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Old 20-08-2008, 07:58 PM
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Default Herps of Shawnee forest...timber rattlesnake

The most dangerous snakes are the rattlesnakes. They are yellow in color, marked with black spots. The largest are about four feet long, sometimes more, and about as thick as an arm. The rattles are at the end of their tails, and often betray the snakes when they are not seen….When the rattling sound is heard, it is a sign that the serpent is angry, the trembling of the tail causing the rattling…. On wither side of the mouth they have two very sharp teeth, which lie concealed in a skin sack until they want to bite, when they are able to move these forward with great swiftness. Hence, it is that when anyone has been bitten four little openings close together may be seen in the skin. If a rattlesnake has been killed,…and one draws forward the teeth with a little stick, a clear liquid spurts out of the bag lying at the root of the teeth. This is the poisonous juice......David Zeisberger, History of North American Indians, 1779-1780.
The coloring of the Eastern timber rattlesnake (Crotalus horridus horridus) ranges from yellow to brown or gray to black. It has a series of dark chevron-shaped crossbands. It has a noticeable, rattle on the end of its tail.
Pairs will breed in August and April, shortly afterward the female will give birth to 15 - 17 live young. At maturity, adults will reach a length of three to four feet, with a maximum of six feet. They can live up to thirty years.
The timber rattlesnake is the most dangerous venomous snake in northeastern America. However, bites are not common. It is normally calm, preferring to stay coiled and motionless or crawl away when bothered. If threatened though, the timber rattlesnake will rise up and shake its rattle, giving a warning before striking - only when necessary. Rattlesnakes can strike up to 1/3 to 1/2 of their body length.
Approximately 8,000 people are bitten every year in North America. Of this number, less than ten deaths occur.
They are diurnal during the spring and fall but become nocturnal in the hot summer months. During the winter, it will hibernate with a number of snakes including the black rat snake and copperhead.
Historically, the timber rattlesnake had a wider range. In the early 1800s it was found in 24 Ohio counties. In the 1930s it was found on some islands in Lake Erie. Scientists and wildlife officers do not believe they still inhabit the northern region because there have been no sightings in the area since the 1950s. With Ohio's development from rural to urban, the rattlesnake's range has shrunk considerably. Today the species is found in the southeastern portion of Ohio in remote areas such as Pike, Shawnee, Tar Hollow and Zaleski state forests, preferring a habitat of dry, wooded hill country where they will prey on squirrels, mice and other small rodents, and small birds.
The eastern timber rattlesnake is on Ohio's Endangered Species list.
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Old 20-08-2008, 08:03 PM
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Default Herps of Shawnee forest. northern copperhead

The northern copperhead (Agkistrodon contortrix) has a stocky body that may be copper, orange or pinkish with dark hourglass-shaped crossbands. This coloration helps them with camouflage because they resemble fall leaves on the forest floor of the rocky, wooded habitat they prefer. Young copperheads have a yellow-tipped tail which they flick to lure prey to them. The non-venomous milk snake has similar coloring and is sometimes confused with the adult copperhead.
Copperheads breed twice during the year -- February to April and August to October, producing 3 - 10 live young each time. They will grow to reach an average of 24 - 36 inches as an adult. Copperheads typically live one to seven years, with a maximum of thirty years. The snake eats a variety of small rodents, insects, lizards and frogs.
Although they are shy and seldom seen, the native northern copperhead has the "honor" of having bitten more people than any other venomous snake in the United States. However, there have been very few deaths attributed to the very painful bite. Still, they should be considered dangerous. When they are encountered, they will normally remain still or move away. If they feel very threatened, they will shake their tail (although they have no rattle) and strike out in self defense.
Like many snakes, the copperhead is diurnal in the spring and fall but becomes nocturnal during the summer. It is common to see a copperhead at night after a shower lying on the warm, wet road pavement.
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Old 20-08-2008, 08:08 PM
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I went on holiday to relatives in Texas recently. They've had a couple of copperheads round the pool, so we had to be a bit careful. We only saw one snake...don't know what it was, but had just shed a 5ft skin (which I brought home). It was black and grey. We saw a black widow spider on the side of the pool too, but splashed it and it scuttled off into the undergrowth.
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Old 20-08-2008, 08:16 PM
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Default Herps of shawnee forest, Black Ratsnake

The black rat snake (Elaphe obsoleta obsoleta) is the largest species of snake in Ohio. It can reach lengths of up to eight feet, averaging 42 - 72 inches. It is black with a faint gray or brown checkerboard pattern and white between its scales. They are native to most of Ohio. The black rat snakes habitat includes forests, farmlands, and old fields, where they find prey, including small rodents, birds and eggs.
It is an excellent climber, often going up trees or rafters to raid birds’ nests of eggs and young. It is a constrictor.
When captured, they will release a very foul odor from scent glands.
Black rat snakes breed between April and June. During this time the female will lay 5-30 eggs (10-14 average).
During the spring and fall, the black rat snake is diurnal, but becomes nocturnal during the hot summer months. Like all reptiles, it is cold blooded.
Rat snakes will hibernate with other snake of different species including the timber rattlesnake and copperhead. There is a myth that in times of danger the black rat will steer, or “pilot”, these venomous snakes to safety. Although this is completely false, it is also known as the Pilot Snake.
It is one of the most beneficial predators in Ohio. It excels in controlling rodent populations. Unfortunately because it often lives close to humans, it is the most frequently killed species of snake. This is because of its large size and a general human fear toward all snakes.
If left alone, it can live up to twenty years.
The black rat snake (Elaphe obsoleta obsoleta) is the largest species of snake in Ohio. It can reach lengths of up to eight feet, averaging 42 - 72 inches. It is black with a faint gray or brown checkerboard pattern and white between its scales. They are native to most of Ohio. The black rat snakes habitat includes forests, farmlands, and old fields, where they find prey, including small rodents, birds and eggs.
It is an excellent climber, often going up trees or rafters to raid birds’ nests of eggs and young. It is a constrictor.
When captured, they will release a very foul odor from scent glands.
Black rat snakes breed between April and June. During this time the female will lay 5-30 eggs (10-14 average).
During the spring and fall, the black rat snake is diurnal, but becomes nocturnal during the hot summer months. Like all reptiles, it is cold blooded.
Rat snakes will hibernate with other snake of different species including the timber rattlesnake and copperhead. There is a myth that in times of danger the black rat will steer, or “pilot”, these venomous snakes to safety. Although this is completely false, it is also known as the Pilot Snake.
It is one of the most beneficial predators in Ohio. It excels in controlling rodent populations. Unfortunately because it often lives close to humans, it is the most frequently killed species of snake. This is because of its large size and a general human fear toward all snakes.
If left alone, it can live up to twenty years.
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Old 20-08-2008, 08:19 PM
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Excellent stuff Habu. Keep it coming
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Old 20-08-2008, 08:26 PM
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Default Herps of shawnee forest, Eastern Hognose Snake

The hognose snake (Heterodon platyrhinos) gets its name from the turned up, pig-like nose that it uses to dig for toads. Its coloring can range from yellow and brown to black and gray, making its nose the best method for identification.
Averaging 18 - 30 inches in length, the hognose prefers habitats of dry, sandy areas; fields, upland hillsides with few trees and meadows. In addition to toads, it also eats frogs, salamanders and small mammals.
It breeds from June to August, laying 4 - 61 eggs.
The snake is diurnal and can be found throughout Ohio except for the northeastern corner. It is most common in northwestern Ohio's Oak Openings.
It begins its hibernation in October and November.
The hognose is not as vicious as it lets on to be. When threatened, the hognose will coil its body and flatten its head and neck to appear like a cobra's hood. It will then hiss and strike with its mouth closed, often falling quite short of its target. Because of these defensive reactions, it has been thought in the past they were venomous and it has been called the puff adder, blow snake and hissing viper. However, if it is still threatened after all of this, the snake will "play ‘possum", rolling over on its back and remaining still, with its mouth open and tongue hanging out. When danger has passed, it will roll back over and move away. Eighteenth century Moravian missionary David Zeisberger stated, "the spreading viper or hissing adder, [is] an entirely harmless snake generally thought to be poisonous."

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Old 20-08-2008, 08:34 PM
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nice snakes!
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Old 20-08-2008, 08:36 PM
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Default Herps of shawnee forest, Eastern Gartersnake

There are three species of garter snakes in Ohio -- the Eastern garter, Easter plains garter, and the Butler’s garter snake. The Eastern garter snake (Thamnophis sirtalis sirtalis) is the most common, ranging throughout Ohio.
Garter snakes come in a variety of colorings. Generally, the Eastern garter snake can be identified by its dark body with three stripes, a thin one on its back and thicker ones on either side. The stripes are normally yellow. Eighteenth-century Moravian missionary, David Zeisberger, described garter snakes as, "a kind of striped, brightly marked snakes which are small and harmless."
It is diurnal, usually hunting in moist habitats such as wet woodlands, meadows, marshes and along drainage ditches and streams. Its diet consists of frogs, toads, salamanders, earthworms, minnows and mice.
Although cold blooded, the garter snake can tolerate very cold weather but will come together in large numbers to hibernate during the winter. When spring arrives they will breed from March to May, producing 7 - 85 live young. The average adult garter snake is 18 - 26 inches long, yet can reach a maximum length of 36 inches.
A garter snake's life expectancy is no longer than ten years.
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Old 20-08-2008, 08:45 PM
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Default Herps of shawnee forest, Eastern Black Kingsnake

The Black Kingsnake Lampropeltis getula nigra in its purest form, is a beautiful snake. As the name suggests, this is basically a smooth scaled black snake with a glossy shine, and depending on the locality, it may have varying degrees of pattern dorsally with some individuals lacking pattern all together.
It has been our observations that there is a distinct tendency for those populations from upland habitats (above) to be the darkest, while the lowland populations (right) are more apt to retain more of the juvenile pattern. The Black Kingsnake is intermediate in size for a common kingsnake. The official record length according to the Peterson field guide of Reptiles and Amphibians list 58" as the record size. The Black Kingsnake is a dietary generalist. In addition to warm blooded prey they will also feed opportunistically on lizards, frogs, reptile and bird eggs. Like all kingsnakes, they will commonly prey on other species of snakes, both venomous and otherwise.
Black Kingsnakes most often utilize edge habitat, commonly found under roofing tin and boards where the field meets the forest, and in transitional sites such as abandoned farms and dump sites. Kingsnakes often take up residence in the network of rodent burrows that exist under sheltering objects at these places. Unlike the kingsnakes found in other parts of their range, the Black Kingsnake does not seem to be as directly linked to water ways as in the deep south where they often frequent canals or cypress swamps or in the west where riparian corridors are often utilized. In Ohio, edge habitat is usually frequented whether it be where the field meets the forest or aquatic environs. We have found them to be equally numerous on the edges of swamps as we have on high and dry ridges of pine and oak.
The earliest emergence we have recorded over the past two years has been on March 21st. By late March they are usually out in considerable numbers. Often times we have seen adult pairs together under a single piece of artificial cover early in the year and we believe that this is when reproductive activity commences. Gravid females have been observed regularly in late May through early June. Over the years we have recorded a number of clutch sizes ranging from 7-12 eggs. The young have hatched out in between 52 and 60 days, depending on ambient air temperatures. Hatchling Black Kingsnakes are generally between 8" and 10" long and are strongly marked in the form of numerous cross bars which form a chain pattern on the sides. Depending on the origin, some or all of this neonate patterning is lost as the young snake matures.

The Black Kingsnake has a fairly small range when compared to other subspecies of the common king snake. The center of this range is Kentucky and Tennessee and extends north to smaller portions of West Virginia, Ohio and Indiana. To the west they occur in Illinois where the Black Kingsnake eventually intergrades with the Speckled Kingsnake, Lampropeltis getula holbrooki. To the south the Black Kingsnake ranges into northern Alabama and Georgia and perhaps into Mississippi as an intergrade. In the east the Black Kingsnake extends into the southwestern extreme of Virginia. Throughout this range where the Black Kingsnake comes into contact with other members of the getula complex intergrades exist, whether this be in the west with L.g.holbrooki or in the south with L.g.getula.
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Old 20-08-2008, 08:50 PM
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Default Herps of shawnee forest, Northern Watersnake

The northern water snake (Natrix sipedon sipedon) is abundant and can be found throughout Ohio around any permanent body of water, including lakes, ponds, swamps, marshes, streams, and rivers as habitats.
The species breeds between April and June, producing 8 - 99 live young, averaging 15 - 30.
It is stocky and comes in a variety of colors and patterns ranging from reddish brown to brown-black with dark blotches on its back and sides. Its body length ranges from 22 - 53 inches. It looks very similar to the venomous water moccasin, or cottonmouth, neither of which lives in Ohio. Despite this fact, the northern water snake is frequently killed because of their appearance.
It's frequently seen sunning itself on logs and rocks, but will go into the water when disturbed. As a defensive measure, if necessary, it will bite viciously. A water snake bite will bleed a lot because of a substance in the snake's saliva that slows the clotting of blood.
Northern water snakes typically eat frogs, small fish, salamanders, small turtles, crustaceans, and small mammals.
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