BERLIN — The 13th Annual Great Worcester Herp Search will take place Saturday, May 11 when volunteers scour county lands for reptiles and amphibians.
Sponsored by the Coastal Bays Program, Salisbury Zoo, Maryland Department of Natural Resources, and Salisbury University, the search kicks off at 9 a.m. at Furnacetown on Old Furnace Road off Route 12 near Snow Hill. A brief pre-hunt training session will feature live turtles, snakes, frogs, and salamanders and explain ways to identify them in the wild. It is free to the public and will be held to prep volunteers for searching four Worcester County sites in the morning and afternoon.
Last year 96 reptiles and amphibians representing 17 species were the result of the search held in Worcester County. Finds included coastal plain milksnakes, ringneck snakes, and wormsnakes. Box and spotted turtles were found along with fence lizards and four species of frogs and toads.
In Worcester, there are approximately 19 species of snakes, 15 species of frogs and toads, six species of salamanders, 13 species of turtles, and four species of lizards. The search will provide data to help DNR scientists better understand population trends in this declining group of vertebrates as they continue the first ever Maryland Herp Atlas.
This year’s sites include public and private parcels in the heavily forested southern part of the county. No animals are harmed or removed from the wild during the search.
Participants should bring a sack lunch and drinks. Groups will return from the field around 12:30 p.m. for lunch then hunt again until approximately 5 p.m. All children under 14 must be accompanied by an adult. Sunscreen, mosquito and tick repellant, greenbriar proof-pants, bright clothing, and boots are recommended.
For more information call the Coastal Bays Program office at 410-213-2297.