Smooth Earth Snake in Baldwin Woods

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This Tuesday, I took a group of pre-service biology teachers on a short field trip to Baldwin Woods to introduce them to spring wildflowers.  We got an unexpected surpise:  A large female Smooth Earth Snake.  You may recall an earlier post from the Ks Bio Survey looking for help finding new populations of this snake.  George and Bill are still looking for more.  If you are in eastern KS, consider taking time out to look for earth and red belly snakes over the next couple of weeks.

Smooth Earth Snake

Smooth Earth Snake

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One thought on “Smooth Earth Snake in Baldwin Woods

  1. Smooth Earth Snakes are spring ephemerals as well.

    They are not easily found (they are a state threatened species as well). Although I have observed them on south facing hillsides, the population I often return to observe most springs is found inhabiting a northwest facing hillside littered with a heavy blanket of fall leaves. It is semi-open habitat with few shrubs and is somewhat rocky. Although I imagine they can be found under leaves and decaying logs, I find them under the rocks.

    I usually start finding them in the middle to end of March and continue to see them through April. As the spring changes to summer it is more likely to find only gravid females warming themselves under rock cover.

    I haven’t yet visited my site this spring. If anyone is interested in tagging along some weekend let me know.

    Here is a link to a paper by George Pisani on his research on the species in Eastern Kansas: http://www.cnah.org/awardFiles/ca2010.pdf

    He also has a wonderful paper on the smooth earth snake (and other snakes) use of ant nest as winter hibernacula. I couldn’t find a link to it. I think it was published in the Transactions of the KS Academy of Science.

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