A couple of Texas outings.

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chris drake
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A couple of Texas outings.

Post by chris drake » April 16th, 2012, 1:30 pm

So far the year has started of pretty well. Snakes seem to be moving quite a bit. My first real outing of the year was with Shane (ShaneTX) here on the forum. We got a chance to do a herp survey with FWS on one of their wildlife management properties in Brazoria Co. I was very happy to participate in the survey and build a good relationship with these guys. This was the first of hopefully many outings with FWS. The property was heavily wooded with a creek and some swampland areas. On the way out to the property I came across my first snake of the year crossing the road. Nice way to start the year!

Eastern Hognose
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I've seen 4 DOR hogs already this year. Once on the property we starting walking. We did not take alot of time photographing herps so some of my pics aren't the best but we wanted to cover as much ground as possible. We saw many ground skinks moving.

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The first amphibian flipped was this Eastern Narrowmouth toad. We found a few of these guys. One was being eaten by a western ribbon snake.
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We could hear calls from Rio Grande Chirping frogs and many other amphibians. The next flip was a lifer for me. A total of 3 Smallmouth Salamanders were found

A juvenile
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and an Adult
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First snake was this young Western cottonmouth. A large nicely colored adult was also found but took off into the creek before i could get a shot.
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We also found a young southern copperhead and broadband watersnake but weren't photographed. As it got dark the frog choruses got extremely loud. We put on rubber boots and waded into the swamp. Before long we were surrounded by frogs. It was outstanding.

Southern leopard frog
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Squirrel treefrogs
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Gray treefrogs were everywhere!
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There were also quite a few Green treefrogs
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This Western Ribbon snake came swimming up right by my legs
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It was pretty good for our first outing. I'm sure there is alot more on the property to be found. Can't wait to get back out. The rest of the time I've been roadcruising Brazoria and Matagorda counties or hiking the woods by the house in Fort Bend Co. My 9 yr. old daughter pointed out this nice little 3-toed box turtle

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Blanchards cricket frog
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A young alligator
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Broadband water snake
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Texas Coral snake. These guys are hard to photograph by yourself at night. :)
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A nicely colored Texas Ratsnake
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Southern Copperhead
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Western Cottonmouth
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Crappy pic of a Blotched water snake
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Common Snapper
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These are a few DOR's I've come across so far that were heartbreakers.

Canebrake Rattlesnake (would have been a lifer)
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Mud snake still haven't found a live one
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Grahams Crayfish snake
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Red Striped Ribbon (also would have been a lifer)
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And this Texas rat was kind of strange. He was in the middle of the road biting himself. Not a mark on him. Went to move him and he was dead. lol
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Thats all i have for now. Headed to West Texas in a few weeks and hope to have a great post when i get back. Hope everyone has a great year of herping.

Chris Drake

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Joey Kennedy
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Re: A couple of Texas outings.

Post by Joey Kennedy » April 16th, 2012, 3:16 pm

THose are very cool salamanders, i wish i had those kind here :mrgreen:
And by the way, that coral snake is stunning! Great pictures :thumb:
Keep up the great herpin

~Joey

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Don
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Re: A couple of Texas outings.

Post by Don » April 16th, 2012, 3:18 pm

Sorry about the DORs. You shot some nice photos! Liking the chunkhead and the bright TX rat especially, and always like a coral!

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monklet
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Re: A couple of Texas outings.

Post by monklet » April 16th, 2012, 3:31 pm

That self-inflictory T-Rat is just a reminder not to take it personally when they bite you, they just like to bite, period! :lol: You actually found it in the road like that? Were you kidding or was it really dead? If so, guess it got rolled and that was its last defensive move. I have a WC that has bitten itself. :roll:

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chris drake
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Re: A couple of Texas outings.

Post by chris drake » April 16th, 2012, 3:46 pm

Thanks guys. Yes he was like that when i found him. Seeing him like that i assumed he was alive. Took the pics and went to move him and he was dead. There were no marks or signs that he had been hit. Made me wonder if someone staged him for me to find. lol. The hogs i have found so far this year have been awesome. Great color variation. Yellow and black, brown patternless, red and black, orange and black all DORs and the one AOR pictured. I've never seen 5 hogs in one year and these have all been found in the last 3 weeks. I think its going to be a great year for herps.

Chris

joeysgreen
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Re: A couple of Texas outings.

Post by joeysgreen » April 17th, 2012, 4:09 am

Snakes have been known to bite themselves upon death when a presumed painfull demise occurs. For instance a heart attack or ruptured tumor. The location of the bite doesn't suggest either, but who knows.

Excellent herping trips. Thanks for sharing them :)

Ian

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chris drake
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Re: A couple of Texas outings.

Post by chris drake » April 17th, 2012, 5:17 pm

Thanks for the reply Ian. One of my goals this year is to get better with the camera. Oh and find as many herps as possible! :)

Chris

Shane_TX
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Re: A couple of Texas outings.

Post by Shane_TX » April 17th, 2012, 7:55 pm

I'd love to find a box turtle down here, especially a young one! Do you ever see them where you're finding the hognoses? Seems like good habitat interface for both species.

Looking forward to more outings in deepest-darkest Brazoria County. Tough herping and it's pretty damn close to nothing but ancient forest and birdsongs all day. I like it.

Is that first squirrela ID your fault or mine? If it's the one I'm thinking of (silhouette you spotted), then I need to carry a magnifying glass while herping. That macro reveals both the smallest and greenest gray treefrog I've seen to date.

Shane

Paul White
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Re: A couple of Texas outings.

Post by Paul White » April 17th, 2012, 7:58 pm

huh. Stuff's still barely moving up here. Part of it is we're in that time of year when mid-day is the best time..and of course I'm at the office mid-day :lol: But all I've seen is a uta, some ringnecks and a sceloporus or two. Saw a turtle head sticking out of a pond I tried today but not enough of a look to ID it.

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chris_mcmartin
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Re: A couple of Texas outings.

Post by chris_mcmartin » April 18th, 2012, 5:06 am

Paul White wrote:Saw a turtle head sticking out
Gross.

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chris drake
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Re: A couple of Texas outings.

Post by chris drake » April 18th, 2012, 8:57 am

Hey Shane. This was the same frog you are referring to so we both misidentified it. :) it happens. Can't wait to get back out there. Saw 5 dor snakes and a baby mississippi mud yesterday on the way home from work. I've n

Texas Gus
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Re: A couple of Texas outings.

Post by Texas Gus » April 18th, 2012, 11:58 am

Great story and photos.. thanks for sharing.

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chris drake
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Re: A couple of Texas outings.

Post by chris drake » April 18th, 2012, 1:22 pm

Thanks Gus. Last post was from my phone and it started acting goofy and couldn't finish.

-Shane I haven't seen a box turtle in that area yet but i'm sure there are some around.

-Paul It's been really good down here. I know alot of people have found some cool stuff already this year. I hope it stays this way. lol
Lets keep the turtleheads out of it. :)

Chris

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Scott_Wahlberg
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Re: A couple of Texas outings.

Post by Scott_Wahlberg » April 19th, 2012, 4:32 am

Not a bad way to start the year, Chris. You seem to have a nack for finding Heterodon. What county did you pickup that Canebrake from? I'm guessing I'll hear about it when you finally get one in Brazoria Co.

Later, Scott

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ThatFrogGuy
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Re: A couple of Texas outings.

Post by ThatFrogGuy » April 19th, 2012, 5:10 am

Man, killer post!

The first treefrog is indeed a squirrel. It lacks the white spot under the eye that grays will always have, and it has the thin pale stripe along the sides typical of squirrels.

Shane_TX
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Re: A couple of Texas outings.

Post by Shane_TX » April 19th, 2012, 5:39 am

I triple guessed that one and went back to squirella, and then stopped worrying about it. Thanks for mentioning the white spot; I completely forgot about that mark.

Shane

r.edwards
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Re: A couple of Texas outings.

Post by r.edwards » April 19th, 2012, 4:32 pm

nice finds on the young season.....will get better after this cold front coming in this weekend...

r.edwards

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chris drake
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Re: A couple of Texas outings.

Post by chris drake » April 19th, 2012, 7:04 pm

Thanks guys.

Scott- I do seem to have some luck with heterodon. Why i have no idea. The one we found last year in Matagorda was still one of the nicest. The horridus was found in the exact same spot as the one i found last year.

Robert- I sure hope you are right. Hope you guys have a good time at the ETHS outing this weekend. I would like to come out but the wife has a busy weekend. I would probably only be able to come out Sunday if any.

Chris

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DaveR
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Re: A couple of Texas outings.

Post by DaveR » April 20th, 2012, 8:55 am

Nice report and photos Chris. Nice variety of herps. My only wild canebrake was a DOR too. Very disappointing when that happens.

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