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post #1 of 11 (permalink) Old 07-09-2006, 10:09 AM Thread Starter
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snake hunting and releasing

since i quit my job im bored! and now i have time to do something i have always aimed to do. im gonna go out and look for snakes, photograph them, name them, and list where i seen them and the time of day, etc. just for fun of course. i can have my own little flip book of snakes in kentucky/tennesse.
i have been looking a little for the past two days, but from what i have read i need to come out at night. i would love to find a ring neck snake first off. and of course i will share pics of my findings!
anyone here know a good website that tell you where you can find native snakes and there breeding season?


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post #2 of 11 (permalink) Old 07-09-2006, 01:03 PM
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You would have better luck going out early in the morning. Before the heat of the day (for finding stuff, and for taking better pictures). Going out at night might seem more logical, as that is when the snake's are often most active, but when they are active you're really less likely to bump into them. Plus, in the middle of the night you don't want to be stumbling around in the dark with only a flashlight. Mainly because it is hard to see where you're going and where you're putting your hands, but also because there are potentially dangerous species (copperheads and rattlesnakes), and other things like scorpions in areas snakes like to spend time.

Not to mention, during the day you will also have better luck finding lizards, which are always photogenic. Find some old farmsteads, places with lots of debris and trash on the ground. I'm not sure how much it is used in KY/TN but sheets of roofing tin are used for farm buildings here in Texas, and often sheets of it are laying around the ground. They are like a magnet for snakes, as they warm up during the day, but yet still afford them the secure cover they prefer by huddling underneath it. Pieces of plywood, old tires, heck, I even found a 30 inch long prairie king snake huddled under an old t-shirt once. It is amazing how small of a space they can fit into.

If you do want to go out at night, find some dark farm roads off of the main roads, and drive slowly down them. Especially a road near a pond/lake/creek. Quite often you can find snakes and amphibians crossing the road, or sitting on the edges of it warming their bodies on the asphalt because it holds heat from the day. Just don't shine your flashlight from the car, that's illegal, and make sure when you see something to pull as far off the road as you can. Sticking to the road is a little safer than tromping through the brush, but sometimes you have to move pretty fast to catch something before it makes its way off the side of the road.

You may want to double check with your state Fish & Game, in many states a hunting license is required to do such things. Even if you're just releasing them after you get a picture.

Most snakes in the US breed in the spring, eggs are laid and hatch out in the mid-late summer. Gives them time to fatten up before winter. A few species breed in the fall, overwinter gravid, and give birth the next spring. About now is when one should start finding this year's babies, especially since many areas had such an early spring. If you Google for a specific species, I'm sure you can find all the info you want on them. North American species are quite well studied.

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post #3 of 11 (permalink) Old 07-09-2006, 01:08 PM Thread Starter
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wow you were helpful! thanks sooo much, i cant wait till morning! im an early bird anway. there is a vacant field behind us that has lots of grown up grass, i wonder if thats a pretty good place for me to start!
ya know, i wouldnt mind finding a box turtle too. we have some land out on the lake down here ill have to go out there early some morning, i know some snakes love those rocky hillsides and all that rotten wood


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post #4 of 11 (permalink) Old 07-09-2006, 01:16 PM
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I've been hunting reptiles in box turtle territory for seven years now, and have only come across two box turtles, only one of which was alive. They are VERY secretive, and amazingly hard to come across, but definitely a good find if you do come across one. Just make sure to not remove them from where you found them. Box turtles rarely survive if relocated from their home range.

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post #5 of 11 (permalink) Old 07-09-2006, 03:28 PM Thread Starter
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thanks for the info Ravnos! thats nice to know


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post #6 of 11 (permalink) Old 07-09-2006, 04:05 PM
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Box turtles have become VERY scarce throughout most of their range in the midwest. You'll probably have a hard time finding any of them in any easily accessible location.

The reasons for Box turtle depopulation are many, but finding one, picking it up and moving it any real distance at all is pretty much a death sentence for one. When they are taken out of their territory, they will wander for the rest of their lives. An ongoing experiment in PA has shown that radio tracked turtles continue to wander for years after their displacement, ...even if they are put in suitable habitat. Because they don't know sources of food, water and places to hibernate (not to mentions roads, rivers and subdivisions) they are likely to come to a bad end.

I believe that it is illegal to capture native species in KY. I have a friend who is a keeper at Louisville Zoo, and they are doing a study on native Timber Rattlesnakes. They have to coordinate pretty closely with Fish & Wildlife.

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post #7 of 11 (permalink) Old 07-09-2006, 04:13 PM Thread Starter
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well no problem. i wont take them out of there natural habitat. just take a pic, and purhaps (depending what i catch) hold it and take a pic to get the best i can.
also i am interested in doing this with lizards and insects. sadly i didnt have my camera on me yesterday when i found an awesome millipead. he/she was black with yellow stripes. i was talking about it all day!


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post #8 of 11 (permalink) Old 07-09-2006, 04:23 PM
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best bet is to look under rotting wood or on stumps where they would sun bathe but make shure you know what your grabbing
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post #9 of 11 (permalink) Old 07-09-2006, 04:36 PM Thread Starter
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yeah i know what im lookin at when i see a snake. thanks for the warning anyway


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post #10 of 11 (permalink) Old 12-25-2006, 06:30 PM
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Thanks Ravnos you gave some good advise. I get call outs to remove Cape Cobra etc. from garages, cars and houses.
Though the animal is confined in a known area the scary bit is to find it without finding the `point end` first.


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post #11 of 11 (permalink) Old 03-12-2008, 07:43 PM
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i do the same thing u do durin the summer its fun
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