SREL Reprint #1985

 

 

 

 

Natural History of the Scarlet Kingsnake Lampropeltis triangulum elapsoides in South Carolina

Tony Mills

For as long as I can remember, March 17th, the day celebrating St. Patrick, who, in mythology, drove all the snakes out of Ireland, was always the recognized first day of snake hunting. There was tremendous prestige associated with catching the very first corn, kin- or pine snake of the season, and the competition was often fierce even early in the year. Flipping tin. boards, or logs before the March 17th starting date was strictly forbidden. Suspect personnel in the herpetology group at the Savannah River Ecology Laboratory were often escorted when doing preseason field work to ensure that rules were not broken. In fact, fake jabs at stumps, shadow flipping of imaginary boards, or even loose talk about that well-seasoned tar paper pile were frowned upon. In the days before the magical March date, we would pass the days catching amphibians, lizards. and turtles (worthwhile in their own right, but just not the same as snakes). Finding a snake coiled under a piece of tin or folded into a rotten log is not unlike opening a Christmas present. And the most exciting present of all was the crimson flash of a newly uncovered scarlet kingsnake.

 

SREL Reprint #1985

Mills, T. 1995. Natural history of the Scarlet Kingsnake Lampropeltis triangulum elapsoides in South Carolina. The Vivarium 7:24-29.

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