Herping North Dakota? Really?

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Kevin McRae
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Location: Manitoba, Canada

Herping North Dakota? Really?

Post by Kevin McRae » May 28th, 2013, 9:09 pm

Hi, I spent four days backcountry camping in North Dakota last week. Most people think of North Dakota as a boring place but as you will see in these photos, it is simply breath taking. There may not be a huge variety in herps but it can still be enjoyable.

We picked a new spot to setup camp each evening, here is our first night.

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The area is mostly grasslands and badlands however the oil industry is booming and it can be seen from the park. Lets hope we don't lose any more of this beautiful land.

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I found a few herps during my trek.

Here is a Prairie Rattlesnake.

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Sagebrush Lizards were very abudant.

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I wonder why the locals call them blue bellies....

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Many people think of the grasslands as a very boring, flat landscape. In June the prairie flowers are in full bloom, the bloom has began.

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Here is a juvenile Eastern Yellow Bellied Racer.

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And an adult.

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The area boasts quite a few mammal species as well.

Reintroduced bison.

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Not all survive.

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There are even wild horses in the area from when the Spanish introduced them.

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I saw a cow elk with her two calves in a valley while cooking supper. Note the females radio collar.

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There is nothing cuter than watching Prairie Dogs bark and do burpees.

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Oh, except maybe the babies.

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Every crevice hides something new.

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Petrified wood is everywhere, here is a split log.

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Yep, they even have a few species of cacti.

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My herp road mortality signage.

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Surveying the beautiful scenery...

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I hope this changes your perspective of the prairies. Only a beautiful six hour drive from Winnipeg.

Thanks.

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ahockenberry
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Re: Herping North Dakota? Really?

Post by ahockenberry » May 29th, 2013, 6:10 am

Great post !
Also, nice to hear from another Canadian!
Super photos - from a part of the country we do not hear about too much
Love the Prairie Rattler photo
Thanks for sharing

Ashley

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gbin
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Re: Herping North Dakota? Really?

Post by gbin » May 29th, 2013, 7:27 pm

Ashley nailed it, great post from an area little herped and reported. Thanks, Kevin!

Gerry

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Chris Smith
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Re: Herping North Dakota? Really?

Post by Chris Smith » June 1st, 2013, 1:53 pm

Awesome!

-Chris

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Brandon D
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Re: Herping North Dakota? Really?

Post by Brandon D » June 2nd, 2013, 9:44 pm

what no pale milks? :lol: :beer:

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Cole Grover
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Re: Herping North Dakota? Really?

Post by Cole Grover » June 10th, 2013, 6:19 am

Nice post, Kevin! That area really is under-appreciated, and I'm as guilty as anyone. Thanks for the reality check, excellent photos, and write-up.

-Cole

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Jon Wedow
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Re: Herping North Dakota? Really?

Post by Jon Wedow » June 10th, 2013, 6:51 am

That is some beautiful country for sure! Sometimes finding just a couple cool herps in habitat like that makes up for finding numbers under a trash pile.

Jon

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Ameron
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Former Montanan Enjoyed Your Post

Post by Ameron » June 10th, 2013, 8:12 am

I spent 3 summers and 2 school years in MT, finally graduating high school there. I lived in a small town on the Yellowstone River, 100 miles west of Billings.

I recall the raw beauty & vast open spaces. I also greatly appreciated that there were more deer & pronghorn in my county than there were people. The region and local culture definitely preserve a “flavor” of the Old West.

I went to Bowman, ND once, so I got to see some Badlands.

Although I've seen plenty of Sagebrush lizards, I was never aware that the region has a native Pale Milk snake population.

I'm so glad to see the younger generation awaken to the appreciation & love for nature and living creatures. Maybe you will find & photograph a Pale Milk someday.

Ameron
Portland/Vancouver

1.0 Pituophis melanoleucus lodingi
0.1 Pantherophis guttatus (Carolina phase)
1.1 Pituophis catenifer catenifer (wild pair in backyard nature restoration zone)

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Cole Grover
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Re: Herping North Dakota? Really?

Post by Cole Grover » June 10th, 2013, 8:32 am

Ameron,

Livingston is nice. Windy as hell, but nice. When were you there?

-Cole

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Fundad
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Re: Herping North Dakota? Really?

Post by Fundad » June 11th, 2013, 2:35 pm

GREAT Post and photos.. :thumb:

I really hope to get a chance to herp North Dakota one day..

While not diverse, there is still a ton to explore and discover herp wise.. And I think there is a good chance Milks are there (IMO follow the lizards), and I would love to take a crack or two at it and seeing if I could find one..

Thanks for sharing your trip there with us..

Fundad

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