Snake Road, Illinois: Part 1

10:59 AM

A dear friend of mine has been organizing a trip to Snake Road (yes, such a place exists) every year in October for the past several years now.  I haven’t been able to go on this trip until this year and I truly did not know what I was missing.

Snake Road is located in South Western Illinois, inside a National Forest.  Every Spring and Fall Snake Road (which normally serves as a road travelled by cars inside the National Forest) is shut down to motorized, bike and horse traffic (basically only walking is permitted) to accommodate migrating reptiles travelling to/from their hibernation sites.  Herpers (reptile and amphibian enthusiast) from across the US, Canada and even the world come to visit snake road each year and admire a wide variety of reptiles and amphibians.  Collecting, even possessing collecting related items such as hooks and pillowcases, is strictly prohibited and grounds for serious fines and jail time.  It’s great to see that this area is so well protected and enforced to ensure the safe passage of the critters and maintain this herp phenomenon for generations to come.

On the Canadian Thanksgiving weekend of 2011, a total of 20 Canadian herp enthusiasts went down to Snake Road as a group.  When we arrived at Snake Road I learned from talking to some of the American herpers that the “Canadian Herpers” (our group) is famous for bringing down big groups of herpers every year to snake road.  It seemed like everyone already knew who we were and were expecting us in some cases.  It was wonderful to meet a wide variety of herpers from all over North America and spend 4 days searching for reptiles and amphibians in the company of some great people.

To accommodate such a large group of 20 people we split into a couple of smaller groups and rotated searching various spots.  Smaller groups makes it easier for searching and taking photographs; however sometimes you don’t end up seeing the same things as other groups which may be a bad thing.  As you can well imagine I have a tonne of photos from that weekend and in this post I will feature the amphibians we spotted in our smaller group.  I will also post a list at the end of the amphibians we found.  So enjoy and stay tuned for the reptile photos…

Cave Salamander (Eurycea lucifuga)

Cave Salamander (Eurycea lucifuga)

Cave Salamander (Eurycea lucifuga)
Note the cave beside the Cave Salamander.

Long-Tailed Salamander (Eurycea longicauda longicauda)

Long-Tailed Salamander (Eurycea longicauda longicauda)

Eastern Tiger Salamander (Ambystoma tigrinum tigrinum)

Eastern Tiger Salamander (Ambystoma tigrinum tigrinum)

Marbled Salamander (Ambystoma opacum)

Marbled Salamander (Ambystoma opacum)

Mole Salamander (Ambyatome talpoideum)

Mole Salamander (Ambyatome talpoideum)

Central Newt (Notophthalmus viridenscens louisianensis)
 Note the colour differences in two individuals from the same species!

Central Newt (Notophthalmus viridenscens louisianensis)

Central Newt (Notophthalmus viridenscens louisianensis)

Bird-Voice Treefrog (Hyla avivoca)?
We aren't 100% sure that this young froglet is a Bird-Voice Treefrog; but it's our best guess from the field markings and habitat where it was found.

Bird-Voice Treefrog (Hyla avivoca)?

Cope’s Gray Treefrog (Hyla chrysoscelis)

Green Treefrog (Hyla cinerea)

Southern Leopard Frog (Lithobates sphenocephalus)

Southern Leopard Frog (Lithobates sphenocephalus)

Bronze Frog (Rana clamitans clamitans)

Amphibians Observed by Our (Smaller) Group at Snake Road:

*- Indicates a lifer for me!
- Indicates the first time a species has been observed by our group of Canadian Herpers on a trip to Snake Road.
  1. Western Lesser Siren (Siren intermedia nettingi)*
  2. Cave Salamander (Eurycea lucifuga)* 
  3. Long-Tailed Salamander (Eurycea longicauda longicauda)*
  4. Eastern Tiger Salamander (Ambystoma tigrinum tigrinum)*
  5. Marbled Salamander (Ambystoma opacum)*
  6. Mole Salamander (Ambyatome talpoideum)*
  7. Central Newt (Notophthalmus viridenscens louisianensis)*
  8. Dwarf American Toad (Bufo americanus charlesmithi)* 
  9. Blanchard's Cricket Frog (Acris crepitans blanchardi)
  10. Spring Peeper (Pseudacris crucifer)
  11. Bird-Voice Treefrog (Hyla avivoca)*
  12. Cope’s Gray Treefrog (Hyla chrysoscelis)*
  13. Green Treefrog (Hyla cinerea)* 
  14. Southern Leopard Frog (Lithobates sphenocephalus)
  15. Bronze Frog (Rana clamitans clamitans)* 
  16. Wood Frog (Rana sylvatica)
     I will definitely go back to snake road next year.  It’s great to end the herping season with a bang!  

      Good herping!    
      
      ~ Kristen Martyn

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3 comments

  1. Beautiful photos, the salamanders and frogs have such great coloring. I would love to see so many different species of salamanders and frogs.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Hi Kristen, have you found at the Nature Blog Network and am excited about your blog .. just like the pictures of the salamanders me very well ..
    if you'd drop by loss ..
    http://waldlaeufer68.blogspot.de/search/label/Lurch
    Greetings from Germany
    frank

    ReplyDelete

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