Everglades Herping Questions

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Aneides Aeneus
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Everglades Herping Questions

Post by Aneides Aeneus » December 12th, 2016, 5:22 pm

Hey guys,

So this winter break my family and I will be spending a week in south Florida (Yay!) to see the Everglades. I anticipate spending most of the daytime hours birdwatching with my grandparents and aunt, but I think I can do some road cruising, and possibly squeeze in a bit of dedicated daytime herping. I have never been to this area, so I'm hoping to get a bit of helpful information from you all.
First of all, is it worth cruising the Everglades at the end of December? Will heavy traffic or park regulations restrict what I can do when cruising? Of course, I have no plans to collect, harass the snakes, or anything like that. Would I mainly expect swamp species, or would it also be worth it to target scarlet snakes and the like? My mother and I are also very interested in sirens and amphiumas; can these be found by dip netting and/or wading at night in south Florida in winter? I know this is a bit of a stretch, but do Pseudobranchus still turn up in the region?
I look forward to your all's advice, which is always very helpful. If anyone will be in south Florida at the of December, and would be willing to meet up with a couple Kentuckians and show us around that would be awesome, although I understand most of you aren't familiar with me. I haven't posted much on this forum in the past year, but you can find one of my older post here: (http://www.fieldherpforum.com/forum/vie ... 11&t=22197).

Thanks in advance for your help, and happy holidays!
-Ananth

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mtratcliffe
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Re: Everglades Herping Questions

Post by mtratcliffe » December 12th, 2016, 5:43 pm

I haven't been to the Everglades during the winter time, but there should be plenty of activity during the day. Not sure how busy it will be, but you can turn stuff up while hiking, and there may be some herps on the road. If it's a warmer day (mid 80s) there might be snakes on the road in the evening, but that's just a guess. I'll let someone else speak to that.

Good luck with the sirens - I know there are some species down there. Be careful when netting - Gators are everywhere, and should be assumed to be in every body of fresh water.

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Noah M
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Re: Everglades Herping Questions

Post by Noah M » December 19th, 2016, 12:13 pm

I think day cruising if its warm enough would be good. I would not net anything...I wouldn't even bring a net, into the park itself. Its a national park and they really don't like people touching the animals. But if you bring a net you could try other areas like WMAs or even roadside ditches. I think sirens will be around, though I don't know exactly where as I've never netted down there.

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Josh Young
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Re: Everglades Herping Questions

Post by Josh Young » December 20th, 2016, 2:40 am

I'd focus more with hiking than cruising during the day, especially the morning in ENP. There really isn't much to cruise in the park away from the main road and that week is the most heavily trafficked week for the park, so I doubt you'll be finding much crossing the roads alive during the day. Scarlet snakes are relatively common in ENP at night, and wouldn't be difficult to turn up.

Siren and amphiuma are in the roadside culverts along the main road, and would be easily shined at night. Pseudobranchus don't turn up with any regularity in ENP unless you employ exhaustive dipnetting, but I don't know that it's ok to dipnet. There are areas further north where Pseudobranchus are much easier to find and require no dipnetting, but finding them is completely reliant on how high the water table is.

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Tim Borski
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Re: Everglades Herping Questions

Post by Tim Borski » December 21st, 2016, 3:03 pm

The park is solid 24/7/365. Try to stay in front of moon rise and if the temp is over 73F you are good to go. Josh is correct. Scarlets are abundant west of West lake.

A couple days after the full is gravy...it goes downhill from there and reaches a low movement time on the new moon...but any night with ok temps will show you critters.

Tim

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Aneides Aeneus
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Re: Everglades Herping Questions

Post by Aneides Aeneus » December 21st, 2016, 5:03 pm

Great guys, thanks for the help! Unfortunately I will be there from December 28-30, which is right around the new moon, but there isn't much I can do about that. I'll let you all know how I do.

-Ananth

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dwakefield
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Re: Everglades Herping Questions

Post by dwakefield » December 24th, 2016, 10:18 am

I've actually found new moons to be not too bad as long as the temps are warm and it's not too windy. On November 29 (which was a new moon), I found 18 snakes down there. And back on September 1 (another new moon) I got 31 snakes. But I've also had new moons that didn't turn out as well. Any thoughts from the experts on why some new moons are great and others are a bust?

Hope you have a blast down south!

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ebit123
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Re: Everglades Herping Questions

Post by ebit123 » January 1st, 2017, 4:11 pm

I will just tag onto this post. I will be in Florida end of April and plan to visit the everglades wmas . (I've already found out it isn't a hunting season on them then). So, are there trails on them? Or you just hike on the roads on the levees? Can you walk freely through the dry/land areas? It seems a little harder to find info on them than the park.

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Noah M
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Re: Everglades Herping Questions

Post by Noah M » January 9th, 2017, 9:32 am

Not sure about those WMAs, but other ones I have been too often do not have trails. They have fire breaks and lanes you can walk or pathways and small roads for hunters when it is hunting season.

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ebit123
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Re: Everglades Herping Questions

Post by ebit123 » January 19th, 2017, 3:51 pm

Ok thanks

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