Saturday, 9 May 2015

Snake Day !! ssssssss !!

So today myself, Gina and Tom met up with our friend Chuck and set off on a day of looking for some of Connecticut's snakes! Not everyone's cup of tea. The day started off foggy and slightly chilly but by the time we got to our first site it had started to warm up. Thankfully not too hot which meant our chances of finding basking snakes before it got too hot were good. By about 4pm we were done having seen about 14 individual snakes of 6 species.
Our real target species and a difficult one to find was the Eastern Hog-nosed Snake and indeed we found one basking on a wooded slope. This fearsome looking snake although venomous is a real softy and once you got over its act of inflating its neck like a cobra, hissing and fake strikes it soon got used to us and was easily handled. It was also amazing to see it pretend to be dead rolling over onto its back, opening its mouth and hanging its tongue out. Quite an act.
The videos are fabulous - click on the U-Tube links to watch this snake in action.
A Northern Black Racer lived up to its name and swiftly moved through a tangle and in no time at all climbed to about 20ft in a tree.
This was taken when he was high in the tree. Watch the video below to see how quick he moves.
A little further on a couple of Eastern Ratsnakes were found under a rock.
We kept searching and a very fast Ribbon Snake never hung around long enough for us to catch or get a photo, although it did try and go up Gina's jeans!
So we moved on to a Timber Rattlesnake spot but being midday we could not find any.
So we checked an area for Northern Water Snakes and soon found a rusty brown individual. The unusual colouration was actually caused by the snake hibernation in a metal pipe where it obtained the rusty colour. We proved this by seeing that when handled the rust colour came off onto our skin.
Our final stop of the day had us hike into a forest where we eventually came to an area of rocky cliffs where a Copperhead den would hopefully give us our last species for the day.
A quick look around and Chuck spotted one of the beautiful yet very poisonous snakes watching us from a ledge. We then spotted another two on the same ledge. A fabulous end to a great day of SNAKING!

Below is an American Toad which is food to many of the snake species

Below is a rarer Fowler's Toad. These are a good indicators for Hog-nosed Snake as this snake prefers to eat Fowler's Toads. Similar in looks to the American Toad if you turn the Fowler's over it has a clean white belly whereas the American has blotches and dark marks

Lastly a nicely patterned Pickerel Frog

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