Need help

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FloridaSerpent
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Need help

Post by FloridaSerpent » November 18th, 2014, 11:48 am

Hey guys, I was hoping someone could help me on finding a good road to go roadcruising here in South Florida. Because here in South Florida most of the roads I've roadcruised have too much traffic, and a seemingly good place on google earth ends up being barricaded with a sign saying no unauthorized vehicles so if you know of a place thats good to roadcruise anywhere around Broward, Palm Beach, or Dade county I'd appreciate some help. Thanks

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The Real Snake Man
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Re: Need help

Post by The Real Snake Man » November 18th, 2014, 12:51 pm

You are about to be met with some ridicule. I feel your pain and know where you're coming from, and I know you probably mean no harm, but the guys on this forum (myself included) are generally pretty (or very) protective of decent spots. Your best bet is to see if someone local would be willing to show you around, but don't count on getting any roads from anyone.

-Gene

PS - This topic comes up on the forum TOO often. People needing spots. I learned this year that trying new things and getting some experienced friends goes a long way in a little time. Don't ask where you should go, ask if there's anyone you can go with - and show them your ethics.

simus343
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Re: Need help

Post by simus343 » November 18th, 2014, 2:17 pm

Second to what The Real Snake Man said. In my experience, roads in nature parks are the best roads to find that cut through undeveloped habitat. These snakes you can take pictures of, you just can't take the snakes home if thats your goal.

Otherwise what I have found works is side roads and backroads that have "wooded housing areas." To turn, if there isn't an area provided to do so, a K turn or in-and-out of a driveway work. Granted I happen to be in one of the last undeveloped ares of Florida, but I have seen such roads down in S. Florida.

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chrish
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Re: Need help

Post by chrish » November 18th, 2014, 4:07 pm

A couple of pointers....

Obviously you already go the point that people aren't going to give you specifics here. Not because of mistrust of you, but because this is a public forum and thousands of people could potentially read that recommendation. Also, like most people, if I have a productive road I like, the last thing I want is to invite more traffic to the road.

But you can generally find roads for yourself with a little research.

1. Watch for roadkills when you are traveling in the day. They can indicate places where animals get on the road.
2. Look on google earth/maps for suitable roads. Some clues include
- roads that don't go anywhere
- roads that parallel busier roads (i.e. when there is a "quicker" way to make the trip, most traffic will take the quicker route)
- roads along waterways (easy to find in SoFl)
- roads that separate water from less disturbed habitats (wooded areas, grasslands)
- roads with water on either side (though marshes, etc).

There are herpable roads in south Florida. You just have to do some research and find a good one.

And once you find your "honey-hole" road which is really productive and some new forum member comes on here asking for your road, you will probably be tight-lipped like so many others are being. ;)

simus343
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Re: Need help

Post by simus343 » November 18th, 2014, 5:07 pm

Another point I didn't have time to make earlier. Some un-seeming roads, that meet some Criteria that Chrish mentioned, that connect very busy, bad roads, are quite productive. Some of the roads that I cruise are "abandoned" highways that almost nobody uses that were there before new highways were built, and are pretty much only utilized by residents along the highway and during storm evacuation. Unless there is a hurricane coming through (in which case I myself wouldn't be out cruising, I'd be preparing for the worst possible scenario as my house is at water level), such roads are usually very inactive despite their size. So if there is a short highway connecting a busy highway to an interstate or another busy highway, that runs along a canal or marsh, it would be a good area to check.

Also, if you find such a road, I learned a few months ago that if you pull onto the road shoulder, far enough off the road to avoid a traffic hazard, and you don't block any utilities such as a fire hydrant, you can park on a road shoulder. So if you scout the habitat near the road and find herps or their food, it could likely be a good road to use during a more active herping season. Just make sure you are not trespassing if the area is land. Water bodies should be safe because water bodies with a public access area in the state of Florida are state-owned and you may move through. If there is no public access, then the body of water is not free to be "investigated." Just be careful because there may be a public access spot, but there may also be spots on the shore that are privately owned where you can't chase a snake if it escapes onto the land.

Also to add to what Chrish said about not revealing your roads, you don't want to tell everyone "You can find Southern Hognose Snakes on ABC street like no tomorrow!" because then you get pet-trade field collectors, that skulk on such forums as this, going there and devastating, if not ultimately wiping out the population by over-collection.

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FloridaSerpent
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Re: Need help

Post by FloridaSerpent » November 18th, 2014, 6:20 pm

I completely understand not giving your spot up to some stranger that would be silly to expect. I was just hoping someone who lives in South Florida and knows of a good spot could give me some pointers on how to find such a spot. I'm very secretive of my favorite spots, peoples intentions are not always right and the less snakes are bothered by people the better. In fact I went to one of my spots today and construction is heavy in this area I've seen a nice unoccupied land slowly turning into developed land and it just kills me. I've seen cottonmouths, cornsnakes, ribbon snakes, banded water snakes, great horned owl, bobcats, white-tailed deer in this area and their habitat is just being destroyed. I just feel like humans will build until there is no land left to build. Anyways if you care to help, please do. Thanks

simus343
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Re: Need help

Post by simus343 » November 18th, 2014, 7:55 pm

So I just did a quick search of Palm Beach county and it looks like the Everglades Agricultural Area and Arthur R. Marshall Loxahatchee National Wildlife Refuge are in that county. Both of these would be great places to road cruise. Now, if the NWR is anything like St. Marks, there will only be a few roads that you can drive, the rest requiring a hike, but again if like St. Marks, the few roads that can be driven are still extremely productive in the right seasons. Not being from S. Florida I don't know the specifics of the seasons, but I would guess Spring and Fall as the temps are relatively steady-warm, not hot or flipping between cold and warm like a light switch.

It appears that the entire west half of Dade county is in the Everglades WMA, so that would be a place to look for roads for sure. The same holds for Broward, except more west-central for the Everglades WMA.

These roads in the Everglades Agricultural Area and WMA would be great to cruise for reptiles and amphibians, from reading other posts put on these forums by others. You can photograph every herp there, you just can't take any from the area.

Now, based on the county maps I looked at, it seems these parks are pretty much the only areas where the roads do not run through private property as far as I can tell at a quick glance. Not being in S. Florida though, I don't have much reason to accurately dig through to figure out whats private and what isn't.

As far as roads outside of these large parks, you will be hard pressed to find "virgin" habitat anywhere, there will usually be some houses, farms, or infrastructural development scattered all over if the land isn't in a park. S. Florida being highly developed it might not look like what is thought of as "good" at first until checked. I have seen some rather nice snakes such as Heterodon platirhinos and Crotalus adamanteus in some highly developed areas, and some amazingly beautiful Banded Water Snakes in some really trashy catch ponds around cities and marinas that are far more productive to cruise the roads around than any wild areas I have ever been to.

Lloyd Heilbrunn
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Re: Need help

Post by Lloyd Heilbrunn » November 18th, 2014, 10:04 pm

If you use GoogleEarth Street Level you can sometimes see ahead of time if the road is gated or otherwise closed....

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Mark Brown
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Re: Need help

Post by Mark Brown » November 19th, 2014, 1:37 am

FloridaSerpent wrote:I just feel like humans will build until there is no land left to build.
Certainly nowhere more true than where you live......seems like every patch of dry land in Florida is developed and the wet patches are catching up fast. :(

simus343
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Re: Need help

Post by simus343 » November 19th, 2014, 7:06 am

FloridaSerpent, I just though of a reason why some roads may be gated or closed. In some park areas roads are closed and require you to check-in at a ranger station. In most cases check-in must be a day in advance so that they can have the gate unlocked and ready, other times they may drive out with you and unlock it. It may be worth checking to see if any of the roads marked private property belong to a park, and if so inquire about accessing that area at the park ranger station.

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chrish
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Re: Need help

Post by chrish » November 19th, 2014, 10:40 am

simus343 wrote:So I just did a quick search of Palm Beach county and it looks like the ....... Arthur R. Marshall Loxahatchee National Wildlife Refuge are in that county. Both of these would be great places to road cruise.
Just a note about road cruising NWRs. Some NWRs are open 24/7 but many of them close at "sunset" or some specified time after sunset. Even those that have public roads passing through them are "closed" even though the road is open. Check their website or check the signs.

Of course, wildlife are protected on NWRs unless you have a specific permit to collect them. The rules aren't as strict as national or state parks, but the wildlife are still protected.

I received a ticket once for shining a flashlight on a frog on the shoulder of a road that bordered an NWR because technically the road and the right of way were part of the NWR property. The other side of the fence was private land and not part of the NWR. The NWR was closed because it was dark. So even though I didn't think I was on the NWR, I apparently was and got a $200!!! ticket for "using an artificial light to locate wildlife". I only had the flashlight on it some my friend could take a photo. We had not touched the frog. (I'm usually totally supported of LE, but this guy was a jerk.)

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FloridaSerpent
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Re: Need help

Post by FloridaSerpent » November 19th, 2014, 11:41 am

Lloyd Heilbrunn wrote:If you use GoogleEarth Street Level you can sometimes see ahead of time if the road is gated or otherwise closed....
This is the best piece of advice I've gotten so far. Can't believe I didn't think of this before. Thanks man will definitely find some nice spots with this advice.

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Josh Holbrook
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Re: Need help

Post by Josh Holbrook » November 19th, 2014, 11:51 am

Hey FloridaSerpent,

I figured I'd chime in since there's a lot of good information here, but some of it doesn't apply to South Florida.

My advice would be to search for some of southern Florida Wildlife Management Areas (WMA's) and cruise them. Though many don't allow collecting the rules and regs are different in every area, and in most places LE wont care if you help a snake across a road and photo them while you're at it. I'd also check out Everglades National PArk and Big Cypress WMA as you can potentially find 25-ish (28, of the top of my head) species of snake between the two. This time of year though, I'd hike some of those gated levee roads on cool sunny days/early afternoons.
simus343 wrote:FloridaSerpent, I just though of a reason why some roads may be gated or closed. In some park areas roads are closed and require you to check-in at a ranger station. In most cases check-in must be a day in advance so that they can have the gate unlocked and ready, other times they may drive out with you and unlock it. It may be worth checking to see if any of the roads marked private property belong to a park, and if so inquire about accessing that area at the park ranger station.
Generally in SFL this isn't the case, most of the gate roads are levee/water control roads and that sort of thing. Also, many agriculture area roads are gated. The one exception I can think of is that the South Florida Water Management District allowed python hunters on their land with the appropriate permits and a $500 deposit for the key. But the python regs are such a clusterbomb that I haven't kept up to see if that's still the case.

simus343 wrote:So I just did a quick search of Palm Beach county and it looks like the Everglades Agricultural Area and Arthur R. Marshall Loxahatchee National Wildlife Refuge are in that county. Both of these would be great places to road cruise.
The ARM Loxahatchee refuge is great to cruise, but the levee roads around it are all gated, so they aren't open for evening cruising to the general public, unfortunately. Also the Everglades Ag Area is great for daytime stuff, but I've found it sub-par for night cruising in the past.
simus343 wrote:Not being from S. Florida I don't know the specifics of the seasons, but I would guess Spring and Fall as the temps are relatively steady-warm, not hot or flipping between cold and warm like a light switch.
I find that in late February or early march when daytime temps get in the 83-84 degree daytime high is the time to start cruising in SFL and reasonable expecting some decent snake movement.


Hope that helps. :beer:

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FloridaSerpent
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Re: Need help

Post by FloridaSerpent » November 19th, 2014, 12:08 pm

Certainly nowhere more true than where you live......seems like every patch of dry land in Florida is developed and the wet patches are catching up fast. :(
Actually maybe I'm wrong but most of Florida is undeveloped wild land, there are only 4 major metropolitan areas and the rest is undeveloped wild land. Overpopulation will change this though. And its just sad because the area I'm taking about is a beautiful part of the everglades that is habitat for many cool Florida natives I've seen here and they're just destroying it all to be developed into more homes for dumb rich people that are just gonna end being foreclosed anyway. I mean I've been going there once a week for only about two months and every time I return theres less and less land. Its just deplorable to watch it happen because I've grown to really like this area. I just think restrictions need to made because humans are ruining this planet not just for themselves but for the far more important species that inhabit this planet. And our governments just sit and do nothing about these issues. Which to me the governments of the world are failing to do what they're here in the first place to do: protect their citizens. It is extremely irresponsible to allow people to continue this non-sense. Sorry I can go on forever about this it just tears me apart.

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Josh Holbrook
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Re: Need help

Post by Josh Holbrook » November 19th, 2014, 12:14 pm

FloridaSerpent wrote:...for the far more important species that inhabit this planet.

Name one species you would give your life to save an individual of.

If you can, I would argue you far undervalue yourself, and if you can't then you don't really believe this statement.

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chris_mcmartin
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Re: Need help

Post by chris_mcmartin » November 19th, 2014, 3:00 pm

Image

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Josh Holbrook
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Re: Need help

Post by Josh Holbrook » November 19th, 2014, 4:05 pm

It's the endpoint of that kind of philosophy, no? Perhaps I should've used the phrase "give your life for," edited as such.

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Kelly Mc
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Re: Need help

Post by Kelly Mc » November 19th, 2014, 4:17 pm

Josh Holbrook wrote:
FloridaSerpent wrote:...for the far more important species that inhabit this planet.

Name one species you would kill yourself to save an individual of.

If you can, I would argue you far undervalue yourself, and if you can't then you don't really believe this statement.


There is no need to nit pick apart and frame in quotes that one sentence.

This forum and everything people post isn't some state of the union address or admissions essay for university.

Speciesism and anthropocentricism are concepts that many intelligent and diverse people are interested in.

For some reason its popular for people involved with reptiles to lable anyone who remotely states anything leaning in the direction of those concepts a kind of "enemy of the state" (paraphrasing) Why is that? Because of the "Python Ban"?

A lot more people actually agree with you than have the courage to say so publicly, FloridaSerpent.

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gbin
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Re: Need help

Post by gbin » November 19th, 2014, 5:08 pm

I'm talking to every species on earth, here, not just humanity...

Can't we all just get along?

;)

Gerry

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Noah M
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Re: Need help

Post by Noah M » November 19th, 2014, 5:23 pm

gbin wrote:I'm talking to every species on earth, here, not just humanity...

Can't we all just get along?

;)

Gerry
:thumb:

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Josh Holbrook
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Re: Need help

Post by Josh Holbrook » November 19th, 2014, 5:44 pm

gbin wrote:I'm talking to every species on earth, here, not just humanity...

Can't we all just get along?

;)

Gerry
My response was only after giving him the most concrete specific help in this post; so there's that. :thumb:

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Kelly Mc
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Re: Need help

Post by Kelly Mc » November 19th, 2014, 5:58 pm

I think you're supposed to wait for someone else to give you a thumbs up for making such a concise excuse for nit picking but see,

Aint gotta be perfect! Even if we are all agreeing on the internet to ignore that there isnt communicative spontaneity. :)

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Noah M
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Re: Need help

Post by Noah M » November 19th, 2014, 7:20 pm

For the OP, I would say learning how to read satellite images would help. It is an acquired skill, so practice with it. Do some ground truthing too. Pick a habitat for a species you are interested in, then find said habitat on the ground, mark your location and re-find it on Google Earth. Do that enough times you'll start to pick out habitat from Google Earth pretty quickly. Then target your animals (or target them first to learn their habitat). Once you know your species, its preferred habitat, where a few examples of that habitat exist, it just becomes a matter of timing. Dick Bartlett and his wife have three amazing field guides for Florida, and there is of course this http://www.ecouniverse.com/product/282/ which I don't own (sorry Josh, I don't live in S. Florida). I've heard good things about it though!

I'm sure these will be useful as well.

The other thing I would mention is that south Florida has a wide variety of exotic herps that some of us would be excited to find. But these herps are not the type you may readily find crossing the road. I would suspect alternative methods to road cruising might be rather productive for some species.

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Kelly Mc
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Re: Need help

Post by Kelly Mc » November 19th, 2014, 7:33 pm

captainjack0000 wrote:For the OP, I would say learning how to read satellite images would help. It is an acquired skill, so practice with it. Do some ground truthing too. Pick a habitat for a species you are interested in, then find said habitat on the ground, mark your location and re-find it on Google Earth. Do that enough times you'll start to pick out habitat from Google Earth pretty quickly. Then target your animals (or target them first to learn their habitat). Once you know your species, its preferred habitat, where a few examples of that habitat exist, it just becomes a matter of timing. Dick Bartlett and his wife have three amazing field guides for Florida, and there is of course this http://www.ecouniverse.com/product/282/ which I don't own (sorry Josh, I don't live in S. Florida). I've heard good things about it though!

I'm sure these will be useful as well.

The other thing I would mention is that south Florida has a wide variety of exotic herps that some of us would be excited to find. But these herps are not the type you may readily find crossing the road. I would suspect alternative methods to road cruising might be rather productive for some species.
:thumb:

Captain I wish I knew you when I was in Florida.
Of course there is a chance you hadn't even toboganed out of mt padre vas deferens yet, but you get my point and I mean it truly.

I really like that term you used - Ground Truthing.

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FloridaSerpent
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Re: Need help

Post by FloridaSerpent » November 19th, 2014, 11:09 pm

Name one species you would kill yourself to save an individual of.

If you can, I would argue you far undervalue yourself, and if you can't then you don't really believe this statement
I'm not jumping through hoops here, I believe most humans to be nothing more than another mouth to feed doing nothing but perpetuating completely useless lifestyles, consuming all that can be consumed, and wasting all that can be wasted. We are a species capable of so much good but yet so little of us exercise this ability. More of us undervalue the natural world and instead choose to pretend we are the only species on this planet worthy of a good life. I've seen too many animals lose that chance because some stupid human thought they knew what was best or appropriate. Our population is not declining, we are not doing too much good for our environment, we kill more species of animal on this planet than any other species, whether its overfishing, whaling, sharkfin soup, killing animals out of fear, killing because an animal it is not liked, killing to make clothing out of or products of different sorts, accidently kills like roadkill, trapping, the list is endless. That in my eyes lowers our value completely as far as this planet and its inhabitants are concerned. You are right though, I will not die to save one. When I say we are far less important, I mean just that. We as a whole. We as a species. Not you, me, or any particular person.

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The Real Snake Man
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Re: Need help

Post by The Real Snake Man » November 19th, 2014, 11:47 pm

chris_mcmartin wrote:Image
:lol: :lol: :lol:

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FloridaSerpent
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Re: Need help

Post by FloridaSerpent » November 19th, 2014, 11:58 pm

chris_mcmartin- This is a topic I am very passionate about and sometimes my opinion isn't popular.

Kelly Mc- Thanks, I know I can sometimes sound misanthropic with what I say but it's hard for me to look at a beautiful animal and watch someone end its life. Maybe when we were primitive it was necessary to kill an animal to survive but nowadays it should no longer be tolerated. Especially at the current rate of occurrences.

gbin- We are just discussing our beliefs, I don't think anyone is being malicious here. At least I hope? :D

captainjack0000- Thanks I use google earth religiously when looking for locations, it is incredibley useful and even more so with ground view but I will put some of what you said to use. And yes there are a lot of exotics down here, many of them I have seen quite often growing up down here. Some of my favorites are curly-tails, brown basilisks, giant ameivas, knight anoles, all of which are pretty common here.

Josh Holbrook- Sorry I forgot to response to your advice earlier, which is very helpful. I was starting to wonder what conditions are good for roadcruising in the winter or if herping here in the winter is possible or at least somewhat productive. Lately it's been still somewhat productive but not as productive as the summer was. And it has at least the last two days been pretty cold here. And I walk a lot of the levee roads so I'll definitely give that a try. Also I go to the ARM Loxahatchee refuge pretty often, just recently I saw a bobcat for the first time close to there. And have roadcruised there but the road is small and like you mentioned its closed after dark.

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