10.29.2008

More Snakes From Saturday

Enough cat antics...I sort of fixed my k key, at least temporarily. Now it's time to get back to our adventure of Saturday past. If you will recall, we were in a nearby swamp that has a different character from both the home swamp and the work swamp.

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Early fall is a great time to find juvenile snakes. This is a little (about 7 inches long) juvie red-belly water snake. He was pretty calm - sometimes they can have a little attitude :)

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This is an adult red-belly water snake. You can see that it has lost all of its juvenile markings. Sorry about the odd perspective. I took this picture out of the back seat window of my car. Red-bellies have a tendency to bolt when you get close to them. And if you have ever heard them called "red-belly moccasins" and been told that they are "deadly poisonous," that is absolutely not true. Non-venomous!! Let me repeat -- NON-VENOMOUS.

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Now for our extra special treat -- an eastern mud snake (Farancia abacura abacura)! You hardly ever see these snakes out during the day. We stopped and picked him up for a closer look. He was a fair-sized fellow, about four feet long. Adults range from about 40 inches to 73 inches long.

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You can tell he was not amused ;) But other than putting on a show by thrashing about a bit and spewing an unreasonable amount of musk toward my shoe, he was, like most of his kind, totally none threatening.

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Here you see part of his fake-out equipment -- what some folks call his "stinger."

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A mud snake will press the pointy tip of its tail against you, but it is perfectly harmless.
So, if you are Southern (or even one of them there Yankees) and have heard tales of stinging snakes, that's all they are, tales.

12 comments:

Jane said...

I'm coming over to the Keys on Sunday so I will be looking out for snakes... can't wait to see any! (have never seen one on all our visits!) Brilliant post, really informative and great pictures. Thanks. Jane

swamp4me said...

jane,
Hope you have a great trip to the Keys - I haven't been down there in years. Perhaps you will be lucky and see a snake or two this trip!

Anonymous said...

Swampy- Love the pictures of the mud snake. We have one at the Refuge that we use for EE. It's really docile and ties itself up in knots when I handle it. It's great with the kids and so far we haven't had any musk incidents. I'm impressed with the size of the one you found. Ours is only about 20 inches. I always love the kids reaction when I have it curled up in my hand as a dull brown snake and then we turn it over. The little eyes get big a saucers when they see the red and black pattern.

Maineiac

swamp4me said...

Maineiac,
Heh, and I thought everything was bigger in Texas...
Must say that Treebeard and I are very proud of you. Gone is that negative attitude toward our slithery friends! It has been replaced by an appreciation and a willingness to educate others.

Floridacracker said...

What's the disposition on a mud snake? Docile,bitey, or just moody?

swamp4me said...

FC,
Some initial bluster and fuss but definitely not bitey. They become pretty docile after a few minutes of handling. Kind of hard to hold on to, though -- extremely smooth scales make 'em slick!

Marvin said...

Very informative post. I've never seen either of the snakes -- at least, not in a situation where I was able to ID them. Great work!

pablo said...

What are Yankees?

swamp4me said...

Marvin,
Thanks. I don't know if either of these snakes range out your way.

pablo,
If you have to ask, then you just wouldn't understand ;)

Jenn said...

That mud snake is GORGEOUS!
All that bright color, and judging by that eye scale, he's getting ready to shed. WOW.

Bird said...

Just stumbled over here for the first time...those are impressive snake photos! The mud snake is spectacular, we don't get anything quite so colourful or *ahem* meaty in the UK. So interesting that it will pretend to sting you.

swamp4me said...

jenn,
They really are pretty snakes. Hopefully I'll find a rainbow snake out and about one of these days and can get a picture -- yet another beautiful and colorful snake!

bird,
Welcome! Stumble by anytime.