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Herping Lake Erie

Jefferson

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Apr 21, 2012
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This past week here in the Midwest, the weather has been unseasonably cool and somewhat moist, so I figured that I might as well get one last real adventure in before the fall rains and school year reduce my operations to Michigan-only. Thus, on August 16th, I popped the Bruce Springsteen in the CD player and headed west out of the Detroit metro area, bound for a place rumored to have Silvery Salamanders (Ambystoma hybrids). To that end, I failed miserably at this first spot, managing only to come away with poison ivy, mosquito bites, a sore torso from log-flipping, and ten Red-backs. Next was my foray into my now beloved Buckeye State, whose sign I never fail to honk in appreciation at upon my crossing. An unspecified distance into the Buckeye State, I turned off the interstate, and into a decently rough neighborhood, attempting to find Smallmouth Salamanders. The spot only yielded mud and cicada killers, and, by this point, I was beginning to get discouraged. After a meal on the east side of Toledo, we motored out to a birding spot (I usually herp with my brother, an avid birder). Although we came up empty on birds, a walk along the rustic and not-so-scenic Lake Erie coast revealed the Gordon Lightfoot of the Frog World. A Green Frog no bigger than my thumb was sitting along the shore of Lake Erie, on the beach, with no other water in sight. When we walked by, it jumped into the waves of Erie, and was tossed like a rag doll. My brother and I took the frog inland to a marsh, though I'm still wondering why he was there and if anyone else has had a similar experience. After a cheap motel night's rest, I headed out to a spot fabled to have the ever-elusive Marbled Salamander. At the first locale, I found some lead-backed salamanders, and then stumbled upon a gem. A hybrid Ambystoma, formerly recognized (still recognized by some, including me) as a species was found under a log, and two others with the heads of Smallmouths, spots of Blue-spots, bellies of Jeffersons, and costal grooves of tigers followed, much to my euphoria. This salamander was the main goal for the entire trip. As if that weren't enough, while my brother photographed an Indigo Bunting, I stole a glance up into a nearby tree on the trail, to spy an odd-looking vine. However, when I realized what the vine was, I shrieked, and began to dance a jig straight out of 1955, saying, "Look at the tree, look at the tree!" On the tree, at eye level, was a sunning Lake Erie Water Snake, coiled and motionless. The ensuing search for Marbleds failed, but I went back to Michigan a happy camper. In fact, if there were a ranger at this proverbial campsite, I'd give him a 401(k). Another great expedition to Ohio. I guess herpers really were Born to Run!
 

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taherman

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Your Lake Erie Water snake is actually an Eastern Fox Snake. They are pretty common on Kelleys.
 
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  • FragileCorpse:
    Hey guys, its way too hot where I live right now. Temperatures 40 degree celcius outside, making it like 30 degrees inside. Ive got ice packs on my yellow spotted salamanders hidey rock, he acts like he hates it though. Am I keeping him too cold? I think my temp gauge might be messed up, or at least in the wrong spot. I put the tank temp gauge in the top left corner of his large tank, where it says its 80 degrees fahrenheit, which I am aware is too hot, which is what makes me put the ice packs on his rock at the bottom of the cage, but the bottom of his cage feels a lot cooler tha 80 degrees. Should I move my temp gauge down to the bottom corner where he hangs out the most? Should I get a soil temperature probe so I can tell what temperature the soil that hes laying on is?
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  • FragileCorpse:
    Because his soil is certainly not 80 degrees fahrenheit, and I dont want to freeze the poor bugger with ice packs if he really doesnt need them. Hes been doing fine, but Im just so stressed because I cant get ANy information on how to handle this little guy. Theyre illegal to keep without a permit, but this one would not have survived without my intervention. So I cant call and ask anyone for help. If theres a betetr site than this one, I sure havent found it. But I never get any replies here. We are all just asking questions and getting none answered basically. Its really frustrating as I just want to help this little dude be happy and healthy. All I can get him to eat is potato bugs as well. I cant find anything else that he will eat. Is that even okay? :/ hes been eating strictly those since may first.
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  • FragileCorpse:
    Does ANYONE know of a site more active than this where I can get my questions answered? My little bud needs help and Im just not getting it here.
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  • FragileCorpse:
    Alright well I bought a bunch of stuff for his tank and hope it helps. Im getting extremelty frustrated that bI cant get an answer. Guess buddies just gonna have to die or some shit. like wtf why cant I get any help.
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  • Captive Bread:
    I'm afraid this is the largest and most active community for this kind of information, probably on the entire internet. That said, we are still small overall. We can't help you all of the time. We do offer you support and have answered your questions in the past so I feel it's very impolite to lose patience with us.
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  • Captive Bread:
    Second of all, was you who said you wild caught your salamander? And had Authorities threaten to retrieve it from you?
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  • Captive Bread:
    Third of all, assuming thats the case, no one seems to want to face the reality that these animals come from climates and microenvironments where they need to be kept cool. If you can't hack, then release it where you pulled it from.
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  • FragileCorpse:
    he was dying outside. SO SORRY i was nice enough to save him. can i even release him in wetaher thats 40 degree celcius? will he not just die outside because he cant dig through the hard ground?
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  • FragileCorpse:
    The ONLY reason I spent 500 dollars on this thing was to keep him alive. thats IT. He was completely dry with cracked skin and couldnt walk and I nursed him back to health. Now I should just throw him outside on the hard baked ground where I found him? in my driveway? Really dude?
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  • FragileCorpse:
    I am losing patienc ebecause I care. Because I cant get any answers in any length of time that will actually benefit him. He'll only eat potato bugs, I just want him to have good rest of his life. Thats IT. So dont act like I went out an dillegally trapped some poor salamander out of the wild for fun cuz I wanted one.
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  • FragileCorpse:
    I am very sure he was just trying to pass by, because he certainly cant dig ANYWHERE in the soil ANYWHERE near where I live. So I cannot just release him in 40 degree celcius on the super hard baked ground where theres no shelter and no food and now ater to be seen for miles. I dont see how that wioll help him at all.
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  • John:
    @FragileCorpse, Watch your language please.
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  • FragileCorpse:
    What did I say sorry? What word?
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  • FragileCorpse:
    Sorry youre going to have to explain to me john becaue Ive reread what I wrote here and Im not seeing it,
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  • FragileCorpse:
    Ill certainly apologize for using it, but to not use it I need to know what it is is all.
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    FragileCorpse: Ill certainly apologize for using it, but to not use it I need to know what it is is all. +1
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