Herpetofauna: One Life's List

Nerodia erythrogaster transversa
Blotched Water Snake

Webaunsee Co., Kansas
May 19, 2004

We were looking for rattlesnakes on the rocky, wooded hillside, but the little pond below looked like a promising spot for transversa, one of the species I was hoping to find on this Kansas trip.

I approached the bank slowly, keeping my eyes peeled for a serpentine form along the water's edge or in the water.  Sure enough, there was a young adult Blotched Water Snake in the shallows about four feet out.  The mud and muck were pretty thick - I wouldn't get close very easily, and the snake would take off quickly anyway.  What to do?  I slowly reached out with my snake hook held under the surface, slipped it underneath the midsection and then flipped the wee beastie ashore, where I made a quick grab.  Rarely do I ever need to use a snake hook (it's more of a walking stick and a camera monopod), so I got some smug satisfaction out my maneuver.  Too bad there was nobody around to impress!

At any rate, it was good to get my hands (and lens) on another of the Plainbellies.








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