Michigan Herpetology

Accounts and photos of non-captive reptiles in their natural habitat outside of South Africa. Try to record with your account details such as time of day/night, temperature, weather conditions, lunar cycle, sex, rough age of reptile, and so on.

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Michigan Herpetology

Postby Drewbot » Tue Jun 30, 2009 8:57 pm

Intro: I live in Michigan, in the United States, I am a fan of African snakes. I am waiting for a reptile-centric safari to become available before I spend the money to come to Africa. I spend my weekends searching Michigan's swamps and fields for snakes, turtles and lizards.

I currently have two immediate goals that I am trying to accomplish this year: 1. Locate living wild Eastern Massausauga Rattlesnake Sistrurus catenatus catenatus(All I have found are dead ones with their rattle uncerimoniously chopped off), and 2. to locate wild Eastern Box Turtles Terrapene Carolina carolina.

Attached are my main finds for this year thus far.

The Threatened Blandings Turtle, found it crossing a road in Clare County. Emydoidea blandingii
Blandings1.jpg

blandings2.jpg

The Eastern Garter Snake (on my shoe) found in Wayne County (Detroit) Thamnophis sirtalis
Garter.jpg

The Northern Brown Snake (in my hand) found in Wayne County (Detroit) Storeria dekayi dekayi
Will place photo in another post, 3 is my limit.


If anyone has any questions, or needs photos of any Michigan Herps, please let me know.
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Re: Michigan Herpetology

Postby Sico » Tue Jun 30, 2009 11:13 pm

that pic of the turtle with the moss on it's shell is quite something. Our turtles (tortoises) in south africa come from much drier climates so we would nto find something like that occuring very often if at all in our side of the world
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Re: Michigan Herpetology

Postby Bushviper » Wed Jul 01, 2009 9:50 am

The Sistrurus rattles cannot be big enough to warrant killing the snake for such a weanie trophy. I guess that says something about the manhood of the people who kill the rattlers.

Drewbot you can get hold of armata from this forum as he has reptile safaris. Unfortunately collecting is a criminal offence and you do not want to spend time in any african jail. You will however get the feeling for the bush going as well as getting to see some really rare snakes, lizards and tortoises. When you have your winter cold you could come visit the sunny side of the world and you will love it.
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Re: Michigan Herpetology

Postby Drewbot » Wed Jul 01, 2009 1:51 pm

Bushviper wrote:The Sistrurus rattles cannot be big enough to warrant killing the snake for such a weanie trophy. I guess that says something about the manhood of the people who kill the rattlers.


Believe me, I agree with your statement about the manhood.

Bushviper wrote:Drewbot you can get hold of armata from this forum as he has reptile safaris. Unfortunately collecting is a criminal offence and you do not want to spend time in any african jail. You will however get the feeling for the bush going as well as getting to see some really rare snakes, lizards and tortoises. When you have your winter cold you could come visit the sunny side of the world and you will love it.


When you say collecting is illegal, what do you mean? You can't even capture them for field observation? and then release them? We have a couple of individual snakes that are endangered, and off limits to handling or molesting in any way. Is that what you are referring to? or do you mean actually taking them from the wild? Because I wouldn't want to do that anyway.

Sico wrote:that pic of the turtle with the moss on it's shell is quite something. Our turtles (tortoises) in south africa come from much drier climates so we would nto find something like that occuring very often if at all in our side of the world.


Our turtles spend most of their time in water or thick, nasty swamps, I don't know if that is moss, or algae, I'm guessing the latter, and it grew while the turtle sat at the bottom of the pond looking for fish or frogs or whatever. Some of our larger Snapping Turtles are covered head to toe with the stuff.

Here is the photo of the Northern Brown snake I promised you.
Northernbrown.jpg
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Re: Michigan Herpetology

Postby armata » Wed Jul 01, 2009 2:30 pm

Hi Drewbot

My reptile tours are undertaken with permits for capture and photography.

www.crepinstitute.co.za
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Re: Michigan Herpetology

Postby Drewbot » Wed Jul 01, 2009 4:35 pm

Thanks for the info Armata.

I also need to mention that I have a Corn Snake Elaphe Guttata Gutatta for a pet.

It is about 4-5' long, it eats thawed, frozen large mice, or small rats.

I got it after a movie used it for a scene, and the director had no plans to care for it, so I volunteered to take it. It was 15" long at that time 3-4 years ago. It is a color morph, lacking all black and red pigment.
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Re: Michigan Herpetology

Postby Drewbot » Wed Jul 08, 2009 5:05 pm

Went herping in the Wilds of Michigan this last weekend.

Found a Garter snake, Painted Turtle, Green Frog, and an American Toad.

Pictures to follow
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Re: Michigan Herpetology

Postby BushSnake » Wed Jul 08, 2009 5:53 pm

Out of curiosity, how many species of reptiles do you get in the USA, and what would be the average number of species you normally find in a day? Also, which part of the USA do you think has the highest diversity?

Looking forward to some pictures!
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Re: Michigan Herpetology

Postby Bob H » Fri Jul 10, 2009 1:56 am

Bushsnake, I am stealing some of Drewbot's thunder, but for the greatest species diversity, I would think either the southeast or southwest would be best. For actual greatest numbers, some of the communal dens in the north would be best. I would estimate on an ideal day you could potentially see maybe 20 species of reptiles in a hard days hunting. It would probably take searching with a variety of techniques to get this many species. Hope this helps.

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Re: Michigan Herpetology

Postby BushSnake » Fri Jul 10, 2009 8:56 am

Thanks. How many species are there in the USA?
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Re: Michigan Herpetology

Postby Bushviper » Fri Jul 10, 2009 9:13 am

Bushsnake all the species of reptiles and amphibians would really be changing all the time just like in SA with new ones being described and others being dumped all the time.

Go look on http://www.naherpetology.org and then you might find some clarity.
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Re: Michigan Herpetology

Postby Drewbot » Fri Jul 10, 2009 2:53 pm

For Diversity- I'd agree and say the Southwest(Airzona, New Mexico), or Florida.

For numbers I'd have to say Florida, there are lizards literally every couple meters there.

Sure you might get 1000 Garter Snakes Hibernating together in Canada or Northern U.S., but you could easily say there are 1000 lizards/sq. mile in Some areas of Florida.

Although, a couple years ago, after a large evening rainstorm, here in Michigan, I went for a drive, and saw literally thousands and thousands of Northern Cricket Frogs on the roads it was like a huge explosion of population, but really they were just congregating on the road to mate or something. Literally 3 miles of blacktop road were coverd by 100 frogs/square meter.
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Re: Michigan Herpetology

Postby Drewbot » Tue Jul 14, 2009 10:44 pm

Here are the photos I promised you from my last herping trip here in Northern Lower Michigan. Clare County to be exact.

I located a Garter snake about to shed.
Thamnophis sirtalis
garterclare070409.jpg



What I believe is a Green Frog
Rana clamitans melanota
greenfrogclare070409.jpg


And the American Toad
Bufo americanus americanus
BufoAAclare070409.jpg
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Re: Michigan Herpetology

Postby Drewbot » Wed Jul 15, 2009 2:54 pm

Here is another photo of the Garter Snake i caught a couple weeks ago. It looks like he was getting ready to shed in this photo. See the eyecap. It also might explain why I caught him in the open, and even after I released him, the next day, he was right back in the same spot.

garterclare2070409.jpg
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Re: Michigan Herpetology

Postby Drewbot » Wed Aug 12, 2009 10:47 pm

Last weekend, I was hiking in Western Michigan and flipped a log over, next to a large lake.

Rana clamitans
or Green Frog was hiding underneath.

Frog.jpg
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