Herpetofauna: One Life's List

Nerodia cyclopion cyclopion
Mississippi Green Water Snake

Union Co., Illinois. October 1977

The swampy lowlands along the Shawnee Escarpment in southern Illinois are the northernmost toehold for this southern snake.  They are protected there and elsewhere in Illinois, a good thing because they are not found in large numbers and are restricted to the few remaining low, wet places.  They can be very common in suitable habitat further south along the Mississippi Delta. I saw a cyclopion on my first trip to LaRue-Pine Hills, but further sightings have been sporadic.  One fall Steve Coogan and I walked up and down the famous Snake Road twice (twelve miles) without seeing a blessed thing; arriving at last back at the truck, we found a Green basking under a front tire!

The top photo is an adult; the bottom photo is a juvenile, perhaps a year old and still showing some juvenile markings. 







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