Looking for Snakes around the Triple K - Chicago Illinois Fishing Forum, Information & Reports
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Old 01-20-2014, 12:05 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Default Looking for Snakes around the Triple K

Hey guys in addition to being a fishermen and hunter I'm also a reptile keeper and own a nice little collection. During the spring time when my buddies and I aren't out looking for morels or fishing on the lakefront we're usually looking for reptiles. We've documented a lot of reptiles and amphibians in our area including water snakes, garters, fox snakes, brown snakes, snappers, painted turtles...you get the idea. Well two species we haven't documented around here are milk snakes and bull snakes. I've heard from many people that bull snakes are more common in Kankakee county and was hoping someone knew of a good place to start looking for them.

I'm looking for abandoned farmland, areas with a lot of garbage buildup (roofing, siding etc.) and areas that might harbor large rodent populations. I hunt the State Park for pheasant in the fall so I am somewhat familiar with the area, but not as much as I'd like to be. I know it's still cold out but spring will be here in no time and I'd like to get a game plan together before warm weather gets here. I'm not out to collect snakes for commercial purposes either. I'd just like to see a six foot bull snake in the wild.
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Old 01-20-2014, 09:54 PM   #2 (permalink)
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You obviously know what to look for. I can't really point you in the right direction, but a good place to look might be Google earth. Try and find some old structures then go exploring. Just curious what kind of herps do you have? Also have you ever seen any box turtles? Mops
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Old 01-21-2014, 12:08 PM   #3 (permalink)
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some old bunkers out at midewin out past Wilmington on rte 53
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Old 01-21-2014, 12:35 PM   #4 (permalink)
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I've been around a lot of snakes mops so I have a decent idea of where they are hiding, but with Kankakee an hour and a half away (and gas getting high in price again) I figured maybe someone would have a friend who had a lot of snakes on their property or at least a specific area they knew of. And I might be doing some turkey hunting out at Midewin this spring! If you are collecting snakes though (if anyone is) you can't collect at National Parks unless you have a permit. Like I said before we're not collecting but I'm going to check out that area regardless because of turkey season.

As for my collection I have quite a few small constrictors including sand boas, rosy boas (which are one of only two boas native to the U.S.) and children's python. I also have a painted turtle and a bamboo rat snake. Most of my snakes don't get over 2-3 feet long and are great for educational programs because of their good temperament and small sizes.

Children's


Sand boa (a.k.a. Snyder's pretzel)


Bamboo Ratsnake
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Old 01-22-2014, 08:35 PM   #5 (permalink)
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Check out the trail along the I & M Canal just south of Joliet, where I-55 crosses over, It's been a few years but I've seen a couple of big Bull Snakes along that stretch, lots of other critters as well.
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Old 01-23-2014, 04:49 AM   #6 (permalink)
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Seen a few rattlers up in Lake County near Wadsworth.
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Old 01-23-2014, 06:26 AM   #7 (permalink)
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The overall population of reptiles and amphibians has been in sharp decline over the past 15 20 years or so. I have some property in limestone that used to harbor numerous snakes. Bull or gopher snakes,eastern hognose, garter, fox, and even legless lizards. However im afraid ha itat loss has severely hurt these cogs of the k3 river valley ecosystem. A 6 foot bull snake will be tough to find. Most that I've seen are 3 or 4. There are too many ignorant people that will kill a big snake if they can. Id be happy to show you some spots that may still have them when the weather warms up a bit.(maybe july brrrrr.) I haven't seen a box turtle since i was very young.I did however see an extremely rare blandings turtle a few years back. Also i remember when virtually every rock and log had a tiger salamander under it.And even though i dont look as hard as when i was younger i haven't seen one in a decade.
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Old 01-23-2014, 05:26 PM   #8 (permalink)
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Thanks for all the info so far guys. Glad to see there's people out that understand reptiles and their positive roles in the ecosystem. Cheap, if you saw Masssasaugas I'm sure Lake County and the zoos would like to know as they do a rattlesnake roundup every spring to collect animals for captive propagation. There's so few Massasaugas left in Illinois that the FPDs and the zoos are having a hard time finding any. I know when I was at Lincoln Park we had 12 in our collection and were in the process of breeding them. They're endangered in most states they're found in and are a rare sight nowadays.

And Joe I might have to take you up on that. I can tell you that the garters and water snakes in Cook County are doing well. Last year I saw at least a dozen water snakes and when we went to flip some debris along the railroad tracks we found one piece of cardboard that had 10 garters under it! It was fun until we picked a big one up and got musked. Nasty stuff right there. There is still plenty of persecution all over when it comes to snakes though. We were by the sanitary and shipping canal years ago and there was an old man with a gun shooting every snake he saw. I wanted to educate him on the benefits of snakes, but a drunk man brandishing a shotgun is not someone I care to reason with. I've heard there's legless lizards in Kankakee but have never seen one myself. Another snake I'd like to see in the wild is a big black rat snake. Those boys and bull snakes sure love their mice.

If anyone's interested here's a list and descriptions of all reptiles and amphibians in Illinois (courtesy of the Chicago Herpetological Society and INHS).
http://www.chicagoherp.org/index.php?link=herpsofil
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Old 04-11-2014, 10:13 PM   #9 (permalink)
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You may want to check out Lemont Quarries. The I & M runs right down the middle of it and there are multiple quarries and trails throughout. I used to catch snakes as a kid and that seems like a prime place from them to hide out. Plus it would save you and hour's drive.
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Old 04-12-2014, 10:05 AM   #10 (permalink)
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Are you looking to bring the snakes home? Catch / photo / release? Or what?
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