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Posted by Erik - NM on March 17, 2003 at 18:55:50:
I had been working a lot lately, so today when I had my day off, I decided to do a little herping. Went to a field that I've herped plenty of times before to see if I could turn up anything new.
I flipped some tin and some boards and found a ton of earth snakes (just like always) and a few Texas patchnose snake (just like always). I turned up a couple checkered garter snakes as well which have become more common than the first times I've herped here. I came up to one large board and something scrambled underneath it. I lifted it up and found this:
A pair of western coachwhips (Nastycophis flagellum testaceus).
One of the pair slithered away into brush pile nearby, but the other stayed around smelling, flicking the tongue, poking around with his/her head while I took some pictures:
This snake was HUGE! Well over 6' and as thick as a good sized bull/gopher snake!
A blurry picture, but shows the "banded" pattern of this snake.
Now, Joe Forks showed me this field and has found a coachwhip on at least 3 different occasions here....and ultimately compared two different pictures he took from two different outings and decided they were different snakes that he found. I have to say that he is right!
I flipped a few more things and found some more earth snakes...which I now believe have been here on earth longer than cockroaches...they're everywhere! I flipped some carpet and saw a tan snake slither underneath one of the folds....a smaller coachwhip maybe?! I got my camera ready to get pics. Flip the carpet again and it's a checkered garter! I may be wrong about this, but this snakes was EXTREMELY light compared to all the checkered garters I've found here or anywhere else.
Above pic is a normal colored checkered garter snake.
This is the VERY reduced black (hypomelanistic??) I found today.
close up head shot
After taking a tons of pics of this snake, I headed back to the car. I came upon this huge piece of tin that I've never found anything under. Which ALMOST made me walk past it:
I decided to lift it up just in case...and this is what I found:
Sorry for the blurry pic, but ANOTHER pair of western coachwhips!
the smaller one looked to be trying to court the other one....
I honestly believe that this pair of coachwhips were different from the ones I found about 10-15 minutes earlier. I found these WAY on the other side of the field...opposite direction of where the first coachwhips took cover (they went north, while this pair was ~100 yards south). They also looked smaller and thinner (although one was ~5' and the other was ~6').
I found another checkered garter snake near where I parked my car, but ran out of memory on my card so I couldn't take pics. All in all, this was one of the bset days I've had herping...and definitely the best since living here in San Antonio.
Oh yeah, I also thought I'd take a macro pic of some flowers...seems to be the thing to do!