Monday, September 13, 2010

A Tale of Two Snakes

I find more reptiles and amphibians within a few yards of our front door than anywhere else.  Sometimes I suspect that someone is leaving them there.  It was like that on Friday, when I came home to discover not one but TWO snakes on our front porch.  As I approached the house I saw this big gray serpent, at least three feet in length, dash into the shrubbery.  It was an adult Yellow-bellied Water Snake that had wandered away from its usual aquatic habitat.  I took this photo of it coiled beneath a cast iron plant:
While I was looking at the water snake I noticed this little Brown Snake at my feet:
I often encounter Brown Snakes around our yard, but it's unusual that I find a snake on our porch, let alone two snakes of different species.  I'm thinking this might not be purely coincidental.  The Brown Snake could have been the intended prey of the water snake.  In this scenario, the water snake came up onto our porch in pursuit of the smaller snake, and my arrival may have interrupted an impending act of predation  (snakes do prey upon other snakes; back in California I once came across a California Kingsnake in the process of devouring a Western Rattlesnake).  A Brown Snake would be a tempting morsel for a big water snake.  Then again, maybe the snake delivery man had just been by.

As usual, no snakes were harmed, which is as it should be.  These are harmless creatures, and they were allowed to slither away peacefully.  Unfortunately the attitude that "the only good snake is a dead snake" is far too common around here.

Michelle and I recently took the kids on a wagon ride down to Pine Island Bayou, which is just down the road from our home.  This Southern Leopard Frog was photographed on that trip:


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