Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Late April Lampropeltis

Sometimes being in the field isn't without a bit of irony. This morning I posted a short rant about a few snake species that have eluded me for a few years in Michigan; the Smooth Green Snake, Eastern Milk Snake, and Northern Ringneck Snake. The problem is with these snakes is that they're secretive, and two of them aren't active on the surface terribly often. This afternoon after getting out of class, I decided to go check an area described to me by a friend amid overcast skies. After a pleasant hike along the river, I eventually made it to this clearing.

This kind of a place is a herper's dream. This open clearing has some nice sandy soil and was bordered by some nice forest in the background of the photo and a cedar swamp on the other side. This type of ecotone can be a good bet for a plethora of snake species. I began flipping cover and saw a few small garter snakes, and then I flipped a larger sheet of tin to reveal the prize of the day.

I find it a bit ironic that I had just been whining about not seeing a milk snake in a few years in a post this morning, and then was granted this sight in the afternoon. The last time I saw a milk snake in the vicinity of CMU was back in October of 2009, which you can read about in the blog post October Surprises. This individual was freshly shed and a stunner for an adult milk snake. Most of the adult milks I've seen in Michigan have been sharper looking that other adults I've seen elsewhere.

Eastern Milk Snake - Lampropeltis triangulum triangulum

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