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Kansas in Passing

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.

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That evening 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.

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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. 

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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.

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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!