International Rock Flipping Day

Ozark copperhead.JPG

International Rock Flipping Day was yesterday, and since I knew I wouldn’t get back from the woods until late in the day, I saved my post for today.

You can see above what I found when I flipped the first rock of the day at Roundrock. Quite a juicy surprise! Actually, this copperhead (it is a copperhead, isn’t it?) looks more fearsome than he did in actual life. Its body wasn’t much thicker than a pencil, and the snake didn’t move at all while I photographed it several times. (I did hold the camera within striking distance, but the morning was still cool and I think the snake was sluggish. I was not wearing gloves, and in retrospect, I was taking some risks.) I then carefully replaced the rock over it and continued on my way.

If my rock flipping adventures started out with a bang, they proceeded to a whimper and continued to whimper throughout the day. I flipped a dozen rocks in all sorts of environments in my forest. I tried the wetter, north-facing slope in the trees. I tried various rocks in the currently dry areas of the lakebed. I tried the more xeric south-facing slope in the trees. And I tried a bit of broken ledge near the lake. I even tried flipping some rocks that turned out to be too heavy for me to lift. Not a single rock I flipped after the first one yielded anything but dry dirt.

There is a Flickr photo pool that is accumulating pix people have taken of their flipping adventures, so you might want to surf over there and have a look as well.

This is only the second copperhead I’ve ever encountered at Roundrock. In both cases, I went into their territory; they didn’t come after me. The first time was when I was taking apart a pile of stacked firewood. The snake was at the bottom of it. Fortunately, it was a winter day, so it was sluggish. When I came by later, the snake had moved on. The one above has been only the second time I’ve come across a copperhead.

So what did you find when you looked under a rock?

Missouri calendar:

  • Labor Day
  • Peak of fall shorebird migration continues through mid-month.

13 Responses to “International Rock Flipping Day”

  1. Ontario Wanderer Says:

    Like you, I found mostly undersides of rocks and dry dirt. It’s been a dry summer here. (Nice to find you on Flickr!)

  2. Sherry Chandler » Rock Flipping Day Says:

    […] sbpoet supplies the poem, and in the Missouri Ozarks, Roundrock Journal did flip up a small copperhead. […]

  3. FC Says:

    Beautiful copperhead.
    Rocks and copperheads … you got it made.

  4. robin andrea Says:

    Now that’s a find! Very nice. We got sidetracked by yard work and didn’t flip a rock.

  5. Dave Says:

    Man, this is great that you were able to document the presence of a rare (or at least extremely retiring) species! Makes the whole event worthwhile.

  6. Walter Jeffries Says:

    Cool! I’ve never seen a copperhead although I have read they exist here. I’ve only seen two rattlers, again rare around here, and both were dead on the road. 🙁 Thanks for taking the risk and sharing the photo!

  7. Pamela Says:

    That’s a beautiful snake, Pablo! Me, I found some ants, a cricket and bare, dry dirt.

  8. Cathy Says:

    No way! Wow.

    No gloves, huh?

    You got the shot – that’s all that matters :0)

  9. Carolyn Hoffman Says:


    Great snake, but if it’s a copperhead, it doesn’t look exactly like the copperheads I have here in PA. The skin pattern is different and the color variation on your snake is more pronounced. Now I’ll have to go look at other copperhead photos to if there are different sub-species.

    Carolyn H.

  10. Carolyn Hoffman Says:

    Pablo, here’s a link to a photo of the copperheads I have in my neck of the woods. It’s a northern copperhead. Do you have a different one? maybe a southern copperhead?? Check it out

    Carolyn H.

  11. Riverside Rambles — by Larry Ayers » More Rock-Flippers Says:

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  12. Roundrock Journal » Blog Archive » 3rd International Rock Flipping Day Says:

    […] flipped, but I did not find. I was fairly successful last year and the year before with International Rock Flipping Day, actually finding something under the rocks I flipped, but not […]

  13. IRFD 2: Halls of the mountain millipede | Via Negativa Says:

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