Living 25 Miles North of Chicago

usafaux2004

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Hey all.

Back in the spring this year I took my wife to the forest preserve, and off the beaten path (so to speak) to actually try to see some wild critters.

We saw some garter snakes, but nothing else really. I'm guessing the woods/season just weren't right for frogs/newts/sals, etc.
snakes.jpg


I used to love going in the woods in Europe as a kid and finding all sorts of animals, but my wife never had the experience, so I really wanted to let her experience it.
 

usafaux2004

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Aaaand now I know why no responses. Somehow a paragraph never made it.

Or maybe mods deleted? Not sure.

I'm wondering if there are any herpers in this are who can either take us along on a hike or share a good spot that is more caudate/amphibian and less snake. Lol.

Not planning on taking them out of the woods, just find, snap some photos, and move on.
 

manderkeeper

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Most of my experience has been many hours south of you so the times will likely need adjusted. I would begin seeing spotted salamanders in mid to late Feb. usually during the first rain that was above 50F. They are hard to see while driving so I would park my car and just walk around the roads near woodland ponds and find them. Then I would walk back to the ponds deeper in the woods with a flashlight and I could see them in the water.

You can also find various mole salamanders by looking around the logs and such around breeding ponds. Some Lungless salamanders are less tied to water and can be found under rocks and logs throughout the wooded areas. Just be sure to return the rock to its original position and then sit the salamander at the edge of the rock/log so it can go right back under, I usually even cover them with a little leaf litter. Don't try to lift a bigger rock than you can. Once I lifted a really big rock and 2 copperheads were under it. I struggled to roll it all the way back because of my foot position and I couldn't lay it back down or if would smash them. It was quite an ordeal and eventually I scooted another rock under it to prop it up but best to avoid such situations. Other lungless salamanders are often found in and along creek beds where they reproduce. Those little streams tend to have less fish problems because they dry up at times. I've had some luck with smallmouth salamanders in flooded areas. They will lay their eggs in the flooded areas that dry up in the summer. I've seen their larvae in areas that are not very deep.
 
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