When I'm out walking in the late summer and early fall I try to pay particular attention to where I step. Baby snakes, baby turtles, and baby lizards seem to be just about everywhere. I would be heartbroken if my big ole workboot caused the untimely demise of any one of them. Baby reptiles have a hard enough time making it to adulthood -- they are tasty little morsels for a variety of other animals.
A worm snake hatchling, Carphophis amoenus. Apparently he hasn't learned yet that he is supposed to be "highly secretive." He was wiggling his way across the trail yesterday afternoon. I scooped him up to get a closer look and then put him back down so he could go about the business of life - which for a worm snake happens to be eating earthworms and other creepy crawlies.
This baby was about 4 inches long. Adult worm snakes range in size from about 7.5 to a whopping 12.5 inches. Most of the ones I have seen have been about 8 to 9 inches.
A baby eastern fence lizard, Sceloporus undulatus. Despite being less than 1.75 inches long, this lizard was king of his cement bumper.
We've been seeing an increase in fence lizard populations this past year. When Hurricane Isabel blew through in 2003 she knocked down thousands of trees, creating the open areas with plenty of sunlight that fence lizards find so appealing. It has been interesting to observe the shift in plant and animal species following such a major weather event -- but I do miss the mature beech forest that Isabel flattened, exactly two years ago today.