Friday, August 30, 2013

Hoop-De-Do Over Mud Snakes

As I have written, we have had a LOT of rain this summer. One result is that low-lying areas are remaining wet and many roadsides have water approaching the pavement. This spectacular snake got hit on the road. It is a mud snake that lives in standing water. It is reported to be a rather docile snake and does not bite when  handled, though it has teeth. As an adult snake it becomes a very picky eater: it eats almost exclusively Amphiumas, our largest salamanders. Amphiumas are known to deliver powerful bites. (We once came across three big ones on a dirt road and those were some really interesting "lizards.")

This was a relatively small snake of about two and half feet. They are known to grown to seven feet long! They also have their young in a big way: they may lay eggs in clutches that number over 100. (Talk about Labor Day!)

The belly scales are long, but the side scales are diamond-shaped. And, by the way, this snake is belly up; the back is shiny black. 

Mud snakes are known to poke their pointy tail at you, if they become agitated.

It may be this behavior that helped contribute to its claim to fame as the "Hoop Snake." Legend says that this snake can take its tail into its mouth, creating a hoop. It rolls toward  a person at a great speed and then straightens itself and spears the victim. The only means of escape is to jump behind a tree. The snake will be unable to stop and will be stuck into the tree. The tree will immediately die.

That is some claim to fame!

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