Tuesday, September 20, 2016

The Snake

Once upon a time I was the president of the Burlington County Natural Sciences Club. While I no longer hold that august office I still regularly attend meetings. Our September 2016 program was on the reptiles and amphibians of the NJ Pine Barrens, delivered by Robert Zappalorti of Herpetological Associates.

In the question and answer period I asked how to make our yard more snake friendly. Snakes are in decline due to habitat loss, the increase in roads and traffic (they like to warm up on the black top) and because too many people fear and kill snakes. But we have plenty of mice living in our garage and our out buildings. I even found one living in our grill when I opened it this spring. And while I don't begrudge mice a living, they, like deer, can be a problem if left unchecked.

And snakes find mice rather yummy.

So this past Sunday morning I spent some time doing what I could to make the yard snake friendly. Basically it was to provide hiding places about the yard.

It seems to have worked.

I spotted this Black Rat Snake as I was rolling the wheel barrow back to the quonset hut.

It was sunning on a mound in a copse of trees behind our back garden. I called to Patty and she brought out the camera. By then it had made its way to the back of the mound.

It was Patty who re-spotted it, slithering through the vegetation.

I was able to position the camera and capture these shots as it emerged into the open.

It was a big snake, perhaps four or even five feet long.

My lens was not wide enough to fit it all in one shot.

And I would not get the chance to move back. As it found this hole, perhaps a chipmunk burrow, and headed on in.


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