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Four Lifers, One Week, Mid Summer, Missouri

 Last Thursday I couldn’t believe my luck in finding the Graham’s Crayfish Snake that had been eluding me for years. On top of this I found my first Plaines Leopard Frog in the same area. As far as I was concerned this was as good as it gets.
One week later Ryan gives me a call and wants to do some more herping. He enticed me with the prospects of maybe finding a Great Plains Rat Snake. Anyone who has herped Missouri in mid summer knows the odds of finding any snake at all are slim. Considering there was at least a chance to find a Great Plains Rat, I couldn’t pass it up. I met Ryan and his friend in Montgomery County. They had already found a couple Prairie Ring-necked Snakes and a Yellow-bellied Racer by the time I had arrived. We were soon off to Ryan’s Great Plains Rat and Timber Rattlesnake den. Flipping rocks (and returning them) on our way through a glade area I herd Ryan holler snake.  And then, Flat-headed Snake. These words were music to my ears. Although I should have found many Flat-headed Snakes over the years they had managed to stay hidden until today. After a not very successful photo session with the restless little snake we let it go back under its rock. So at this point I was already satisfied. I had found three lifers in the past week.

Caught up in the heat of the moment I vowed to move on and find my Great Plains Rat. Arriving at the Great Plains/Timber den we started searching the area. We don’t turn up much at first but then, I’m not sure if I saw it or herd it first, the next thing I knew I had my hand wrapped around the tail of my very first Great Plains Rat. He was in some thick brush and was headed down a rock crevice so it took a minute to work him free. He turned out to be quite opaque which made me wonder what he was doing out at all. The fact that he was opaque ruined the chance of making any photographs, but that just means I’ll get to return to find a more photographic specimen.

So that’s it, four life listers in the middle of summer in my own state. It truly doesn’t get any better than that.

Another BIG THANKS to Ryan for all his help and turning me on to some great locations.

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