ANF let me in on it's secret.

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Josh Young
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ANF let me in on it's secret.

Post by Josh Young »

Last night just after sunset after just over a year and a half of searching, ANF threw me a bone and gave up my #1 target for the area.

ImageMole kingsnake from Apalachicola National Forest. by Josh Young, on Flickr

ImageMole kingsnake from Apalachicola National Forest. by Josh Young, on Flickr

ImageMole kingsnake from Apalachicola National Forest. by Josh Young, on Flickr

Year = made. Elation would be an understatement.

Flintdiver
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Re: ANF let me in on it's secret.

Post by Flintdiver »

Was it actually in the forest , or from a fringe ag area ? I know they are hard to come by, so , congrats !!

simus343
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Re: ANF let me in on it's secret.

Post by simus343 »

Very pretty orange on that one! Most of mine are brownish or brick-red. Last night was Mole King night I guess! A neonate Mole King last night at work, sadly I was in class not at work :cry:. A baby EDB and baby FL pine were also found.

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Josh Young
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Re: ANF let me in on it's secret.

Post by Josh Young »

Flintdiver wrote:Was it actually in the forest , or from a fringe ag area ? I know they are hard to come by, so , congrats !!
It was inside the forest.
simus343 wrote:Very pretty orange on that one! Most of mine are brownish or brick-red. Last night was Mole King night I guess! A neonate Mole King last night at work, sadly I was in class not at work :cry:. A baby EDB and baby FL pine were also found.
Could have had to do with the storms that were out in the Gulf last night, it rained south of where I found it so the pressure change from the front or something could have stirred them up and out.

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mtratcliffe
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Re: ANF let me in on it's secret.

Post by mtratcliffe »

Congrats, Josh! I saw your post shared by someone on Facebook earlier yesterday and I wondered if you would share here. Finding one of these anywhere must be a real treat!

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Noah M
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Re: ANF let me in on it's secret.

Post by Noah M »

Great find! :thumb: ANF has many interesting secrets to share.

I've been watching the weather closely too. They kept forecasting rain for us, so I kept working through the afternoons and evenings. But the rain just passed by. Hopefully I'll be able to get out a bit this weekend.

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walk-about
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Re: ANF let me in on it's secret.

Post by walk-about »

Great find Josh. That is a really pretty specimen. I think their activity periods are similar to Prairie Kings here in KY. I always referred to them as the 'September Snake', as that seems when so many are found. Just my observations.

Dave

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Re: ANF let me in on it's secret.

Post by Coluber Constrictor »

Cool pattern on this one.

I don't think it ever occurred to me that these were in the ANF. I think they can be locally common in the western panhandle and Mobile bay area but I have not seen one (although I have not really targeted them). I have heard of them being found mostly in March and September around here.

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Matt S.
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Re: ANF let me in on it's secret.

Post by Matt S. »

Congrats, that is an awesome find. I have to admit that I was hoping to open this thread and find out what I have been doing wrong in ANF this whole time. I wonder a lot about how much weight we should give to conditions occurring when we find a target, especially when the number of observations is very low (like 1). It seems like the major factor that influences success in ANF is search time, especially when it comes to those highly sought after targets.

That is a beautiful snake and I would have been elated to find it as well. Posts like these keep me motivated to keep making the trek over there.

simus343
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Re: ANF let me in on it's secret.

Post by simus343 »

Coluber Constrictor wrote:Cool pattern on this one.

I don't think it ever occurred to me that these were in the ANF. I think they can be locally common in the western panhandle and Mobile bay area but I have not seen one (although I have not really targeted them). I have heard of them being found mostly in March and September around here.
April is also a great month for finding them. A minimum of 8 I can confirm for this year in NW Fla. 7 I found, another a co-worker found and photographed (mentioned above). Others that I work with may have that number even higher if I start asking. Literature says that spring time is a time of high activity because males will travel distance above ground in search of females. Right now I think activity may be them beginning to eat, grow, and bulk-up before brumation in a few months. During spring I was finding them at all times of day from early morning, through midday, and towards sunset.

They seem to be have been getting more common over the past few years. I may have made this speculation before, but I think their common-es comes from there being a startling lack or very low population of Eastern Kingsnakes here in NW Fla. As a result, this smaller species of Lampropeltis has risen in abundance because the larger isn't preying on it. The highly fossorial life style makes the chance of bird and mammal predation rather low compared to larger kings, rat snakes, hognose, etc. In my own opinion, I believe the largest threat would be "fossorial" ophidio-vores such as coral snakes, possibly red fire ants when young.

Open fields with tall grass, the area where Josh found the one pictured above looks very open and grassy, almost identical habitat to where I find these critters except the pine trees in my area are younger.

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Josh Young
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Re: ANF let me in on it's secret.

Post by Josh Young »

Thanks you guys. It's a snake I've longed to see after getting the South Florida mole kingsnake last year. This mole king is my favorite snake I've found to date. So here's a couple more photos of it.

ImageMole kingsnake. by Josh Young, on Flickr

ImageMole kingsnake. by Josh Young, on Flickr

Jimi
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Re: ANF let me in on it's secret.

Post by Jimi »

Open fields with tall grass, the area where Josh found the one pictured above looks very open and grassy, almost identical habitat to where I find these critters except the pine trees in my area are younger.
I wonder if this is yet another SE herp species that will benefit from restoration of a more natural fire cycle, or at least structural re-creation of open pine forests. Basically what I'm asking is, will mole kings also benefit greatly from land management aimed at bobwhites, RCW's, and gopher tortoises? Midstory hardwood removal and groundcover restoration, with eventual sparse overstory creation.

BWT, congrats on "year = made". Gorgeous specimen. Moles I encountered in upcountry SC weren't that nice. Not fugly, but certainly not screamers.

cheers,
Jimi

simus343
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Re: ANF let me in on it's secret.

Post by simus343 »

I'd be surprised if some "locals" accounts of corn snakes in ANF were not Mole Kings! DANG that is a nice stunner in the 2nd group of photos, even more so than the first set, despite it being the same one!. Any special lighting used or was it just that beautifully stunning?!

Jimi, I'd say so. Where I work what we do is habitat restoration and gopher tortoise reintroduction. Year round, that's the goal. Other areas where people I know, besides on this forum, that have found them, are from RCW or Tortoise bearing areas. Based on their natural history, frequently reading that they are active underground in mouse burrows a majority of the time, not above ground, I think the area needs to be more conducive to mice than anything else necessarily. Then again, good mouse habitat is good tortoise and sometimes RCW habitat (grassy, lots of seeds and fruit).

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Josh Young
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Re: ANF let me in on it's secret.

Post by Josh Young »

simus343 wrote:I'd be surprised if some "locals" accounts of corn snakes in ANF were not Mole Kings! DANG that is a nice stunner in the 2nd group of photos, even more so than the first set, despite it being the same one!. Any special lighting used or was it just that beautifully stunning?!
I actually had it pegged for being a corn snake when I saw it in my headlights, because it's that vibrant in person, it's a truly gorgeous snake. When I backed up to it and hit it with my flashlight I wasn't expecting it to be this snake. I lost my shit, I spent about 15 minutes on the side of the road screaming, and it took me a couple of hours to quit shaking and even longer to come off the high. I would most certainly believe locals in that area mistake them for corn snakes, as really to anyone not familiar with snakes enough to know mole kings exist, it's a corn snake to them, a species most locals are familiar with I'm sure.

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