Sunday, March 21, 2010

The King of the Southeastern Pinelands

I recently had my spring break trip to the great state of Florida. My first destination of the trip was a tract of pine flatwoods in Polk County. In the past I've seen a great number of species in the area and it has proven to be a productive area. The main target of my trip as always was the king of the southeastern pinelands, the Eastern Diamondback Rattlesnake.

Things during the first half of the week were quite slow in central Florida, as temperatures held in the low 60s and got into the low 40s and high 30s at night. On Wednesday, my cousin Robbie and I headed out for a three day trip to southern Florida. Temps were much more favorable and it proved to be productive right away as we found this beauty out and about just after dark.

Corn Snake - Pantherophis guttatus

There were also several species of Nerodia out and about on the roads, the coolest of which we saw was this small Florida Green.

Florida Green Water Snake - Nerodia floridana

There's never a shortage of these pit vipers in Florida, this one was particularly set in showing its namesake.

Florida Cottonmouth - Agkistrodon piscivorus conanti

Later on in the night, I finally broke on a curse of a snake that I had only seen in the form of a DOR. This beautiful rat was found 200 yards up the road from a huge corn snake at around 12:30 AM.

Yellow Rat Snake - Pantherophis quadrivittatus

Things eventually began to slow down on the roads, and seeing snakes every five minutes turns into a snake once every half hour. At 2:30 AM, we noticed a large shape on the edge of a roadway and U-turned to find this beautiful serpent out and about on a dry night, which is odd for the species.

Eastern Mud Snake - Farancia abacura abacura

The next morning we arose around 10 AM and headed out to get some breakfast. At around 11 AM the sun broke out from behind the clouds and the temps climbes into the low 80s. As we rounded a corner my cousin questioned, "Whats that ahead in the road?" I looked up to see a dark shape several hundred yards ahead in the road, the closer we got the more it looked serpentine. And once we realized what it was, we both couldn't believe our eyes.

A three foot Eastern Diamondback Rattlesnake layed out in the road right ahead of us. We jumped out and began a long anticipated photography session with this beast, words can't describe how excited I was to see this species of snake.

Eastern Diamondback Rattlesnake - Crotalus adamanteus

An amazing species of snake that finally made an appearance...

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