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Shawnee National Forest Timber Rattler

Mark H

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Thanks guys. It is a thrill seeing one. This is a good time of year to find them. They did not see this one until they were almost on top of it. Then they heard the rattle. You can see the rattles in the pic. I counted seven buttons.

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Just a few random pictures from our trip downstate.


Mark - those toad eggs are all tadpoles now and things are "greening" up rather nicely.



Eastern Box Turtle






Dwarf American Toad



Fowler's Toad



Green Treefrog



Black Kingsnake



Marbled Salamander



Mole Salamander



Smallmouth Salamander



Spring Peeper



Six-lined Racerunner

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Those are some terrific photos!! What type of camera did you use? I bet your daughter really enjoyed her trip. Where did you take the pics? I stopped to visit my parents Wed/Thur on my way to Nashville. Things were really greening up...the dogwoods were just beginning to bloom.



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I used a Nikon D50. I really need to learn how to operate this camera. I'm still having trouble applying what I study. We had a great time indeed. It is nice to see that at 15, she still gets excited when she finds a new creature. We visited several parks in the east region of the forest, and also "Snake Road", though it rained heavily that afternoon which created a shortage of snakes. It really is a beautiful area and we only scratched the surface on our short visit.

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It looks like you have that Nikon D50 down pretty good to me Steve. Glad to hear your daughter enjoys the outdoors. It is nice to share the joy of nature with kids. Were you referring to the Snake Road in the LaRue-Pine Hills area? That is on the west side of the forest. I grew up in Harrisburg so I know the eastern half pretty well. Let me know if you ever have any questions and I would be happy to point you in the right direction.



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That is on the west side of the forest.


DUH! I meant west side. Actually, one place we visited was Cache River, which I think might be east or middle section. Anyway, yes we were in Larue-Pine Hills. Its hard to imagine an area like that being in IL. I hope to be back in the fall.

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I agree it is much different than most of the rest of the state. 280,000 acres provides some fairly remote spots. The eastern side is less-populated with quaint old river towns. It is beautiful in the fall.

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Steve, is that a cottonmouth or a copperhead? I thought the cottonmouth was a dark, almost black snake with the white throat-known also as the water moccasin.

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Full grown cottonmouths are usually very dark...almost black however Steve is correct...it is an Eastern Cottonmouth. Copperheads are usually lighter in color, shorter, thicker with broader bands and wider heads. There are plenty of both in Shawnee.





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Larue-Pine Hills Bluffs


The snake is a young cottonmouth. Another neat characteristic to note in both young cottonmouths and copperheads is the yellow tipped tail. They use this to lure in small prey to feed on. They lose the yellow coloring as they mature. I guess they are some of nature's original "fishermen".




The marbled is my favorite salamander of all.




The photograph you noted is a favorite for me as well. I wish the picture had a little bit better depth of field. I love this time of the year. Herping is a great "distraction" for me in the spring once spawning season kicks in for our smallmouths (and other gamefish). Herping and fishing have a lot in common. Herpers don't like to publish their "spots" as well, due to possible exploitation of delicate populations by poachers or unknowingly negligent enthusiasts. This is especially true in the Chicagoland area, where populations of certain species are dwindling or disappearing every year. The cricket frog used to be one of the most common species of frogs in Illinois. Now it is absent from most of the northern third to half of the state.



Cricket Frog

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