Posted by: reptilesalive | April 5, 2005

Calvert Cliffs Expedition

We have only one day off together. That means a trip to somewhere close. Today we head out to Calvert Cliffs in Southern Maryland:

http://www.dnr.state.md.us/publiclands/southern/calvertcliffs.html

With only a two mile hike to the fossil filled beach, it was a treat.

We saw many frogs and other critters along the boardwalk. Caroline looks like she is about ready to go skipping. Tra-lah-lah-lah.

It was in the perfect 80’s. The boardwalk comes to an abrupt end. We have two miles ahead of us. Some fantastic scenery. And something possibly never seen before!

Can you find the turtle on the log in this picture?

Can you identify that turtle?  Me either, that little guy is WAY too far away.

Keep your eyes peeled on the other side of the walk or you might miss a HUGE worm snake.

Worm snakes (Carphophis amoenus) have tiny little eyes and look very much like a giant worm. The worms know the difference though. These snakes dine on worms! They even have a little spike on their tail to help push those wiggily-iggly slimy little worms in their mouth. Sssssslurps up!

Caroline fondly calls the worm snake and the next snake, LBS’s “little brown snakes.”  They may look the same, but they are very different.

Smooth Earthsnakes (Virginia valeriae) spend most of their time underground, they are fossorial.  They love to snoop under logs, boards, and rocks for yummy earthworms.

Does that sound like another snake?

Wormsnakes lay eggs like typical snakes.  Earthsnakes give live birth.  Visually, wormsnakes have pink bellies and a blunt snout.  Earth snakes have longer snouts and their scales include black specks.

Ringneck snakes are one of my favorite snakes to find.  When you first see them, they look like just another LBS.  If they get nervous, you get a surprise!  A brilliant yellow, orange, or red belly flashes into view as the snake flips and coils on the ground.

So far we have had amazing luck.

Now we are at the beach.  I am amazed at how blue the water is here!

Gorgeous!

These two pictures were sent to all my friends at work, to taunt them.

We get to play during the normal work week when there is no one around.  I love being alone out in the wild.  I imagine during the weekends, the beaches are filled with people looking for fossils.  You can have as many as you find on the beach.  Cool!

One guy we met found several shark teeth and even a few fossilized dolphin teeth.

Back on the trail, this little skink ran right out in front of us.  What is with these lizards?  Every time we see one I swear they are playing chicken on the hiking trail.  Are they making bets with other lizards to see how close they can get to a hiker without getting stepped on or caught?  Three worms for three inches!

Check out the huge ear on this guy!

On our way back, several people going the other way told us to watch out for the copperhead in the middle of the trail.  It was battling another snake, we swear!  Yeah, right.  For one it is most likely a non-venomous brown snake.  We doubted there was even another snake in the vicinity. Boy were we wrong!

A northern black racer has wrestled and killed a bone fide copperhead snake.  Then, he began to eat it.  We stared in amazement until he slurped down the last of his tail.  Down like spaghetti.

Whoa!

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