5.20.2010

Let's Not Overlook the Reptiles...

Last Friday wasn't just about the dragonflies, frogs, and fish. We also had a nice assortment of reptiles, mainly snakes, to keep us company. Here is a sampling of what we saw...


This is a brown water snake.  Take a close look at him.  He shouldn't be all skinny and wrinkly like that.  Browns are usually nicely rounded.  This fellow may be ill or maybe he's just a poor hunter.  We saw quite a few browns hanging out in the bushes and on stumps.
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And of course we saw our fair share of cottonmouths as well. The first photo is not so great but I included it anyway. See that pile of poo next to the snake? That's raccoon scat. Granted, it's scat from a big raccoon but you can still get an idea of how small this little cottonmouth was. It's getting ready to shed as evidenced by the cloudy eyes...
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A bit further up the swamp we encountered an old beaver lodge that was a lounging spot for four other snakes.  Three were cottonmouths and one was a brown.  The cottonmouths were quite handsome.  I didn't get a photo of the brown.
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We saw several redbelly water snakes out on the pond and up in the swamp.  This one cracked me up.  I didn't know that snakes could have expressions on their faces, but check this guy out...
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Last, but not least, we have lizard love.  A male five-lined skink (the brown one with the red head) was doing his best to sweet talk the female.  She seemed mildly interested in, or at least tolerant of, his advances ;-)

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There were some interesting turtles out on the pond as well, but turtles can be downright uncooperative. Sadly, I have no turtles pics to share with the exception of this one...
 
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It's a turtle egg. It was all by itself on a rotting stump.

7 comments:

Floridacracker said...

Great herps!

Last night I was greatly relieved to see that my porch gecko survived the frigid 09 winter.

swamp4me said...

FC,
The snakes were slow to come out this year. I'm glad to hear that your porch gecko survived -- it was a tough winter for our scaly friends.

Tom said...

Great stuff. One of the search terms that brings many to my blog is cottonmouth or water moccasin and the word "ohio". We don't have this species, but it's really great to see photos of them. That little one IS really small, great find.

Tom

swamp4me said...

Tom,
People do get their panties in a bunch over cottonmouths, don't they? I think they are quite handsome myself. I have never had one strike at me -- can't say the same for rat snakes :)

Swamp Thing said...

Very cool! Haven't seen a cottonmouth in 10+ years and not ready to re-live the experience. I just put up a post on NC/VA alligators that I'd love for you (you in particular, as denizens of coastal NC) to see & let me know what you think:

http://rivermud.blogspot.com/2010/05/no-alligators-in-virginia-zero-none.html

Swamp Thing said...

I stepped on one in VA about 12 years ago. It struck and missed and I took off through the swamp. I was working on an island by myself, no cell phone or radio, no boat pickup for 4+ hours.

Consider my panties bunched at that point.

But yes, as you mention, the only snake to successfully bite me was a 4-foot black rat snake, when I was 14 (I was harassing it and it tagged me on the ankle). Fangs or no fangs, it really hurt (lots of little teeth) and made a mangled, infected mess of my ankle.

In my opinion, in the Mid-Atlantic (very few rattlers) it's relatively difficult to actually get bitten by a snake.

swamp4me said...

Swamp Thing,
I'll read your post in the morning when my brain is functioning. We did our BBS route this morning and had to leave early enough to get to the starting point by 0517. Blasted birds ;)

I've been bitten by wild, non-venomous snakes that I provoked, but have never gotten any sort of infection from one. Our kingsnake decided to try to eat my hand one time -- he got my ring finger in his mouth and didn't stop until he got to my hand. Took over five minutes to get him off my finger and he was gnawing away the whole time! We both came away relatively unscathed.