Ohio Reptiles and Amphibians, 2019

Here are some reptiles, amphibians, and a few other things that I observed in southeastern Ohio, and beyond, in 2019.

There were heavy rains the day and night of February 7. A group of us went to see what was moving. As we arrived, the weather was turning cold and windy. In addition, the road we were exploring was starting to flood. We wound up only seeing two live amphibians.

Gray Treefrog (Hyla sp.). I'm pretty sure this is the first time I have ever seen a Gray Treefrog in February.

A Smallmouth Salamander (Ambystoma texanum).

In mid March, we made a trip down to Florida.

A Mangrove Saltmarsh Watersnake (Nerodia clarkii compressicauda), as spotted from a boardwalk in a salt marsh.

We did not do very much reptile searching in Florida. Black Racers, Six-lined Racerunners, and Brown Anoles were also seen.

Once back in Ohio, I started getting after the amphibians in mid March.

A Northern Spring Salamander (Gyrinophilus porphyriticus porphyriticus).

A Ravine Salamander (Plethodon electromorphus).

A Mountain Chorus Frog (Pseudacris brachyphona).

The Hills Covered Bridge. I always enjoy seeing the old covered bridges and will detour out of my way to see them.

A Northern Spring Salamander (Gyrinophilus porphyriticus porphyriticus) larva.

A crayfish and a dead Southern Two-lined Salamander (Eurycea cirrigera), almost as found under a rock. When initially seen, the crayfish was holding the salamander with its claw.

A Red Salamander (Pseudotriton ruber) larvae.

A closer look at the larva.

Another Red Salamander larva.

The view from very close to where the Red Salamander in the previous image was found. Something interesting happened to this billboard at the very end of the year.

Sharp-lobed Hepatica (Hepatica acutiloba).

A Northern Watersnake (Nerodia sipedon) found on March 30 by Roxanne and me on the Athens-Nelsonville bikepath. It had probably just emerged from hibernation somewhere on the steep slope to the right. It is heading towards the Hocking River on the left. It was caked with dry light mud and stood out like a neon sign.

A Mountain Chorus Frog (Pseudacris brachyphona), as found calling in a roadside ditch at night.

A Pickerel Frog (Rana palustris) seen out on a rainy night.

A Jefferson Salamander (Ambystoma jeffersonianum), also seen out in the rain.

A Wehrle's Salamander (Plethodon wehrlei). A detour into West Virginia was required to see this species. It was found only a few hundred feet from the bank of the Ohio River.

Sharp-lobed Hepatica (Hepatica acutiloba).

An American Toad (Bufo americanus), as found on our back porch.

A Green Frog (Rana clamitans), as found on the edge of our new pond.

A Five-lined Skink (Eumeces fasciatus).

Some snake bones found on top of a board. Makes one wonder what happened.

A pair of Black Kingsnakes (Lampropeltis getula nigra), as found under a board.

Skunk Cabbage (Symplocarpus foetidus).

Marsh Marigold (Caltha palustris) and Skunk Cabbage.

A Grapevine Epimenis (Psychomorpha epimenis), as found on a scat.

A rather rough looking Worm Snake (Carphophis amoenus), as found between folds of carpet.

Creepy stuff you find in the woods. A scarecrow, well past its prime.

A young Northern Watersnake (Nerodia sipedon).

A Black Racer (Coluber constrictor), almost as spotted in large bush.

My what big eyes you have! A closer look at the racer, after it was brought to hand.

A Mud Salamander (Pseudotriton montanus) larva that Aaron found.

A closer look at the larva.

A Blanchard's Cricket Frog (Acris crepitans blanchardi) found while looking for Mud Salamanders.

A Black Ratsnake (Pantherophis obsoleta), as found basking on a steep slope that was mostly covered with erosion control fabric.

Ryan and Aaron.

A Black Racer (Coluber constrictor), as found under a board.

A Black Ratsnake (Pantherophis obsoleta), as spotted on a rock face.

A closer look at the ratsnake.

A Milksnake (Lampropeltis triangulum), as found in a blanket.

A Black Kingsnake (Lampropeltis getula nigra), as found under a board.

An attractive Milksnake (Lampropeltis triangulum), as found under a board. The lighting and pose are not so good, but this was a really pretty full-grown adult snake.

Another Milksnake (Lampropeltis triangulum), as found under a board. This is a more typical color for southeast Ohio.

A Black Widow spider found on April 20. This is the first time I have ever seen one in Ohio in the spring time. They are usually a late summer or fall thing for me.

A Black Ratsnake (Pantherophis obsoleta), as flipped under a seat cushion. It was deep in shed.

Ringneck Snake (Diadophis punctatus), as found between folds of carpet.

A Worm Snake (Carphophis amoenus), as found under cover.

A Black Kingsnake (Lampropeltis getula nigra) found under a board.

A Black Kingsnake (Lampropeltis getula nigra) found in a rodent nest that was under a board.

The reveal after pulling away an old wading pool.

A closer look. A Black Kingsnake (Lampropeltis getula nigra) in a rodent nest.

A Great White Trillium (Trillium grandiflorum).

A Northern Dusky Salamander (Desmognathus fuscus), as found under a split log.

An interesting little old delivery truck.

In late April we had some good rains one night, so I went out road cruising.

A Long-tailed Salamander (Eurycea longicauda). Many of these were seen.

A Red Salamander (Pseudotriton ruber). It turns out many of these were seen as well.

Another Red Salamander. It is interesting to see their pattern and color variations.

Another Red Salamander.

Another Red Salamander. I liked the pattern on this one.

The strongly dark and strongly pattern Red Salamanders, like this one, are presumably the older adults. The rain was coming down particularly hard when I took this photo.

Another Red Salamander.

A small Red Salamander. This one had probably morphed in 2018.

Another small Red Salamander.

The last Red Salamander that I have a photo of. My camera died from all the rain it was exposed to.

This Common Gartersnakes (Thamnophis sirtalis) was also seen before my camera died.

It was a good night.

A Cumberland Plateau Salamander (Plethodon kentucki). This species apparently does not occur in Ohio. This animal was found in West Virginia, a few hundred feet from the bank of the Ohio River.

A Smooth Earth Snake (Virginia valeriae), as found under a scrap of carpet.

A Pileated Woodpecker (Dryocopus pileatus), photographed out of our kitchen window as we were making breakfast.

A Red-bellied Snake (Storeria occipitomaculata), as found under some black plastic. This was a small tan-phase example.

Another look at the Red-bellied Snake.

A Milksnake (Lampropeltis triangulum), as found under a board. This one had a very contrasting pattern.

A Long-tailed Salamander (Eurycea longicauda) larva.

A Northern Spring Salamander (Gyrinophilus porphyriticus porphyriticus).

A Long-tailed Salamander (Eurycea longicauda).

A Northern Slimy Salamander (Plethodon glutinosus), as found under a rock.

A posed photo of the same Slimy Salamander.

A Red Eft, as found on a log on a drizzly day. The Red Eft is the juvenile life stage of the Eastern Newt (Notophthalmus viridescens).

In mid May, I did some poking around in North Carolina and found a few things.

A metamorph Red Salamander (Pseudotriton ruber).

A Black Ratsnake (Pantherophis obsoleta). The animals here have a little different look than those in Ohio.

A River Cooter (Pseudemys concinna).

I bet this beaver was pretty pissed that it put in all the work to fell this tree, only to have it get hung up in the canopy...

An Eastern Spadefoot Toad (Scaphiopus holbrookii).

A Squirrel Treefrog (Hyla squirella).

A Green Treefrog (Hyla cinerea).

A small Eastern Mud Salamander (Pseudotriton montanus montanus).

A large adult Red Salamander (Pseudotriton ruber).

Now back in Ohio.

A metamorph Marbled Salamander (Ambystoma opacum).

A Black Racer (Coluber constrictor), as found under an old swimming pool.

After photographing the racer, we realized that we had overlooked something between the folds of the swimming pool:

A Black Kingsnake (Lampropeltis getula nigra).

A Copperhead (Agkistrodon contortrix), as found under carpet.

A Black Kingsnake (Lampropeltis getula nigra) found crossing a country road. As is often the case, it was right in front of somebody's house. Note also the cool old delivery truck in the background.

A Black Racer (Coluber constrictor). This snake was found under a board. It slowly crawled away, always keeping an eye on me. It stopped about six feet away from me, coiled up as shown, and just kept an eye on things. Racers are interesting snakes!

A Black Kingsnake (Lampropeltis getula nigra), as found under a board.

A Black Ratsnake (Pantherophis obsoleta), found in some roadside rubbish.

Another look at the Black Ratsnake. This is the typical pattern seen in southeastern Ohio.

June 1 was a cloudy and relatively cool day -- ideal for seeing basking snakes.

Look closely at the upper corner of this board.

A Black Kingsnake (Lampropeltis getula nigra).

Here's another board. Do you see what I see?

Look closely at the upper right corner.

An Eastern Hog-nosed Snake (Heterodon platirhinos).

When I walked around to the other side of the board, there was another Hog-nosed Snake right next to the one on the board. And then under the board, there was a Black Kingsnake!

An Eastern Eyed Click Beetle (Alaus oculatus), nearly 2 inches long. I did a little reading about these. It turns out their larvae feed on other beetle larvae and grubs.

An Eastern Box Turtle (Terrapene carolina) observed on June 8, digging a nest hole. This is on a fairly steep hillside, in a powerline right of way. The board that you can see had recently slipped down the hill a little bit, exposing some soil. I suspect she chose this location because of the exposed soil. You can also see some other digging she did in the background -- I am not sure why she gave up on the spot. I next visited this site on September 22. It appeared that the eggs had recently hatched successfully.

A juvenile Black Kingsnake (Lampropeltis getula nigra), almost as found under a board.

A Dekay's Snake (Storeria dekayi), as found under cover.

A Cope's Gray Treefrog (Hyla chrysoscelis), as found on our deck.

Rox is a real multi-tasker. Juggling a container full of blackberries, a prairie plant, and kingsnake. The kingsnake did not come home with us...

A closer look at the kingsnake. Rox says she needs a manicure...

A mother Five-lined Skink (Plestiodon fasciatus) and her eggs. For this species, the mother stays with the eggs. Presumably she guards them (obviously, depending on the threat) and maybe also makes adjustments to the nest to regulate the airflow, temperature, and humidity. She was found under an old piece of particle board that was lying on top of a large log, about two feet off the ground. There was also another skink under it. I took a couple of photos, and returned the particle board to where it was, hopefully minimally disturbing her task.

Eastern Phoebe (Sayornis phoebe) nestlings. The nest is located on the ledge of a vent to an outhouse, under the eaves. The nest is largely constructed of moss. The location and nest construction are apparently typical for the species.

A random Morning Glory observed in a dense field.

A double rainbow seen from our back deck one evening. The second rainbow is apparently caused by the light reflecting twice inside the raindrop before it gets out. Its colors are in the opposite order.

A closer look at the primary rainbow.

A monarch caterpillar going to town on our milkweed.

A well-camouflaged Copperhead (Agkistrodon contortrix).

A closer look.

The following animal was definitely my favorite find of 2019.

An Eastern Ribbon Snake (Thamnophis sauritus sauritus) that Ryan Wagner and I found. This is the first one I've ever found in southern Ohio, in 18 years of living here.

Another look. Note that this subspecies is different than the one occurring in northern Ohio, T. s. septentrionalis. This snake measured 16-0/8" SVL and 9-7/8" tail length. The tail length being greater than 1/3 third the total length is consistent with the T. s. sauritus subspecies.

The board the ribbon was found under. The surrounding vegetation was over head high. The nearest water is a man-made pond about 100 yards away. You can also see my machete, which was used to clear a path to the site.

A hatchling? Black Kingsnake (Lampropeltis getula nigra) with a meal in it found on August 31. Probably a smaller snake.

In early September, I attended a meeting of the West Virginia Herpetological Society in Charleston. We camped in the nearby state forest and had a great time. We also did a little herping in WV after the meeting was over. Here is a Black Kingsnake that we found.

A Copperhead (Agkistrodon contortrix), as found under a board.

A Green Salamander (Aneides aeneus), as spotted in a crack.

Two hatchling Black Kingsnakes (Lampropeltis getula nigra) found under a board. This was a nest site -- you can see the hole with an unhatched egg still present. The nest was not disturbed at all. The two babies appeared to have just hatched and had not shed their skin yet. This was September 15.

A hatchling Black Racer (Coluber constrictor).

A Copperhead (Agkistrodon contortrix), spotted inside a broken stump.

A recently-hatched clutch of snake eggs observed on September 22, under a pile of carpet. I found an identical looking clutch eggs here on August 7, 2016. In that case, I took the eggs home and hatched them out. They turned out to be Black Kingsnakes. I'm sure these are as well. I wonder if it was the same female that laid them?

A Common Gartersnake (Thamnophis sirtalis), shown as spotted on a path at a local microbrewery.

A Cardinal seen in one of our dogwood trees.

A Pileated Woodpecker (Dryocopus pileatus) feasting on dogwood berries in our yard.

A Green Frog (Rana clamitans).

A Bullfrog (Rana catesbeiana).

A young Spring Peeper (Pseudacris crucifer) that must have been born earlier this year.

A Northern Slimy Salamander (Plethodon glutinosus), as found on the road in the rain. Several were seen at this location, where the road parallel a rock cliff.

Another Northern Slimy Salamander, found about 10' away from the previous one. Their patterns are quite different.

The first Marbled Salamander (Ambystoma opacum) of the night.

Another Marbled Salamander.

A Jefferson Salamander (Ambystoma jeffersonianum).

An American Toad (Bufo americanus), as found on the road. Trying to camouflage itself on the center stripe?

One more Marbled Salamander.

Signage at the entrance to a town. I always find these interesting.

A Black Kingsnake (Lampropeltis getula nigra), as found under a board in mid October. The late summer and fall were very dry this year. Look at all of the cracks in the ground.

Dilapidated cars in the yard are commonplace in Appalachia. But usually they are not this cool.

The weather in late December was unseasonably warm here. This is a Northern Dusky Salamander (Desmognathus fuscus).

I revisited the site where the Budweiser billboard (see above) was in late December. It had transformed into this. If you haven't heard, Joe Burrow is this year's Heisman Trophy winner and the quarterback for the national champion Louisiana State University Tigers. My son Ryan was in the same class as Joe and they went to school together all the way from grade school through Ohio State. Joe Burrow has definitely joined the Waterloo Wonders and Bevo Francis as sports legends of southeast Ohio.

That's it for 2019.

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