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Northwest, Lacey, Olympia Washington and surrounding areas
http://www.fieldherpforum.com/forum/viewtopic.php?f=2&t=24658
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Author:  socalherper [ February 7th, 2018, 12:24 pm ]
Post subject:  Northwest, Lacey, Olympia Washington and surrounding areas

I have not posted anything in a while on herpforum and I see a couple changes.
The regions in particular, I could be missing them although I'll post this here. Scott can call me if he disagrees lol..
Question:
I am heading towards the Northwest, Olympia and Lacey Washington this spring. How is the heping up there around the area or surrounding areas?

Garters, rubber boas ?????
Thank man! :)
Tony

Author:  socalherper [ February 8th, 2018, 9:53 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Northwest, Lacey, Olympia Washington and surrounding are

No one? I guess I will reply to my own post and let you know :-)

Author:  Bryan Hamilton [ February 8th, 2018, 11:04 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Northwest, Lacey, Olympia Washington and surrounding are

The regional forums are in fact gone. There is a thread somewhere explaining the rationale.

Author:  herpseeker1978 [ February 8th, 2018, 2:14 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Northwest, Lacey, Olympia Washington and surrounding are

Give it some time, this forum doesn't seem to get nearly as much traffic as it used to

Author:  technoendo [ February 8th, 2018, 4:37 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Northwest, Lacey, Olympia Washington and surrounding are

Quote:
I am heading towards the Northwest, Olympia and Lacey Washington this spring. How is the heping up there around the area or surrounding areas?

Hey Tony, we're just on the cusp of garter snake season (just looking for any sunny days above 45-50F) in western washington right now. Expect things to get more active through this month and especially in March/April. I was planning to check out a few sites down in the Olympia/south sound for puget sound garters in particular, just checking different areas in hopes of finding more azure blue snakes instead of the more common white-ish blue colors. In 2018 I hope to get some new video footage of rough skinned newts to pair with some NW garters for a short on tetrodotoxin resistance. I'd also like to get some footage of wild normal and/or blue phase concinnus in northwestern Oregon.

I have heard old timers living in the area who reported rubber boas near Olympia in the past, though I've not seen or heard of many recent rubber boa sightings there. Western WA is so wet that it tends to favor amphibs more than reptiles so the diversity of scaly animals is better in the central/dryer parts of the state. While I'm sure there are still rubber boas in some areas of western WA, I have yet to find one anywhere around the puget sound in particular. Though its certainly possible that these elusive fossorial snakes have outfoxed me here! I have been outfoxed by a few other elusive snakes in my life.

Not much lizard life near the puget sound (northern alligator lizards and northwestern fence lizards in some places but pretty sparse), and for snakes its northwestern garters, common sirtalis, and the occasional pickerengii depending where you are at. While this may sound fairly boring I've never seen so much variability in garters anywhere else in my life. Maybe I just need to get out more? I run into green striped garters, red spotted with faint blue stripes and deep blue belly (I suspect pickerengii or intergrade with one), blue puget sound garters, plenty of the more common yellow striped sirtalis/ordinoids, but also some cool orange striped ordinoids in the alpine mountains of the cascades. We've got rainbows of garter snakes in western washington! I know we've got some great amphibs out here too but I'm more of a reptile person so I'll stick to speaking about the scaly ones.

Not sure if you are coming in from out of state or not but I'll briefly mention the law here. Washington is technically a no-handle state by law for any non-game animal. Some of the state biologists involved with reptile conservation programs have told me flatly its illegal to handle any snake even on private land, but if you talk to the folks working in their wildlife reporting program they may mention a "for purposes of identification" loophole that would apply to state land (not national parks). I'd still encourage folks to get out there and find and appreciate some wild herps though, and I'd rather not bog this post down by telling people how they should or shouldn't act or claim that I know any better.

If you are keen on garters I'd scour google maps for green public land/state parks, look for sites with at least some fresh surface water, and I would favor sites that have some sun exposure like clearings or grassy meadows over thick evergreen forests where the ground is mostly in a dark shade. The areas close to the puget sound (western WA lowlands) aren't always very rocky or having much to flip. I'd just cover ground on a hike around a pond, lake, or other freshwater wetland area on a bright sunny day. Good luck!

Pierce County:

http://www.herpmapper.org/records?level ... vel2=43621
http://www.naherp.com/search.php?r_owne ... _voucher=1

Thurston County:

http://www.herpmapper.org/records?level ... vel2=43628
http://www.naherp.com/search.php?r_owne ... _voucher=1

Looks like the only Rubber Boa in either county in either database was found in 2006 by Joshua Wallace, who is a member of this forum.

Author:  Ronquillo08 [ February 8th, 2018, 7:58 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Northwest, Lacey, Olympia Washington and surrounding are

I have been searching for Rubber Boas for two years around the Brinnon area, still no finds. It is supposed to be sunny Saturday so I'm heading out to the Kent Area to hit up some of the parks out that way. But I'm still very inexperienced in this part of the country so it's more like a stroll than actual herping. :D

Author:  technoendo [ February 9th, 2018, 12:41 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Northwest, Lacey, Olympia Washington and surrounding are

Quote:
I have been searching for Rubber Boas for two years around the Brinnon area, still no finds. It is supposed to be sunny Saturday so I'm heading out to the Kent Area to hit up some of the parks out that way.


I've been watching the weather like a hawk as well and am probably going to look around tomorrow in Bellevue/Woodinville for some garters. Looks like it might reach 47-50F tomorrow. The ground is still saturated with rain and I expect this chill won't be shaken off. I sometimes get lucky in these conditions in finding garter snakes in trees and low bushes as they try and get off the ground to sun themselves. Good luck out there Ronquillo! You are getting a healthy jump on 2018.

Author:  Ronquillo08 [ February 9th, 2018, 8:07 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Northwest, Lacey, Olympia Washington and surrounding are

Thanks techno, you as well. I am going to be carrying a copy of the email from WDFW and a copy of the RCW as instructed by WDFW, but I'm goin to try to stay hands off as it seems to be the norm amongst Washington herpers. Good luck out there. :beer:

Author:  technoendo [ February 12th, 2018, 4:37 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Northwest, Lacey, Olympia Washington and surrounding are

Ronquillo08,

Bit better luck today. Still was some ice on the ground as there was on Sunday, but its been 3 sunny days of ~45F temps without additional rain. Last night it got down to 27F in Woodinville (%30 cloudcover, unusually cold for the last few weeks).

I was pleased to have found the same individual garter snake today that I had found in November of last year which I counted as one of my "find 1 snake for every month of the year" goal. This snake has a kink or spine trauma which makes it easy to individually identify.

https://www.instagram.com/p/BfHYtRknc3K/

Here's what "Kinky" looked like last November:

https://www.instagram.com/p/BbqCXiagQH7/

Author:  technoendo [ February 12th, 2018, 5:16 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Northwest, Lacey, Olympia Washington and surrounding are

Just thought it would be fun to share a few more examples of garter snakes found around Kinky's pond in King County WA.

As found in-situ, common sirtalis in a tree in March. I suspect they do this to get off the cold damp ground and get more heat. I also find them about 3' up in dense brush trying to get exposed to the sun though these "arboreal garter" encounters are rare for me.

Image

Image

Below is more of a true/high expression Puget Sound Garter Snake (Thamnophis sirtalis pickeringii) with a nice azure blue coloration. I'll run into more white-blue (low expression/intergrade?) pickeringii at this pond and other places and its not too often I find the deeper blues. Garter snakes out here can reach their full size (close to 60") and feed so well they get about as thick as broom sticks.

Image

Image

This one is super exciting to me. I first thought it was just a pickerengii/sirtalis intergrade, but I read a post on FHF about a red spotted more normal phase pickeringii. This snake is in the shade so its hard to tell but its a mix of red spots and blue stripes with a very blue belly and side stripes. It had a black head and not the bright red heads of Oregon's Red Spotted Garter, which I have not seen around the puget sound myself.

Image

Ran into a pile of 3 garters on April 2017, spooked one, and got this photo of the remaining two.

Image

Also have a few garters from the same location in the image series below. This one cracks me up because I spotted one garter basking under a bush from a good 25' away, stalked up to him on my belly over about 15 minutes, snapping photos throughout the effort to see how close of a photo I could get before the animal spooked. I figure y'all have played this game too!

https://www.instagram.com/p/BanH8F1AR1j/

NOTE: I can count upper labial scales and look at head shapes to tell elegans/ordinoides from sirtalis, but I am no expert at differentiating some sirtalis subspecies. If the animal is very blue having slightly eroded stripes its probably pickeringii, however its probably also folly for me to be basing my garter snake identifications on color/pattern when these critters can be so variable.

Author:  Ronquillo08 [ February 12th, 2018, 9:52 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Northwest, Lacey, Olympia Washington and surrounding are

Awesome, good finds. I thought about going out this morning but, a psychology paper got in the way. I think I am going to try Olympia this weekend, but the weather reports vary day by day.

Author:  socalherper [ April 26th, 2018, 4:09 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Northwest, Lacey, Olympia Washington and surrounding are

Hey Guys,
Thanks for the replies! I have some great info. I was there and it was pretty cold. Although I am going back to Lacey.
I do have a question...
I read
Ronquillo08 wrote:
Thanks techno, you as well. I am going to be carrying a copy of the email from WDFW and a copy of the RCW as instructed by WDFW, but I'm goin to try to stay hands off as it seems to be the norm amongst Washington herpers. Good luck out there. :beer:


Hi Ronquillo08,
What e-mail from WDFW are you refering to? Is this a herping concern in Washington? also what is the RCW ?

I am asking because I am going to be spending alot of time in the LACEY area :-)

Author:  socalherper [ April 26th, 2018, 4:14 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Northwest, Lacey, Olympia Washington and surrounding are

technoendo wrote:
Quote:
I am heading towards the Northwest, Olympia and Lacey Washington this spring. How is the heping up there around the area or surrounding areas?

Hey Tony, we're just on the cusp of garter snake season (just looking for any sunny days above 45-50F) in western washington right now. Expect things to get more active through this month and especially in March/April. I was planning to check out a few sites down in the Olympia/south sound for puget sound garters in particular, just checking different areas in hopes of finding more azure blue snakes instead of the more common white-ish blue colors. In 2018 I hope to get some new video footage of rough skinned newts to pair with some NW garters for a short on tetrodotoxin resistance. I'd also like to get some footage of wild normal and/or blue phase concinnus in northwestern Oregon.

I have heard old timers living in the area who reported rubber boas near Olympia in the past, though I've not seen or heard of many recent rubber boa sightings there. Western WA is so wet that it tends to favor amphibs more than reptiles so the diversity of scaly animals is better in the central/dryer parts of the state. While I'm sure there are still rubber boas in some areas of western WA, I have yet to find one anywhere around the puget sound in particular. Though its certainly possible that these elusive fossorial snakes have outfoxed me here! I have been outfoxed by a few other elusive snakes in my life.

Not much lizard life near the puget sound (northern alligator lizards and northwestern fence lizards in some places but pretty sparse), and for snakes its northwestern garters, common sirtalis, and the occasional pickerengii depending where you are at. While this may sound fairly boring I've never seen so much variability in garters anywhere else in my life. Maybe I just need to get out more? I run into green striped garters, red spotted with faint blue stripes and deep blue belly (I suspect pickerengii or intergrade with one), blue puget sound garters, plenty of the more common yellow striped sirtalis/ordinoids, but also some cool orange striped ordinoids in the alpine mountains of the cascades. We've got rainbows of garter snakes in western washington! I know we've got some great amphibs out here too but I'm more of a reptile person so I'll stick to speaking about the scaly ones.

Not sure if you are coming in from out of state or not but I'll briefly mention the law here. Washington is technically a no-handle state by law for any non-game animal. Some of the state biologists involved with reptile conservation programs have told me flatly its illegal to handle any snake even on private land, but if you talk to the folks working in their wildlife reporting program they may mention a "for purposes of identification" loophole that would apply to state land (not national parks). I'd still encourage folks to get out there and find and appreciate some wild herps though, and I'd rather not bog this post down by telling people how they should or shouldn't act or claim that I know any better.

If you are keen on garters I'd scour google maps for green public land/state parks, look for sites with at least some fresh surface water, and I would favor sites that have some sun exposure like clearings or grassy meadows over thick evergreen forests where the ground is mostly in a dark shade. The areas close to the puget sound (western WA lowlands) aren't always very rocky or having much to flip. I'd just cover ground on a hike around a pond, lake, or other freshwater wetland area on a bright sunny day. Good luck!

Pierce County:

http://www.herpmapper.org/records?level ... vel2=43621
http://www.naherp.com/search.php?r_owne ... _voucher=1

Thurston County:

http://www.herpmapper.org/records?level ... vel2=43628
http://www.naherp.com/search.php?r_owne ... _voucher=1

Looks like the only Rubber Boa in either county in either database was found in 2006 by Joshua Wallace, who is a member of this forum.


Hi Techno,
Thank you for all the info. It helps tremendously. I am searching for laws on the WDFW site and cannot find much. So is Washington a no hold state for reptiles?
Pictures ok ?

I am also wondering if you can have non native species such as Cal Kings and Rosy Boas.. ???

Author:  socalherper [ April 26th, 2018, 4:15 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Northwest, Lacey, Olympia Washington and surrounding are

technoendo wrote:
Quote:
I am heading towards the Northwest, Olympia and Lacey Washington this spring. How is the heping up there around the area or surrounding areas?

Hey Tony, we're just on the cusp of garter snake season (just looking for any sunny days above 45-50F) in western washington right now. Expect things to get more active through this month and especially in March/April. I was planning to check out a few sites down in the Olympia/south sound for puget sound garters in particular, just checking different areas in hopes of finding more azure blue snakes instead of the more common white-ish blue colors. In 2018 I hope to get some new video footage of rough skinned newts to pair with some NW garters for a short on tetrodotoxin resistance. I'd also like to get some footage of wild normal and/or blue phase concinnus in northwestern Oregon.

I have heard old timers living in the area who reported rubber boas near Olympia in the past, though I've not seen or heard of many recent rubber boa sightings there. Western WA is so wet that it tends to favor amphibs more than reptiles so the diversity of scaly animals is better in the central/dryer parts of the state. While I'm sure there are still rubber boas in some areas of western WA, I have yet to find one anywhere around the puget sound in particular. Though its certainly possible that these elusive fossorial snakes have outfoxed me here! I have been outfoxed by a few other elusive snakes in my life.

Not much lizard life near the puget sound (northern alligator lizards and northwestern fence lizards in some places but pretty sparse), and for snakes its northwestern garters, common sirtalis, and the occasional pickerengii depending where you are at. While this may sound fairly boring I've never seen so much variability in garters anywhere else in my life. Maybe I just need to get out more? I run into green striped garters, red spotted with faint blue stripes and deep blue belly (I suspect pickerengii or intergrade with one), blue puget sound garters, plenty of the more common yellow striped sirtalis/ordinoids, but also some cool orange striped ordinoids in the alpine mountains of the cascades. We've got rainbows of garter snakes in western washington! I know we've got some great amphibs out here too but I'm more of a reptile person so I'll stick to speaking about the scaly ones.

Not sure if you are coming in from out of state or not but I'll briefly mention the law here. Washington is technically a no-handle state by law for any non-game animal. Some of the state biologists involved with reptile conservation programs have told me flatly its illegal to handle any snake even on private land, but if you talk to the folks working in their wildlife reporting program they may mention a "for purposes of identification" loophole that would apply to state land (not national parks). I'd still encourage folks to get out there and find and appreciate some wild herps though, and I'd rather not bog this post down by telling people how they should or shouldn't act or claim that I know any better.

If you are keen on garters I'd scour google maps for green public land/state parks, look for sites with at least some fresh surface water, and I would favor sites that have some sun exposure like clearings or grassy meadows over thick evergreen forests where the ground is mostly in a dark shade. The areas close to the puget sound (western WA lowlands) aren't always very rocky or having much to flip. I'd just cover ground on a hike around a pond, lake, or other freshwater wetland area on a bright sunny day. Good luck!

Pierce County:

http://www.herpmapper.org/records?level ... vel2=43621
http://www.naherp.com/search.php?r_owne ... _voucher=1

Thurston County:

http://www.herpmapper.org/records?level ... vel2=43628
http://www.naherp.com/search.php?r_owne ... _voucher=1

Looks like the only Rubber Boa in either county in either database was found in 2006 by Joshua Wallace, who is a member of this forum.


Hi Techno,
Thank you for all the info. It helps tremendously. I am searching for laws on the WDFW site and cannot find much. So is Washington a no hold state for reptiles?
Pictures ok ?

I am also wondering if you can have non native species such as Cal Kings and Rosy Boas.. ???

Author:  jonathan [ April 26th, 2018, 6:14 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Northwest, Lacey, Olympia Washington and surrounding are

socalherper wrote:
Hi Techno,
Thank you for all the info. It helps tremendously. I am searching for laws on the WDFW site and cannot find much. So is Washington a no hold state for reptiles?
Pictures ok ?

I am also wondering if you can have non native species such as Cal Kings and Rosy Boas.. ???


I'm not from Washington but have herped there a little, and I'd say it is ridiculously unlikely that a cal king or a rosy would have a chance of getting established there. Especially on the west side, even more adept cold-and-wet loving snakes have a problem getting a foothold.

For nonnatives I think you're stuck with bullfrogs and maybe green frogs. :lol:

The closest you'd get are the mountain kingsnake populations along a little corridor down in the gorge, nowhere near the peninsula.

Author:  technoendo [ April 27th, 2018, 12:01 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Northwest, Lacey, Olympia Washington and surrounding are

I responded to a direct message from socalherper, but just so folks don't think I'm ignoring this post I'll confirm: Yes WA is technically a no-handle state, and to confirm I suggest you call WDFW. I spoke with the wildlife reporting/permit department and they mentioned a "for purposes of identification loophole" which offers a vague and narrow justification for legal handling. However, most anyone else I've spoken to at WDFW are clear that WA is a no-handle state.

WA allows non-native reptiles as pets without problems afaik. I can't speak as to whether any large cities have municipal laws or apartment buildings with their own contracts/agreements.

This old thread in general has a good discussion on topics of which you are curious about. Scott Ray tells an interesting story about a non-native zonata moved into the state as a pet that WDFW had threatened to take away. I haven't heard of any herp law enforcement stories or encountered any problems myself, but I do try to be mindful of the law. I drive to other nearby states where the herping laws are less restrictive so I can film handling reptiles.

viewtopic.php?f=8&t=1056

Author:  socalherper [ April 27th, 2018, 10:15 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Northwest, Lacey, Olympia Washington and surrounding are

jonathan wrote:
socalherper wrote:
Hi Techno,
Thank you for all the info. It helps tremendously. I am searching for laws on the WDFW site and cannot find much. So is Washington a no hold state for reptiles?
Pictures ok ?

I am also wondering if you can have non native species such as Cal Kings and Rosy Boas.. ???


I'm not from Washington but have herped there a little, and I'd say it is ridiculously unlikely that a cal king or a rosy would have a chance of getting established there. Especially on the west side, even more adept cold-and-wet loving snakes have a problem getting a foothold.

For nonnatives I think you're stuck with bullfrogs and maybe green frogs. :lol:

The closest you'd get are the mountain kingsnake populations along a little corridor down in the gorge, nowhere near the peninsula.


Hi Jonathan,
"I am also wondering if you can have non native species such as Cal Kings and Rosy Boas" ? I know they are not found in Washington but I was wondering if Washington allows bringing reptiles into the state.
I am a reptile breeder and I do Reptile shows ect. here is So Cal Hense (SoCalHerper) but moving to Lacey,WA
I am also in Herpnation magazine. :-) Herping is a passion...
If you are in Lacey I should be up there in a couple months.

Tony

Author:  socalherper [ April 27th, 2018, 3:34 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Northwest, Lacey, Olympia Washington and surrounding are

I have herped in Asotin,Wa on the edge of the Snake river and found Nor Pacs, Gophers,Garters and a huge Night snake.
I can't wait till my next visit.

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