Saturday, June 6, 2020

The Journey to the South


Science is amazing, life is amazing. God, who created them all and set things in motion, is beyond amazing.

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Snake migrating: A yearly gathering in Southern Illinois

Common names of some of the species you might encounter on or near Snake Road include:

Spiny Softshell
Northern Red-Bellied Snake
Spotted Salamander
Chorus Frog
Slimy Salamander

Broadheaded Skink
Eastern Hognose Snake
Red Milk Snake
Midland Water Snake
Western Ribbon Snake

Eastern Rough Green Snake
Eastern Garter Snake
Western Lesser Siren
Marbled Salamander
Small-Mouthed Salamander

Midwest Worm Snake
Central Newt
Zigzag salamander
Long-Tailed Salamander
Black Rat Snake
Cave Salamander

American Toad
Fowler's Toad
Copperhead
Blanchard's Cricket Frog
Northern Spring Peeper
Eastern Grey Treefrog

Black Racer
Bullfrog
Green Frog
Southern Leopard Frog
Midland Brown Snake
Common Snapping Turtle

Stinkpot Turtle
Eastern Box Turtle
Ringneck Snake
Eastern Painted Turtle
Red-Eared Turtle

Northern Fence Lizard
 King Snake
Ground Skink
Western Cottonmouth
Five-Lined Skink

Western Earth Snake
Western Mud Snake
Diamond-Backed Water Snake

Notice that lizards and turtles are there as well, to snack on the baby snakes. Also, they would be lunch for snakes. 

My son is an entomologist who did his graduate work at University of Illinois, Champaign Urbana. One event he arranged for undergrads was to take them to view the "Annual Snake Migration in Southern Illinois". 


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I had never heard of the migration, thought it was something made-up. He described this with great enthusiasm and their one overnight campout went without any mishaps. 

He spoke of making another trip where hunters nailed dead squirrels on to  trees in this forest. This is now considered to be an urban myth, thankfully.




White oak snake, not poisonous


Snake migration is common in warmer seasons


Each of these videos is about 1 min and less. I hope you will take the time to see some slithering about.

Not every person shares an enthusiasm for such creatures. Fortunately, my son does and has taught us to appreciate them.  His primary focus is insects. He had two tarantulas which remained at our house for a few years. 

If a snake of any sort is within a few yards of me, I definitely would scamper away from it. Admire, appreciate, and wonder at snakes, I do. See them close up and personal, I do not.


37 comments:

  1. I've heard of snake migrations but never seen one. I tend to stay away from snakes as most of the Australian one are venomous to some degree. I don't know if we have the migrations here, since our country is all hot and dry, there wouldn't be the need for snakes to find warmer or cooler places.

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    1. You have an interesting assortment of poisonous critters there.

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  2. NEVER heard of a snake migration. I am not crazy bout snakes but have caught many of them. Been bit once. Have tried to teach the grands to respect snakes.
    Before Sherry finished our AT hike she was able to step over the non poisonous snakes and warn me of a rattler once in Tennessee, since I could not hear it.
    Thanks for the lesson, and a nead read of more names than I needed. LOL didn't know there were that many reptiles and other critters. LOL (aain)
    Sherry & jack

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    1. You old snake rustler! Fun stuff, isn't it.

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  3. I saw a snake migration in AZ one year. It's fascinating, but scary. Good for your son.

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  4. I can appreciate snakes. From a considerable distance.
    A red-bellied black lived under the front steps of one of our homes and for about nine months of the year I only used the back door.

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    1. Australia is legendary for its venomous snakes, spiders and crocodiles. I'd take the back door.

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  5. I never knew they migrated and gathered either. Hopefully people aren't out there running them over.

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    1. There are usually road closings and/or rangers and snake enthusiasts to protect them during this period, March - May. The roads are 2 lane, country type roads.

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  6. The natural world is indeed amazing. Though I have never delved into snakes, they are truly things of e wonder.

    Many people are a bit put off by them. I am reading The Ape that Understand the Universe, in that book, Steve Stewart-Williams talks about how a revulsion to snakes is hardwired into the human psyche.

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    1. That makes total sense. Self-preservation is a good to have.

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  7. Extremely interesting but I'll pass.

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  8. I'd rather admire them from afar.

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  9. We've never seen a migration, but we've had pet snakes. #2 Son is still fascinated with them.

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    1. What kind does he find the most fascinating?

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  10. Not my critter, I have to say. But it's very interesting!

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  11. I really haven't read or seen too much info on snakes. I just not a fan but I can admire them.

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    1. Snakes are absent where you live. In Illinois, snakes slither around freely in camouflage .

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  12. I hadn't heard of snake migrations either. I gather the snakes are moving from the best winter habitat to the best summer habitat, and vice versa. Is that right?

    Squirrels are my favourite animals. I'm glad the idea of hunters nailing them to trees is an urban myth.

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    1. I will have to ask my son about the north to south and back again.

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  13. Seems snakes aren't real prominent around here. There used to be a few more, but they became really rare for us to see 6-7 years back.

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    1. Will have to check where you live. It is hard to think of a place without snakes, except for British isles.

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  14. Our daughter seems to be leaning towards biology these days with a particular interest in frogs. Neither my wife nor I were ever remotely science people so it's a fascinating development.

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    1. Frogs are an important part of the ecosystem, so I am glad she is thinking about that.

      Science is prominent in our family. My husband has many tee shirts science related. One says "STand back, I am about to do science" and another one says "You can't trust atoms. they make up everything."

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  15. I've never seen a snake migration, but I found (accidentally) 4 or 5 baby copperheads warming themselves on a blacktop trail at a state park. They were aggressive! I stepped closer to bend over and peer at them, seeing what kind they were, and one struck at the sole of my New Balance! I moved on pretty quickly!

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  16. wow
    i loved this post dear Susan

    thank you for wonderful videos ,it was amazing to look at snakes after all those years :) i miss them sometime

    how unique and special your son is who loved snakes and adore insects :)
    i remember a boy from village who was fond of insects and we would see him often holding some insects ,my eldest son would too not hesitate to hold these creatures i adore them but holding the no way lol

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    1. Hope that young man made his love of bugs his passion.

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  17. My son is now 55 years old. When he was 14 he was already 6 foot 2 in tall. He had a love for snakes frogs lizards anything in the herpetology. Our local Science Museum had a herpetology Club and the ledge limit was 16 but they made an exception and let him join because he was bigger than any other ones that were in there. He had a pet king snake that lived in his bedroom but it was moved outside when he let it get away from him during the winter and I found it in his jeans drawer

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    1. Yeah, the snake-on-the-loose would end the indoor living. LOL

      One of my son's tarantulas somehow got loose, and we found it before it made to a hole in his closet. It was exciting.

      My son grew tall early as well. If there had been such a club, he would have been in the front row!

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Go ahead...it won' t hurt...I'd love to hear what you think!