My first Michigan snake species...

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My first Michigan snake species...

Postby croteseeker » Tue May 28, 2013 1:20 am

Well, the snow has finally disappeared from my new home and the herps have started moving. I've been out in the field just about every weekend since it started warming up, but hadn't found anything but salamanders and newts. Then, this weekend, I spent my entire Sunday checking out some spots that I'd scouted on Google Earth. After finding nothing of interest, I went home and resumed my scouting. Somehow, it seems that I managed to overlook some trash piles in an open field on the other side of the swamp from where I live. So I rushed back out to try and find some last-minute herps. Fifteen minutes later, I had found four snakes, three species, all lifers.

Unfortunately, last month's rains sent my new camera to an early grave, so I was unable to photograph my finds. Today, though, I was smart enough to take my girlfriend's camera phone with me as I returned to the same area. I left most of the cover alone, looking for stuff I'd missed yesterday. Only found one snake today, but it was the first species I found yesterday. If you can excuse the crappy camera phone pics, I'd like to introduce Thamnophis sirtalis sirtalis, the Eastern gartersnake.

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Like I said, low quality photos. But I will have a replacement camera by this weekend, so I doubt that you guys will have to endure many more of these kind of shots from me. :lol:

I'll try to get some more shots this weekend. In my circle of friends, a sighting without a photo doesn't count. That said, I've got a sneaking suspicion that I'll be posting photos of Red-bellied snakes and Eastern milk snakes very soon. Call it a hunch. ;)
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Re: My first Michigan snake species...

Postby RJG » Tue May 28, 2013 1:35 am

Haha awesome find. Looks like there's a chunk of tail missing.
...
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Re: My first Michigan snake species...

Postby croteseeker » Tue May 28, 2013 1:49 am

Well spotted, Tipan. It did appear to have a few inches of tail missing. The wound looked fairly fresh -about a week or so old- but seemed to be healing nicely. Lots of predators in the swamps around here.
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Re: My first Michigan snake species...

Postby Mr Venom » Tue May 28, 2013 6:20 am

Very nice find, it's a pity that we don't get American snake field guides over here. I really want to know what else you have that side.
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Re: My first Michigan snake species...

Postby croteseeker » Tue May 28, 2013 12:16 pm

I know the feeling, Mr. V. I see so many cool animals in the native section that I don't think I could ever learn all of them.

You can probably find some decent field guides on Amazon, though. Just don't bother with Michigan. Here, they've got one rattlesnake species, sixteen non-venomous snakes, two lizards, some turtles, and a bunch of fishing bait. :lol: Arizona, by comparison, has over 50 snake species including 13 rattlesnakes (not counting subspecies), lizards ranging from geckos to iguanas, turtles, tortoises, and the obligatory amphibians. Oh, to be nearer the equator....
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Re: My first Michigan snake species...

Postby croteseeker » Sun Jun 02, 2013 7:14 pm

Well, here they are, as promised...

Eastern Milk snake (Lampropeltis triangulum triangulum)
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Red-bellied snake (Storeria occipitomaculata occipitomaculata)
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And another Eastern garter (Thamnophis sirtalis sirtalis)
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Hope you guys enjoyed them half as much as I did. :D
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Re: My first Michigan snake species...

Postby Bushviper » Mon Jun 03, 2013 8:54 am

The bit I dont get is that the L. t. triangulum was obviously the first of its kind (Milksnake) that they found. How did they pick a name which would be so descriptive of the other tri-colours that would be discovered later, when it looks far more like a ratsnake than a "tri-colour".

Nice snakes you showed which we never get to see because they are not in the pet trade. Thanks for posting them.
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Re: My first Michigan snake species...

Postby croteseeker » Mon Jun 24, 2013 5:07 pm

First off, my apologies to Arno. I just came to post another couple of photos and realized that you had replied to my last post. It was not my intent to ignore your comment for three weeks. :lol:

I believe that the specific name, triangulum, is derived from the latin triangulus, which means, "having three angles." I'm not much of a colubrid guy, but I assume this is because of their triangular cross-section when putting on their threat display. I stand to be corrected, though.

Now for the reason I logged in today. Meet the Smooth Green snake (Opheodrys vernalis).

Image
DSCF0162 by crotalus_cerberus83, on Flickr

This is a small species (<30cm) that feeds primarily on arachnids, insects, and caterpillars. They don't often bite, but they do sometimes make false strikes, ramming their head into the hand of their captor. Obviously, their coloration makes them difficult to spot in the grassy areas they call home, so flipping cover items is one of the best ways to find this species.

Image
DSCF0168 by crotalus_cerberus83, on Flickr

Just for fun, I'll post some photos of the new habitat I've been exploring. These temperate rainforests and swamps are vastly different than what I'm accustomed to herping...

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DSCF0006 by crotalus_cerberus83, on Flickr

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DSCF0089 by crotalus_cerberus83, on Flickr

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DSCF0091 by crotalus_cerberus83, on Flickr

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DSCF0157 by crotalus_cerberus83, on Flickr

Happy herping, guys. As always, keep your eye on the sharp end. :smt006

(Edit: I just realized that these photos are so big that you can't see all of them unless you mess with the screen until the words are too small to read. I'll make sure to not do that again. :lol: )
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Re: My first Michigan snake species...

Postby Poepstring » Mon Jun 24, 2013 6:13 pm

Great pics Croteseeker.

What is your laws & regulations like on catching, removing or transporting indigenous Reptiles?
would you require Permits to do such?
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Re: My first Michigan snake species...

Postby croteseeker » Mon Jun 24, 2013 9:42 pm

Thanks, Poepstring. Regarding your question, the reptile laws in Michigan are asinine, at best.

- For starters, to catch any reptile that's not specifically protected, you need a fishing license. Never mind the fact that most of our reptiles aren't aquatic. :lol:

- Only Green frogs and Snapping turtles are legal to collect for commercial purposes. I've personally seen neither species, but I can walk ten minutes to one of my spots and easily catch five or more Eastern milks and garters in as many minutes. :roll:

- The venomous laws here, with regards to keeping, are approximately the exact opposite of the laws in Arizona. No native venomous, but all exotics are fair game, despite the fact that the only antivenin our hospitals carry is CroFab. :smt017

- Keeping large constrictors is allowed, but the state will confiscate them as soon as they get too long. Apparently, our zoos need as many large burms as they can get their hands on. :lol:

Hope that helps, bud. Thanks for looking.
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Re: My first Michigan snake species...

Postby Poepstring » Tue Jun 25, 2013 12:46 am

Frikken weird!

Fishing licence...I would have rather guessed that from an African country instead :-)

I have made friends with a really cool guy from NY.Ex marine, MMA guy doing special security work in our little messed up part of the world here.
Apparently your laws are quite unique to say the least especially when it comes to prosecution & permits!
as Mike put it, its a free country, you can do what ever you like...as long as you don't get caught.

I suppose your Burm issue you have in the Everglades is a massive problem, thus prevention is probably better than cure to remove them before ppl get scared of them & release them into the wild when they get too big.
Though can you get a special permit to keep your burm if it grows over size? ppl in Florida keep frikken Gators that are monsterous, sure that is putting other people's lives at risk should they escape?
I mean that the fact of putting your own life at risk, no problem, but putting other peoples lives at risk, Problem.
Same with the motorcycle helmet laws in certain states right?

Anycase, I'm going to accompany Mike next year to NY, see the big city & then off to Vegas for some good ol American customary entertainment. Three weeks of fun I was promised.
Hopefully we can go down to Arizona for some T's and rattlers!

But keep sending us pics. Awesome to see in their natural envirnment.
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Re: My first Michigan snake species...

Postby croteseeker » Tue Jun 25, 2013 2:22 am

Poepstring wrote: its a free country, you can do what ever you like...as long as you don't get caught.


:lol: True story. :lol:

The burm issue might make sense in Florida, but up here the winters are well below freezing. My little piece of Michigan averages about 3.5m of snowfall every year. Winter lasts for six months. There's no way that a burm could survive in the wild here. As far as being able to keep alligators, that's not so bad when you live in Florida, right smack in the middle of their home range.

If you do get down to AZ, you should shoot me a PM. I don't know if you guessed by my screen name or not, but rattlesnakes are kind of my specialty. I just moved here from central AZ and I can hook you up with some great spots for the crotes and torts you seek. If you have any choice in the matter, try and shoot for monsoon season and I can promise you some incredible herping.

Thanks again for your kind replies and best of luck in your herping endeavors. :smt006
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Re: My first Michigan snake species...

Postby Poepstring » Tue Jun 25, 2013 6:12 pm

It seems like a whole lot of cold to me! 3.5M. damn.
We had a "cold front" last week & it was about 18"C, quite windy in the evenings. Thought the locals were going to die!

Yup pictured the name.
Well its still some time before then, planning on March / April. Dunno when it's your monsoon time.
I doubt Mike has done this before, so any guidance will be awesome. Its just going to be difficult to convince my tourguide to join in on the fun, he has a massive fear of snakes, but hopefully he can stand the tarantulas.

BTW, you ever encountered some Tarantulas in your herping trips down there?
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Re: My first Michigan snake species...

Postby croteseeker » Tue Jun 25, 2013 10:30 pm

March and April can be good, but they're not ideal. That's springtime in Arizona and the reptiles are just coming out of brumation. It should be decent for boas, vines, lyres, specks and winders. Maybe even for some of the Colubers, blacktails, mohaves, and WDBs. You can pretty much forget about tigers. Torts shouldn't be a huge problem. Ask me before you go, and I'll tell you how and where to look.

As far as tarantulas, they're kind of hit or miss during the drier months of the year. You pretty much have to find their burrows or flip one under a rock. Later in the summer (July/August), though, the game completely changes. Once the monsoon rains arrive, you'll see scores of males out looking for mates. Just road-cruising for snakes during monsoon in the Northern Sonoran will usually earn you dozens of tarantula sightings, not to mention the toads, millipedes, and scorpions.
" a squat, scaly worm with, 'don't touch,' on one end and, 'that's why,' on the other."

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Re: My first Michigan snake species...

Postby froot » Thu Jun 27, 2013 8:19 am

Love the habitat shots, really beautiful part of the world this time of year between the 3,5m snow. Also great to see species we never hear of, that little guy appears synonymous with our slug eater.
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