Sunday, August 3, 2008

One fierce (little) snake

Earlier this afternoon, I went outside with an oatmeal cookie and a glass of apple juice. I was about to sit on the front porch when a movement caught my eye. A little snake! It was 6 or so inches long. It hid behind the succulent. I tried to catch it, but the little guy coiled up, reared his head, and lunged at me. Hmmm, I knew he couldn't hurt me. But still, if he managed to latch onto me, he might not let go! So I went to the garage for a rag. After many attempts, I finally nabbed it. While I held him firmly in my left hand, I snapped off photos with my right.

Then I carried the snake to the back yard, where I set the rag down next to the Sanctuary (our "wild," unkept corner of the Wildscape). He didn't budget at first. Instead, he flicked his tongue at me (which I barely caught in the photo below). After a few minutes, he slithered off into the dead oak leaves. Yesterday, James said he spotted a small ribbon snake in the same area. Well, now there's two! And I'm bound and determined to figure out this species. Give me a day or two...

Monday, August 4, 2008–UPDATE–Andy Price, a natural resources scientist with Texas Parks and Wildlife, emailed back that this guy is a mountains patchnose snake (Salvadora grahamiae). I asked if it was out of its range, but he says the species does occur on the Edwards Plateau. According to A Field Guide to Texas Snakes, this species does flail and nip when threatened. Also the snake's saliva is "somewhat toxic to their small prey, though it poses no danger to humans." They primarily eat lizards (uh oh, our anoles!!!) and sometimes smaller snakes, reptile eggs and mice.

P.S. Here's a COOL website for help with identifying turtles, snakes and lizards in your yard: Austin Reptile Service.

No comments:

Post a Comment