As some of you know, I moved back to the Netherlands at the end of June. My family and I moved to Houston seven years ago for my dad’s job, but the posting ended. Moreover, I graduated from high school, and I’m now going to pursue a career in biology. This is probably going to be the last cool post you’ll see from me; the total number of herps in the Netherlands just about add up to equal the number found in my Houston neighborhood.
Most of the following herps were found in east Texas, although I went on a west Texas trip as well. I got a new camera along the way; as a result, there’ll be some common species and lots of habitat shots included.
First off, here’s a quick picture of a cottonmouth I took while walking to a flipping spot. This was a bad idea; I was wearing shorts and the grass was very high and mosquito densities were as high as I’d ever experienced. My legs were bright red for the rest of the day.Agkistrodon piscivorus leucostoma
Part of the reason my legs got so irritated was walking through high grass to flip a board, yielding this thing.Lampropeltis calligaster calligaster
My girlfriend and I went up north to look for milk snakes with a friend. None were found, although I finally got some better shots of this southern specialty.Coluber constrictor anthicus
John and I got out a few times.Alligator mississippiensis
The rain did the coastal prairie good. Every weekend different flowers would be blooming, causing an ever changing view of the area.
This area yielded a number of Western Slender Glass Lizards, which I had never found alive prior to this year.Ophisaurus attenuatus attenuatus
Kingsnakes of both species have been very common this year. Lampropeltis calligaster calligaster
This is probably the ugliest kingsnake alive today.Lampropeltis getula holbrooki
Another, darker Prairie Kingsnake from the same field.Lampropeltis calligaster calligaster
John schooled me when he called this ringneck AOR in the middle of the day. After lots of effort, this is the first one I’ve seen in this area.Diadophis punctatus stictogenys
John and I went to College Station and had an excellent day, for me anyway. Highlights included my lifer Louisiana Milk Snake and a canine helicopter.
The first snakes was a pair of Texas Rat Snakes under a board, but both were in shed. In these situations where photography is not a viable option, you have to find other forms of amusement.Masticophis flagellum flagellumLampropeltis triangulum amaura
I went out with my sister one day to photograph some old buildings, and we worked some herping into it as well. An old board on the edge of a shitty pond yielded one of these, which was one of the first of the year.Regina grahamii
A piece of tin around the old buildings yielded this big Western Coachwhip. I was very excited to find it as I hadn’t found many live representatives of this subspecies.Masticophis flagellum tastaceus
Later that afternoon, my sister and I found a pretty little kingsnake crossing the road. A car pulled up behind us, containing a family with two kids. We showed them the snake and they loved handling it.Lampropeltis calligaster calligaster
During a later trip, the same shitty pond as before yielded this juvenile Small-mouthed Salamander. I can’t say I’m quite pleased with the picture.Ambystoma texanum
I was excited to find this Texas Corn Snake in an area where they haven’t been vouchered much from, if at all.Pantherophis guttatus slowinskii
Later that day, Grace and I flipped two Prairie Kings in a field.
The next few weeks were fairly uneventful. We found an eastern edge Checkered Garter Snake in a stock pond.Thamnophis marcianus marcianus
On the way back from the coast in April, I flipped a board next to the road with two Texas Rat Snakes and two Speckled Kingsnakes underneath. Judging from my own experience, this isn’t common in Texas; I thought it was pretty cool.
Earlier that day, we had flipped two Speckled Kings under a board, of which only this screamer was photographed.Lampropeltis getula holbrooki
My birthday came around and lots of saving finally paid off in a new camera. All of the next stuff is shot with it, hence some boring subjects.Ardea alba
I love this shot of the slider. Trachemys scripta elegansAlligator mississippiensisSylvilagus floridanusAnolis sagrei
A lot of the Texas Rat Snakes in southeast Texas, particularly those coming from prairie or what once was prairie, are quite attractive in coloration.Pantherophis obsoletus lindheimeriHyla cinereaThamnophis proximus
I found three Mud Snakes in a period of two weeks this spring, all of them DOR. However, this quadrupled the total number of Mud Snakes I had ever seen. Farancia abacura reinwardtii
Subsequently, I set out some traps in hopes of catching some Siren or maybe even a Mud Snake. No such luck, but these two adjacent traps are a reminder to never just grab the trap if there’s something in it.Agkistrodon piscivorus leucostoma
A trip north to the pineywoods was characteristically unproductive.Terrapene carolina triunguisAgkistrodon contortrix contortrix
The traps were out for a week or two, and they caught many of these.Nerodia fasciata confluens
In early June, my girlfriend and I camped in the Big Bend for eight days. Although the focus wasn’t predominantly on herps, we looked for them everyday and cruised about two hours every night. The next part of the post will be heavy on habitat shots, simply because the area is by far my favorite in the state and has some of the most impressive scenery I’ve ever seen.
The first night we watched the sunset before heading out to cruise.Glandularia bipinnatifida
A very skinny, growth-stunted black bear was foraging in the area.
Due to a full moon, the first few nights were fairly unsuccessful. The trip had an interesting absence of rattlesnakes; only two were observed in the whole week.Bufo puncatus
We also saw very few amphibians. Even though there was rain in the area almost every day, we didn’t take the time to chase a lot of storms. Fortunately, I took the chance on the first night to photograph the only Couch’s Spadefoot of the trip.Scaphiopus couchii
The next day we did some hiking. I didn’t get any photos of the ubiquitous Chihuahuan Spotted Whiptails, unfortunately.Cophosaurus texanus scitulus
Our final destination of the day was this beautiful waterfall.
A pair of Western Black-necked Garter Snakes was seen basking on the side of the pool. Thamnophis cyrtopsis cyrtopsis
That night we also cruised the first live snakes of the trip, right after the full moon rose above the mountains.Hypsiglena torquata jani
Trans-Pecos Rat Snakes became one of my new favorite snakes. Bogertophis subocularis subocularis
Some interesting arachnids were also encountered.
I’ll throw up some more photos I like of the area.
I got three of these long awaited lifers in one night. That was the only night they were observed.Coleonyx brevis
We found quite a few variable ground snakes, which in fact were very variable. We found some grey and tan phases, and two of the following. The only good picture I got of one was of the larger one of the two nice ones, so I really can’t complain.Sonora semiannulata
More scenic stuff...
I had really hoped to find Coleonyx reticulatus
in this area, as they were my top target. I think I got the habitat right for them, but we just didn’t get to spend enough time here.
A herp here and there...Sceloporus merriami annulatus
And another lifer.Rhinocheilus lecontei tessallatus
As aforementioned, there was a strange lack of rattlesnakes. We found one roadkill Crotalus atrox
on the drive down, and then only one rattlesnake after that. Thankfully, it was the one I most wanted to see.Crotalus lepidus lepidus
And... even more scenic stuff.Bouvardia ternifolia
We watched the most breathtaking sunset I’ve ever witnessed in my life. This was probably the highlight of the trip.
Followed by the most fantastic place I’ve ever seen a sunrise at. This stuff makes me absolutely not understand the alterna/lepidus style hunting that typifies west Texas.
We got another Trans-Pecos Rat Snake. Unfortunately, none of my shots of this species came out very well.Bogertophis subocularis subocularis
And this roadkill Baird’s Rat Snake was another nice addition to the life list, despite its condition.Pantherophis bairdi
On our last day in the Bend, we returned to the waterfall to find many of the garter snakes foraging through the pools.Thamnophis cyrtopsis cyrtopsis
That night, we went out cruising with high hopes for something really cool on the last night. As luck would have it, this beautiful Desert Kingsnake crossed the road when the air temperature was measured at 94ºF.
Only twenty minutes or so later, a much larger adult crossed the road when the temperature was measured at 97ºF. Both snakes were quite warm to the touch. These snakes are absolutely gorgeous. Jet black heads and slaty-grey venters are hard to top.
A week or two later and back in the southeast part of the state, my girlfriend and I headed out one more time to find only one live snake.Lampropeltis getula holbrooki
Now, on my second to last night in the United States, my friend Brandon and I decided to cruise an area good for Texas Coral Snakes. I still, after years of field herping, had not been able to secure one for photos. Up until that moment, I’d only seen a live one get off the road and a roadkill elsewhere. Without getting all cheesy, this was a great way to end a great era of herping. Micrurus tener
Thanks for looking!