Looking for advice on herping near Gainesville

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Joined: June 6th, 2013, 2:57 pm

Looking for advice on herping near Gainesville

Post by skybutton » May 10th, 2014, 2:49 pm

Hi all, I've been a lurker on these boards for awhile but haven't done much posting. I'm currently a high school senior in Connecticut, but will be attending the University of Florida Honors College next year as a double major in Zoology and Wildlife Ecology & Conservation. Herpetology has been a passion of mine as young as I can remember. At UF I'm hoping to conduct some undergraduate research (I'm thinking something related to sand skink or flatwoods salamander ecology currently) and hope to publish at least on paper as an undergraduate, so that I'll be able to get into a good grad school and get my PhD ASAP. Eventually I hope to have a research position studying conservation strategies for herpetofauna.

Over the years, I've accrued some good knowledge for herping in Connecticut (I went out today and saw a racer and an Eastern milk snake). However, my experience with Florida, especially the Gainesville area, is very minimal, and I have in fact only been to Gainesville once in my life so far.

I understand that successful herping strategies in Florida depends largely on what time of year it is. This is essentially what I'm inquiring about since I know better than to ask what parks to look in.

So here are my questions:

In winter, what species are most abundant, what method is generally best for finding them (e.g. road cruising, flipping, hiking around field edges, etc.), what time of day is best, what weather conditions are best, and what types of habitats tend to yield the largest biodiversity of herptile species this time of year?

I have the same exact question for spring, summer, and fall.

Also, I understand that summer can be the worst time of year for herping in Florida because of the extreme heat, but are there any species that prefer it being this hot?

Finally, there are a few "lifers" that are found in Florida that I haven't found yet. Any recommendations on best time of year, method, time of day, etc. to find any of these would be appreciated (again, not looking for specific locations):

Indigo snakes
Worm lizards
Sand skinks
Any Coral snakes or pit vipers (and yes, I'm aware that it's illegal to handle them, and promise I will not do so)
Flatwoods salamander
Tiger salamander
Dwarf salamander
Four-toed salamander
Marbled salamander
Eastern narrowmouth toad
Eastern spadefoot
Six-lined racerunner
Any glass lizard
Coal skink

Sorry if this is asking for a lot, especially since I'm new here. But help on any of this would really be appreciated. Thanks!

P.S. I already know general info like "research the species you're looking for beforehand" and basic stuff like that so I'm looking more for specific stuff without revealing any actual locations if possible.

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David O
Posts: 162
Joined: June 7th, 2010, 4:48 am
Location: NW Ohio

Re: Looking for advice on herping near Gainesville

Post by David O » May 12th, 2014, 8:06 am

I hope I don't get into trouble with some of the harder core members here by divulging such sensitive info, but I saw many Six Lined Racerunners, both in SC and FL, when I went to the beach. Just look in the vegetation back behind the surf and suntanners.

And yes I think I have just become the first herper ever to give advice on findling racerunners in FL. 8-)

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