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Herping 101


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Posted by PeeBee on April 22, 2003 at 00:22:36:

In Reply to: For Experienced Herpers posted by Yonkers on April 20, 2003 at 20:01:59:

:Hey All,

:I am looking to start heading into nature this year in persute of herps like what appears most of you do.

:I am looking for general tips. I am in michigan. What are good tiems to head out? Morning, afternoon? Sunny, cloudy? Dry or after a rain?

:Do you just typically walk through the and look? Any technique? Do you roll logs over and kick through brush/leaf piles?

:I am want to be able to share pictures of finds like you all do have a new digital camera just itching to take some shots. Already took pictures of all my pets now want to head out in nature.

:Thanks,
:Scott
---------------------------------------

In the Northeast, the spring is the best season to look for snakes. May is my favorite herping month. The temps are great, the (flying) bugs aren't at their worst, and the grass hasn't yet hidden all of the cover objects. I've found the best days to be overcast, slightly humid, with temps in the mid seventies. All day is fine at the beginning of the season, but as spring progesses & it warms up, morning and late afternoon are the best times to find herps.

Look for abandoned buildings, barns, etc, & check under the cover objects. Rocky hillsides, especially south facing, can also be good.

However, the first thing you need to do is get your hands on the Conant/Collins - Peterson Guide "A Field Guide to Reptiles & Amphibians of Eastern North America". It's much easier to find an animal if you know it's natural history. The guide's also great for identifying herps you're not familiar with.

I'd also recommend that you try to find "Amphibians & Reptiles of the Great Lakes Region", a good region specific book for your area.

To get a feel for the overall field herping experience & to pick up some tips(and as Denis suggested), I'd recommend you read Snakes and Snake Hunting. Dick Bartlett's "In Search of Reptiles & Amphibians" is also very good.

Lastly, check out the Michigan Dept of Natural Resources web site, to find out the rules & regs regarding herps in your state; i.e.: I believe Fox snakes are protected.

PB


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