Monday, December 29, 2008

One Last Snake For '08

Sunday was beautiful and we headed out for a quick walk around the block before lunch. Before we could get out of the driveway, I spotted what I expect will be the last snake of the year.

Can you find it?


How about here?


Is this better?


The camou is pretty amazing, isn't it? That and the fact that it is tiny! Here is its head peeking out from a magnolia leaf.


So here it is on the concrete --which is actually where I first found it. And you were marveling at my discriminating eyesight!

100_5794 It obliged us by crawling across the very page of the snake book that had one of its relatives shown. It is a Florida red-bellied snake, Storeria occipitomaculata obscura. It's name no doubt refers to its secretive life in leaf litter.


It crawled over B's hand.


Here is the head that helps to identify it.


The white spot under the round eye is a clue. If you look really carefully, you can see the large plate-like scales on the top of the head. There is also a lighter band around the neck. There are linear stripes down the body and the scales are keeled. This little guy was about 10 really skinny inches long and that is about average, with one record-breaker measuring in at 16 inches. They are burrowers and eat snails, slugs and earthworms. While we value the latter, we are glad to share all the snails and slugs it can find.

So considering all the different snakes I have encountered this year, I think this was a good one to go out with. Out of 2008, that is---not out on a date. Though I have been out with a snake or two when I was very young, but that is another story.


Dani said...

Oh, he's a cutie!!

Floridacracker said...

Ditto Dani!

Kimberlee said...

I love that last paragraph! Great play on words...and SO TRUE! :)

Snakes are among my favorite animals. I used to keep garter snakes as pets when I was young, but I haven't tried to have any up here. It would be good for the kids to see them, though. They have NO experience with reptiles of any kind and that's a shame.

Thanks for sharing your photos and your experience!