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April 25, 2008

I had an hour or two to myself this afternoon so I checked out an unfenced area in Washington County.  It was pretty wet from recent rains, so I wasn't sure what to expect.  Over the last year I had seen quite a few snakes run over on the roads nearby, and figured this was a decent place to see animals, even though it's very near a developed area.  There's a mix of open grassland and trees, and a creek runs through part of the property.  I saw lots of deer tracks and the butterflies were flitting around, looking for flowers.

The first thing that caught my eye was this beautiful black ratsnake that I almost walked right past.  It was flighty at first, but once I had it in-hand it settled down.  I got the typical dousing of musk, which smelled pretty funky.  I'm so used to the smell that it didn't bother me any.






After tromping through the muck for a bit longer, I moved uphill to a drier spot with more rocks and trees.  I lifted up a few rocks and saw the usual daddy-long-legs (harvestmen) and roly-polies (isopods).  I finally got to some really flat rocks and started seeing striped bark scorpions.  One rock had several under it and I made a quick count of all of them as they scurried off.  There were 10 under there!!  I had never seen so many scorpions in one spot before.  It was really cool.  Oh, and our native scorpions are virtually harmless.  Some people have reactions to their sting, yet there are lots of people these days who are allergic to everything.  I'm glad I don't have that problem.




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