Way back in May of 1978 I made my first ever trip to the millpond. I didn't know then that it was going to become my home, I was just coming to see that cute guy I had met at the beach that March. You know that cute guy as Treebeard. But I digress...this is not a post about love at first sight :)
This is a post about snakes. Back in May of 1978 there seemed to be a snake in every tree and bush out in pond. I should know, Treebeard canoed me under or by just about every single one of them -- and was greatly pleased when I didn't scream or squeal. He was even more pleased when I wanted to see them up-close (hehe, little did he know his bachelor days were numbered. Whoops, there I go again...)
Anyway, sometime in the 80s we began to notice that the number of snakes we saw on the pond had decreased by quite a bit. To some people this may not seem like anything to worry about, but to us it was cause for concern. It got to the point that it was remarkable if we even saw a snake while we were out on the water. We never were able to determine why our snake populations decreased. No study was ever done.
Over the past three years, however, we have noticed something of a comeback. It is not unusual to see twenty or thirty snakes during a day on the water. Sometimes we see significantly higher numbers. It is very reassuring.
I can offer no valid explanation for the decline and seeming recovery, I'm just glad to see it.
Below are pictures of eight of the 30+ snakes we saw last weekend. The majority of the snakes were brown water snakes, Nerodia taxispilota. You might notice that most of the browns are quite fat. Could be that the majority of snakes we saw were carrying young. Brown water snakes give live birth and can produce from 15 to 60 neonates.
black rat snake
brown water snake
brown water snake 2
brown water snake 3
brown snake 4
brown water snake 5
brown water snake 6
brown water snake 7