An excellent find on last Tuesday's foray deep into Adams County (Ohio) was this fine Eastern Racer, Coluber constrictor. The animal was basking on sun-soaked leaf litter near the trail, and held tight hoping we'd pass without noticing. The last person in the party, John Howard, did, fortunately. These are exciting snakes. Racers exude a raw charisma, an incredible sense of awareness, and feral charm. They're tough, and other snakes - even venomous species - constitute part of their diet. The "racer" name is warranted. When this one had enough of our act, it shot away like a snapped bullwhip and was into a brush pile 20 feet away in seconds.
This trip was incredibly productive. We were after a true Holy Grail species, and found it. Along the way, many other interesting organisms such as this snake were found. I'll post about the prized find of our foray later.