Florida hot grand slam in 4.5 days

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krisbell
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Florida hot grand slam in 4.5 days

Post by krisbell » August 1st, 2017, 6:17 am

In April I took advantage of some unused vacation time, which my wife (sadly!) did not have to spare, to go on a brief and indulgent intensive herping holiday in Florida. Top targets were pine snakes, indigos and hognose and unfortunately I struck out on all of them. However, I did manage to find all 6 species of venomous Florida snakes - no mean feat given I was born and used to live in Florida and had only previously managed EDBs, pygmies and cottonmouths.

Starting in central Florida, the first critter I came across was a pygmy rattlesnake
Pygmy.jpg
This was followed not long after by an EDB - only my third sighting of this species...
ImageEastern Diamondback Rattlesnake (Crotalus adamanteus) by Kris Bell, on Flickr

The next day, following a brief downpour, I turned a corner and was met by the distinctive markings of a coral snake crossing the road. I have looked high and low for this species in Florida without success so was delighted to finally find one. Up to this point I hadnt thought much about completing a grand slam of vens, but having ticked off 3 of the 6 venomous species my mind started to tease that this might be achievable.
ImageCoral Snake Micrurus fulvius by Kris Bell, on Flickr

I managed to turn up a few more pygmies, racers and coachwhips before heading further to the far north of Florida. Despite being fairly cool it was not long until I found my lifer canebrake rattlesnake, and another followed shortly after.
ImageTimber Train Tracks by Kris Bell, on Flickr

ImageTimber Rattlesnake (Crotalus horridus) by Kris Bell, on Flickr

ImageTimber-by-Timber by Kris Bell, on Flickr

Almost as if the animals knew my self-imposed challenge, a small cottonmouth crossed the road at night to get me to within 1 species of the 'slam'. A few rough greens, a monster red rat and a crayfish snake all made an appearance in between.
ImageCottonmouth by Kris Bell, on Flickr
CottonmouthBridge.jpg
A final destination in north west Florida was to provide the location for the last species in the puzzle, a copperhead. After arriving early in the day and prospecting a few areas, I settled on a promising stretch of road. Come nightfall I didnt have to wait too long before a number of copperheads started to appear. I only bothered to take pictures of a single specimen but it wasnt until near the end of the photo session that I realised the model I had used was missing an eye! Thankfully I had useable shots of the 'good' side as well as the bad.

ImageSouthern copperhead (Agkistrodon contortrix contortrix) by Kris Bell, on Flickr

And so ended a most enjoyable and fruitful trip to the sunshine state. I did stop off at one further location on my way back to my base in Sarasota but managed to turn up next to nothing. Still, I wasnt complaining, as I had managed to turn up almost 50 snakes across the few days, including 4 new species of reptile for me. Much thanks goes to Jake Scott and Dan Wakefield for their advice and assistance - it wouldnt have been possible without them.

Below are a few other photos of critters I saw on the trip.

ImageNight Heron on the prowl by Kris Bell, on Flickr

ImageFluffy Osprey by Kris Bell, on Flickr

ImageGlossy Crayfish Snake (Regina rigida) by Kris Bell, on Flickr

ImageEastern Fence Lizard (Sceloporus undulatus) by Kris Bell, on Flickr

ImageCommon Snapping Turtle (Chelydra serpentina) by Kris Bell, on Flickr

ImageSherman's Fox Squirrel (Sciurus niger shermani) by Kris Bell, on Flickr

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Jeff
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Re: Florida hot grand slam in 4.5 days

Post by Jeff » August 1st, 2017, 4:15 pm

Nice job Kris. The photographic backdrops in some are great - so difficult to achieve in the shadowy east.

If the incerts reflect the new potential for Scott's photo hosting, then let me be the first to congratulate Scott on making this option available.

Jeff

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krisbell
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Re: Florida hot grand slam in 4.5 days

Post by krisbell » August 2nd, 2017, 6:45 am

Many thanks Jeff, and yes indeed the inserts are the new photo hosting - I was not aware of the problem prior to making my post and have only just read the post detailing the issue. It was quick, simple and intuitive to upload to this site.

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mtratcliffe
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Re: Florida hot grand slam in 4.5 days

Post by mtratcliffe » August 2nd, 2017, 4:10 pm

Congrats! Getting a Copperhead in FL is never a sure bet, but I'm glad you managed to find one. Great photos as always.

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dwakefield
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Re: Florida hot grand slam in 4.5 days

Post by dwakefield » August 9th, 2017, 11:17 am

Happy to help, Kris! And man, you got some stunner shots of those 6 venomous species!

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JakeScott
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Re: Florida hot grand slam in 4.5 days

Post by JakeScott » August 9th, 2017, 6:07 pm

Great pics as usual! Glad to be of assistance man.

-Jake

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soulsurvivor
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Re: Florida hot grand slam in 4.5 days

Post by soulsurvivor » September 4th, 2017, 12:51 pm

Gorgeous photos from you, as always! :beer:

-Bree

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Rusty
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Re: Florida hot grand slam in 4.5 days

Post by Rusty » September 12th, 2017, 7:20 pm

Awesome photos!

Did you have a photo of the red rat you found?

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krisbell
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Re: Florida hot grand slam in 4.5 days

Post by krisbell » September 18th, 2017, 2:24 am

Rusty - I took a few pics but they are buried, unprocessed on an external hard drive. Was there a particular reason you ask about the red rat? It was pretty typically patterned and colored.

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