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Field Collecting/Observing Sightings of herps in the wild, where-tos and how-tos, as well as photos of herps in their native environment.

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Old 03-01-2003, 02:37 PM   #1
Glenn Bartley
Basement Collecting - Is it the same as Field Collecting???

It has been cold out this winter, and I have been using lots of home heating oil. Every year the oil company guys come over to my house to check the furnace, the filters, the tank and does the required maintenance. They are from a small mom and pop business (literally). It was run by mom and pop and now by the sons. This year was no exception and late fall brought the oil guy for one of the regularly scheduled maintenance stops. Whichever of the brothers come by, he always chats with me or my wife a while, and almost always comments on the animals I have in the basement - my herps - snakes, turtle, lizards and so on. I had two snakes missing when he came by, that I did not tell him about, and was hopeful that the six foot Gopher Snake which is on the loose would not hiss him into a heart attack - he like lizards but does not like snakes. Luckily there were no encounters of the scaly kind.

This year the same brother came by twice. This was because after the first visit a filter started to leak. In fact he came by today to fix the leak. While he was there he told me about the Bearded Dragon his son bought at a pet shop that died about a week later die to some problem with its legs and spasms. He was admiring by three Bearded Dragons while I was telling him about the horrors of buying pet shop herps, which is where his son got his Beardy. The conversation moved on to other things, and he was completely tuned into a story I was telling, when my eye caught a movement in the beams overhead, behind the oil guy. It was the tail of a Sonoran Gopher Snake. The oil guys face twisted into a sought of grimace that reflected his thoughts must have been along the lines of 'Oh-Oh Mr. B has gone bonkers on me' when I started to excitedly say "oooh, ooooh, oooooh" right in the middle of a sentence and, as I frantically danced a jig looking around for something to climb upon to reach the snake. After a couple of seconds, when I looked back his way, I saw he had stepped back a bit and was looking at me with a truly concerned look so I explained: "there is a snake up there, must be one of them that escaped a while back". Well with that statement, I almost lost my oil guy. I grabbed a stool, climbed up on it in a flash, and grabbed the rear portion of the smaller of my two missing Gopher Snakes that escaped from their enclosure a few months ago.

I happily showed of my prize catch, and the oil guy asked: "Is there another one loose?" When I explained that I had hoped this one would be the 6 footer, he got that concerned look in his eyes again. I assured him if he ever came across it he should not worry as it is basically harmless, but can hiss pretty loud. We talked some more while I held the little one, maybe a 2 1/2 to 3 footer. He admired the snake and asked some questions and really did not seem all that scared. Since the snake got a bit antsy, I put it away. We continued our talk. A few minutes later a steam valve on a heating pipe opened up with a pretty loud hiss, the oil guy snapped his head around toward the sound and looked as if he was about to jump a mile. I told him it was the steam valve, but I kind of hoped he had brought me luck enough to make a double catch. Maybe next time!

Well that’s about the only Field Collecting story I will be coming up with for the rest of the winter unless I get the other one. Happy herping.

Best regards,
Glenn B

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