Amidst the Covid-19 pandemonium, my college cancelled classes and most likely will cancel the rest of the semester. Whilst tragic, this brings me home during prime snaking season. I’m looking to take full advantage of this. Thus, on my first day back I didn’t hesitate to get out early. And good thing I did as I found my first snakes of the year. Found two kingsnakes, my lifer pacific ring-neck, four arborreal salamanders, three slender salamanders, four fence lizards, a variegated skink, and a plethora of mice hanging out under my boards. While an exciting start, I will be tested this season as I have so much time and so few locations. I am going to need to find some new spots so I don’t put too much pressure on the few spots I already have.
The day started off on the chilly side with a little drizzle. Under the first few boards, I didn’t find much except for arborreal and slender salamanders with the occasional fence lizard thrown in.
I was excited with the first couple finds just because I was finding something. The first string of boards were incredibly dry under them. That mixed with the low temperatures gave me low expectations for the rest of the trip. Though I did think there was value in checking my boards as I was peeling back the grass which had grown over them, making sure that snakes can get under. In addition, the large families of mice under them proved that these boards would produce later in the year.
The second string of boards were more moist and in better habitat. These were just as empty aside from the presence of more mice. Until I flipped a board to find this.
To my disbelief there were two kingsnakes.
They were about equal sized, both black and white, and banded. That being said, I didn’t know how to handle both of them and take pictures so I let one go. It took advantage of the burrows present and got out. It did appear to have more of an ivory coloration than pure white bands.
With just one snake in hand, I was able to get some photos. It appeared to be about two and a half feet in length and on the skinnier side.
Before I left it alone I got this headshot.
Continuing on, I would have been content finding nothing else. However, the luck continued as under a board just a few down I found my lifer Pacific Ring-necked snake.
I knew I would find one of these this season as I am home when it is much cooler and more moist. I’ve been looking forward to it as I have only seen the eastern variant which is said to be much more dull in coloration. It was fascinating to watch it play dead and display its vibrant colors.
The last thing I found was a variegated skink, the first one I have found.