I took a quick trip out to Colorado this
summer to visit with my dad. Along the way, I planned to do a little late afternoon
road hunting in Kansas for snakes. I
only had one evening on the way out, and another on the way back, so Chad Whitney hooked me up
with a place to try only a few minutes off the interstate. My two main target
species were a prairie rattlesnake and a western massasauga rattlesnake. I found
my first prairie rattlesnake in short order.
drive also produced another prairie rattler, a red-sided garter snake, a western ribbon snake, a Great Plains rat snake, many ornate box turtles, and many Woodhouse’s toads.
All my time in Colorado was spent
at high elevations and I only had a few days, so those were spent primarily catching up with my dad. Although, I had always heard that Neotenic tiger salamanders were abundant in the ponds in the area so
I had to get out and give them a try. Only after a few scoops of the net I had
my first mountain tiger.
I was so impressed with the animal that
I decided to take it back to Missouri to
photograph it, properly, in an aquarium of water. Since turning it loose after
photographing it was not an option back home, I figured I’d just make a pet out of it after photographing it. The salamander made it back to Missouri in good health, but
I wasn’t going to be able to photograph it in its Neotenic form after all. In
just the short ride home, it had completely metamorphosed into its terrestrial form.
I never realized they could transform that fast.
On the way back to Missouri I
did get to see a couple more Prairie rattlesnakes but that was about all. Thanks
to Chad for the hook up!