Friday, May 04, 2012

Tuesday morning I headed out of the house smelling kind of like a pumpkin pie. I had dropped by the Grid offices Monday, where a grateful local soap maker had recently dropped off a variety box. This was a fortuitous coincidence, since I had just run out of soap and soap is the kind of thing I keep forgetting to get (I forget about it as soon as I'm out of the shower) leaving me with the mini soaps scavenged from hotels and meant for house guests. The downside was that it was oatmeal spice, particularly heavy on the nutmeg. As I walked around an enormous vacant plot after work I kept catching a whiff of nutmeg and wondering 'what the heck is...? Oh right, it's me.'

The lot had come from a tip from another herper, that a nonherper had found a baby black rat snake (Pantherophis obsoleta) there a few years ago. Now, readers of this blog know of my black rat snake infatuation (dig my profile photo), so the thought of a black rat snake within the borders of Philadelphia is enough to draw me anywhere.

This spot looked great, though with enough homeless encampments and detritus of unsavory activity to limit my explorations until I can come back with a herping buddy.

I did flip a few of the usual urban snake suspects. One chunk of concrete hit three of the garters (Thamnophis sirtalis) and at least one of the browns (Storeria dekayi). Here are a couple in hand (brown on the left, garter on the right).

Both made sure to liberally douse my hand with feces, uric acid, and musk. I no longer smell like nutmeg.

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