A quick West Texas trip.

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chris drake
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A quick West Texas trip.

Post by chris drake » May 21st, 2012, 10:17 am

My buddy Mike Davis and I drove to Austin Thursday to pick up Nathan Hall. We left early Friday morning hoping to get out West early enough to find some morning herps. Made a run down a road in Brackettville. We found 2 Central Tx whipsnakes and a coachwhip crossing the road. None of the three were caught just observed. We did get a nice little Tx horned lizard to shoot. I was more interested in herping than photographing this year so most of my shots are just quick voucher pics this time.

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We made a run down Pandale and found a few lizards along the way.

I believe this is an Eastern Tree lizard
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Colorado Checkered whiptail? We couldn't catch this quick guy.
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We stayed both nights in Comstock. Friday night we decided to do 277 and Juno Rd. First two snakes found on 277 were both DOR rough greens. It was a fairly slow night. We made our way to Juno and found a checkered garter, emory's rat, Tx night snake, and a DOR atrox.

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Got up Saturday morning and made a quick run down Juno and found this would be lifer but DOR Mountain Patchnose

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Got back to the room and Nathan and Mike had been discussing making a run all the way to River Rd. It would only be 250 miles or so each way in one night plus all of our cruising. :) Of course I jumped at the idea.

On the way out we only saw 1 snake. A DOR black headed snake. It was a little to rough to ID which one. I believe it was either hobartsmithi or nigriceps.

Got a quick pic of this Texas spotted whiptail
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Merriams Canyon lizard
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It was 103 degrees when we made it to Terlingua. First snake on River Rd. was this pretty pink coachwhip found before dark.

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I was hoping for a nice bull snake on this trip but I suppose this pretty Sonoran gopher would do just fine.

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We were very happy to find this little round tail horned lizard sitting in the road and also a couple Tx Banded geckos

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Temps got down to about 96 when we found this beautiful mottled Rock rattlesnake at the very top of Big Hill.

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3 Texas night snakes were seen crossing the road.
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About 11:30 we decided to head back to Comstock and herp along the way. Once on 118 we saw NO cars until one passed us while we pulled off the shoulder. That one car left a path of death or near death pretty much all the way to Alpine. We pulled up on this dying suboc in the middle of the road.

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A little further down we found a DOR western hooknose. Mike and Nathan were bummed because it would have been a lifer for them both. Lucky for them a mile down the road we found an AOR. :)

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We found 2 DOR longnose on this strip of road as well. Getting close to South Alpine we spotted a thicker snake laying on the road. I thought for sure it was an atrox or blacktail. To my suprise it was the largest mottled rock i had ever seen.

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Next was my turn for a would be lifer DOR. This poor Trans Pecos copperhead was still twitching. Very upsetting.

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The venom glands on this guy made me think they probably pack a pretty good punch compared to southerns and broadbands.
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Tired and delirious we were looking forward to getting in bed back in Comstock. 4:30 am we were cruising along South of Dryden close to Lozier Canyon when we spotted a snake. Turned around and found this.

Grayband King
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I couldn't believe my tired eyes and neither did the other guys when i looked out the window and yelled alterna. I then realized he had been hit. His lower 1/3 was stuck to the pavement and had some guts hanging out. I went to pick him up and he tried to get away. I was shocked he was still alive. I would rather have found him dead. It was definitely a fatal injury. That was a very hard and rough way to end the trip. Over all it was a great trip and i can't wait to get back out there.

Chris

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gbin
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Re: A quick West Texas trip.

Post by gbin » May 21st, 2012, 11:20 am

It looks like it was a great trip, all right! But that end was heartbreaking - my sympathies!

Gerry

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ksuglennj
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Re: A quick West Texas trip.

Post by ksuglennj » May 21st, 2012, 6:04 pm

Your whiptail looks like a common checkered whiptail.

Man I'm jeleous of the lepidus, that species has eluded me. Sorry for the heartbreak at the end that does suck.

Glenn

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suboc-1
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Re: A quick West Texas trip.

Post by suboc-1 » May 21st, 2012, 10:11 pm

Things are moving in west Texas, I was just out there recently too.

All very nice finds, I like the banded gecko, it's very yellow- reminds me of lemon poppyseed muffins. :P

The DORs really suck, I just hate it when people hit snakes they obviously could have avoided. I found a huge male atrox that someone hit in the morning (ie daylight) on a road where people travel no faster than 30mph. :(

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Chunkhead68
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Re: A quick West Texas trip.

Post by Chunkhead68 » May 22nd, 2012, 12:33 pm

The DORs are brutal, especially the pictigaster. At least some cool things were moving.

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Brandon D
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Re: A quick West Texas trip.

Post by Brandon D » May 22nd, 2012, 3:38 pm

what a heartbreaking trip, nice dead animals though, I heard the traffic is getting worse down there such an unfortunate thing, nice to see there moving allready though, probably be a good season
:beer:

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Viridovipera
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Re: A quick West Texas trip.

Post by Viridovipera » May 22nd, 2012, 4:40 pm

Absolutely killer. :Looks like a road trip from El Paso is in order.

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chris drake
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Re: A quick West Texas trip.

Post by chris drake » May 22nd, 2012, 6:52 pm

Thanks for the replies guys. The DOR's definitely sucked. Snakes were moving and we just happened to be a few minutes behind all the deaths it seems. This is 3 years in a row we have found a grayband for a total of 5. I sure hope to get back out there this year. I need a live TP copperhead! :)

Chris

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Eric East
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Re: A quick West Texas trip.

Post by Eric East » May 22nd, 2012, 7:01 pm

Man, that really sux!
I'm looking forward to snake days next month, I hope we ALL do well!

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Jeff
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Re: A quick West Texas trip.

Post by Jeff » May 23rd, 2012, 7:52 pm

Reminds me of a few trips that way -- DOR lepidus, still writhing milk snake, etc.

The "Texas Spotted Whiptail" is a Chihuahua Spotted Aspidoscelis exsanguis

reako45
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Re: A quick West Texas trip.

Post by reako45 » May 27th, 2012, 4:14 pm

Love those TX posts. Great diversity of herpetofauna in your state. It's a dream of mine to herp some TX locales one day. Awesome post. The lepidus is one of my favorites. Thouhgt it was a Speck @ first. Never seen one w/ a mottled pattern like that. Sweet find.

reako45

John Fraser
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Re: A quick West Texas trip.

Post by John Fraser » May 28th, 2012, 2:30 pm

Chris, Great Report & Excellant photos, thanks for sharing. Bummer on the dors everywhere. Alot of snakes fall fate to the merciless traffic out there. Thanks, John F.

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ratsnake
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Re: A quick West Texas trip.

Post by ratsnake » May 29th, 2012, 5:35 am

I think your geckos may be reticulated geckos. Very cool post!
Mark

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chris drake
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Re: A quick West Texas trip.

Post by chris drake » May 29th, 2012, 2:09 pm

Thanks for the comments guys.

Hey John. We always seem to find DOR's of the cool stuff. lol. This was 2 years in a row now we found recently hit alterna.

Mark- Thanks for the comment. Looking at it what makes you think reticulatus? We were definitely in the range and they are high on our list to find. Especially Nathan since he is a big gecko guy and loves coleonyx and has yet to find a rectic. This guy was a mature male and was the same size as a typical brevis. My understanding is that reticulatus are quite a bit larger than brevis and slightly more drab in appearance but more spotting.

Chris

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MHollanders
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Re: A quick West Texas trip.

Post by MHollanders » June 7th, 2012, 9:17 am

Definitely brevis. Look up some reticulatus pics and compare the tails.

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chris_mcmartin
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Re: A quick West Texas trip.

Post by chris_mcmartin » June 7th, 2012, 10:05 am

Yep, brevis, not reticulatus. Reticulated (or Big Bend) geckos have tubercles on their back which the TX bandeds lack. I haven't seen a retic so strongly patterned either (though I've only seen a few). Plus, a retic will look absolutely monstrous compared to a brevis...in fact, brevis is said to be on the menu for them.

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Nathan Hall
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Re: A quick West Texas trip.

Post by Nathan Hall » June 27th, 2012, 9:09 am

Finally getting around to posting a few pics from the trip.

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reako45
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Re: A quick West Texas trip.

Post by reako45 » June 27th, 2012, 2:27 pm

Incredible pics! It's posts like this that definitely make me yearn to hunt Alternaland. Great photos. The clipped GBK and Suboc were heart breakers though. With all the regulations (vest & stamps) down in TX they oughta make rules against hittin' snakes like that... or any for that matter. Pity.

reako45

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chris drake
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Re: A quick West Texas trip.

Post by chris drake » June 27th, 2012, 5:19 pm

Great shots Nathan. I really like the way the banded gecko and roundtail pics came out. The cemetary shot is great. That is definitely one i would frame and hang. Can't wait to go back with ya.

Chris

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chris drake
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Re: A quick West Texas trip.

Post by chris drake » June 27th, 2012, 5:38 pm

Made a quick trip back out West. I was more interested in herping and hiking than photographing this trip so the pics are quick voucher shots. Here are a few pics from Friday and Saturday night. Not to much moving. It stayed pretty hot at night.

Blacktail rattlesnake Insitu

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Trans Pecos Blackhead snake
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Trans Pecos Ratsnake
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Chris

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Nathan Hall
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Re: A quick West Texas trip.

Post by Nathan Hall » June 28th, 2012, 6:26 am

How big was (is) that Suboc?

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chris drake
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Re: A quick West Texas trip.

Post by chris drake » June 28th, 2012, 2:15 pm

It was a little over 5ft. I stretched it out and my reach is 5ft. It was a very nice thick healthy animal.

Chris

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