellied racer had a friend under another piece of tin behind the barn.  No timber rattlesnakes, pygmy rattlesnakes, or copperheads unfortunately. 

Finally we moved a few sheets of tin at the back of the barn, placing them along the fence to make a spot for timber rattlesnakes near where one was last year.  Now they have lots of cover for us to check. 

Editor's note:

Dave specializes in finding our timber rattlesnakes which seem to appear when he comes for a visit.  I may go a few years without seeing one, then he comes down and sees one on our drive.  Here was a Video on our driveway a few years ago.  Notice the rattle is immediately above the head, as a defensive position if a predator went after the source of sound.

Black rat snakes are our most common species, probably because they live in our cabin, house, and barn where we are likely to encounter them.  Search the blog for "rat snake" for lots more stories.

What is a stream?

What actually defines a stream?  Is it the water flowing on the edge of a bank or a gravel bar?  Does it extend below the gravel and into the soil among the tree roots overhanging the water's edge.  Dr. Deb Finn raises these interesting questions in the Missouri State Mind's Eye.

You can read the story at this Mind's Eye link.  Then for more information on Corethella kipferi, see this 2022 Blog.