North Carolina Spring Break, March 2012

Roxanne, Ryan, and I spent March 20-22, 2012, in North Carolina as part of our spring break. The first day, we hiked around in the Sandhills region and saw a few animals. As is usually the case here, at least in my meager experience, the emphasis is on the word "few".

A young cricket frog -- I believe the species is the Southern Cricket Frog (Acris gryllus) here.

An Eastern Fence Lizard (Sceloporus undulatus) on a tree.

We explored along a creek and found some salamander larvae:

Eurycea sp.

Another example. They were all about 2" total length and looked nearly identical. They were very dark.

Another example.

In a nearby creek another type of larva was found:

Red Salamander (Pseudotriton ruber) larvae.

The smaller Red Salamander larva, about 45 mm total length.

The larger Red Salamander larva, about 85 mm total length.

The next day I dropped Roxanne and Ryan off at the zoo while I hiked in the Uwharrie National Forest for a few hours.

Marbled Salamander (Ambystoma opacum), as found under cover.

A skink -- I believe this one is a Southeastern Five-Lined Skink (Eumeces inexpectatus).

A Black Racer (Coluber constrictor).

A closer look at the Black Racer.

This Green Anole (Anolis carolinensis) was giving me the business from a nearby tree while I ate my lunch...

The Pisgah Covered Bridge.

On the last day I hiked along healthy Piedmont stream near where we used to live. When the conditions are good, it is possible to see basking turtles and snakes by the dozen. A nice change from southern Ohio, where the streams are not so healthy (too much agriculture and mining) and one generally has to put in some effort to find even the common snake species. All of the the photos below show the animals as found.

Northern water snake (Nerodia sipedon).

Northern water snake (Nerodia sipedon).

Northern water snake (Nerodia sipedon).

A closer look at the previous snake.

Four Queen Snakes (Regina septemvittata) basking on a small log jam.

A closer look at the one on the right.

A rather drably-patterned Queen Snake.

Turtles were a common sight.

A closer look at the group on the left.

Cropping down to the rightmost three turtles. I believe the one in the middle is a Yellow-Bellied Slider (Trachemys scripta scripta) and that the other two are River Cooters (Pseudemys concinna).

A closer look at the group on the right.

I believe this is a Muskrat. It looks like there is something weird on its head between the eye and the ear.

A look at the stream. The weather was vacillating between threatening to rain and sunny.

A Queen Snake (Regina septemvittata).

Another Queen Snake (Regina septemvittata).

A Northern Cricket Frog (Acris crepitans).

I hiked around on a south-facing rock hillside near the stream, hoping to see some different snake species. However, all I saw was this:

A large Northern water snake (Nerodia sipedon).

Back to the stream:

Another Northern water snake (Nerodia sipedon).

A closer look.

A Queen Snake (Regina septemvittata).

A skink basking near the stream -- I believe this one is a Five-Lined Skink (Eumeces fasciatus). I love the lazy posture with the hind legs.

More basking turtles. These are males, as evidenced by front claws that would make Edward Scissorhands proud.

A Northern water snake (Nerodia sipedon).

River Cooter (Pseudemys concinna).

River Cooters (Pseudemys concinna).

A Queen Snake (Regina septemvittata).

Roxanne and Ryan in the Big Chair at Big Bloomers.

Roxanne and Ryan at Big Bloomers Flower Farm, one of Roxanne's favorite nurseries. This was pretty much the end of our trip as drove straight home from here.