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The First of the Fall Snake Migration Trips

I spent last Sunday and Monday herping in Southern IL. I almost skipped the trip altogether do to being in between camera bodies but in the end decided to borrow a friends point and shoot and head down anyhow. I had the opportunity to meet up with Mike Pingleton, Steve Coogan, Ryan Thies plus Ryan's dad Rich and his little brother Kyle in Johnson Co, IL. Here's a pic of the group.


We didn't find tons of herps but we did manage to find some cool stuff including Western Cottonmouths like this guy.


Here's a pic of Mike and Ryan wrangling a Cottonmouth.


The time came for Ryan and family to head home so we said our goodbyes and they were off. Ryan had been talking all day about wanting to see a Black Kingsnake and sure enough about the time their tail lights were disappearing over a hill I grabbed a beautiful Black King off the road. We tried to give them a call but there was no service available. Here's Steve with that Black King.


After the kingsnake Mike and Steve suggested we herp some local bluffs for a while. Along these bluffs we found Cave and Slimy Salamanders plus a small Eastern Hog that Mike spotted coiled next to a rock. The hog promptly "died" so we passed on the photo opp. When Mike and Steve hit the road for home I headed towards Larue. The previous day Ryan found a Red Milk at Larue; I had never seen a Shawnee Red Milk before so Ryan told me where to find the rock incase it was still around. I pulled into Larue just before dark and immediately found a Cottonmouth crossing the parking lot then I went hunting for Ryan's Red Milk rock and had no trouble finding it. Lifting the rock, there was the milk just as expected but upon close inspection it wasn't Ryan's milk at all but a different one altogether. Ryan’s milk had a perfect heart on its neck and as you can see in the pic below there’s no hart on this guy's neck.


I headed towards the camp ground but when I arrived I turned around and kept on driving. The conditions were just too good for snake movement so a little road cruising was in order. The first snake seen was a Black Rat just around dark then to my delight a large healthy horridus!


After the horridus I new I had to find a copperhead. I had never seen a copperhead from the area much less all the pit vipers the area offered in the same day. Well it wasn't long before I drove up to an Adult Copperhead just starting to cross the road. I just about lost this guy but luckily refound him in some vegetation off the side of the road and pulled him out for a pic.


Sorry for the poor picture quality but I hoped you enjoyed it anyhow.