Vt Herp News: roadkilled snakes


once the warmer temperatures returned after those first frosts, thousands of snakes had warmed up enough to be on the move. If you have not been out yet, this weekend should be good. Prepare yourself though, many of the snakes will have been run over already. Here is a short report from one of the many people (Deb Laramie) who have been out over the last few days.

“We went out again today and sadly found 27 dead and 2 live Dekay’s Brown, 1 dead red bellied and three garter snakes. I have never found that many.”

Lyn Des Marais sent this photo of a gravid Common Watersnake killed on Union Street in Brandon. I counted nine young. I was surprised that this snake had not yet given birth at this time of the year.

In non-snake news, UVM student Lauren Barnes and her friend Forrest Conrad documented four new species in Coventry on one trip last week and Matt Gorton found the first Four-toed Salamander ever reported from Putney or any of its adjacent towns. We know very little about the distribution of Four-toed Salamanders in the Connecticut River Valley.

Luke Groff, Kiley Briggs, Matt Gorton, Jane Kolias, and myself located 193 Eastern Red-backed Salamanders in a few hours turning cover in Putney this week. I don’t believe we have ever found this many in one outing by turning cover. I suspect that it has to do with the extremely dry conditions that were forcing salamanders out of the leaves and under larger cover objects. They were clustered together as well. One log had 27 of them under its bark. In some places groups of up to seven salamanders were huddled together in a clump.

Remember, get out and find some snakes on roads this weekend if you can. This opportunity may only last for a few more weeks.


We met our fundraising goal for 2020. Thanks!

NOTE: The image below shows dead snakes.

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