Monday, August 29, 2011

New York Snake of Mind Aug. 19, 20, & 21st, 2011

We were visiting my family in good ol' Rome NY, a city that I worked diligently to escape many years ago. Dead smack in the center of the state, it's very beautiful and was very snakeriffic in my youth. Turns out, it still is!

Now, my father is a huge ophidiophobe. That said, it was downright heroic of him to point me to some places where he'd seen (and run screaming from) snakes! Very brave was he!

Well, the stone wall in front of his house seemed like a good place to start. Under a rock was this gorgeous Garter Snake with reddish highlights!
The red didn't translate on camera very well, but you can see it a bit. I used to catch reddish Garters all of the time when I was a kid. This guy reminded me that I haven't ever seen one in Massachusetts. Interesting...

Near a neighbor's pond (still very close to my Dad's house) was this behemoth!!!
Man... we're lucky to have survived this beast!

This Millipede was almost bigger!

Also near (and in) that pond were...
A 2-Lined Salamander!

A Bull Frog

And loads of Pickerel Frogs that escaped our camera...

On Day 2 (Saturday, the 20th) we went to Boukville, a gigantic Antique show. Upon returning, we still had a little steam. We stopped at my sister's house to drop her and her husband off and behind her garage, in the garden, was this FATTY FAT FAT gravid Garter Snake!!
She took exception to the name-calling...

Back at my father's place, we sprayed down and looked around some more. The red guy from the day before was nestled up under a rock where we'd released him...

One of his neighbor's pond's resident Bullfrogs was poking its head up...

Andrea found herself with a post-Howlett-family car ride headache and excused herself to rest for a bit. Normally, I couldn't herp without her, but I was sprayed down and it was just too exciting to herp in a new spot that has so much potential! So shoot me!

I checked out a stone wall that ran along the edge of another neighbor's yard and found this Ready-To-Shed Garter! I only had my crappy little pocket camera, so these are as good as I got...
This guy will be a stunner when the shed is done!

There is a small brook that runs next to the property. I lifted a flat rock that was about 6 feet from the brook and... a Water Snake!! Under a rock!! In my excitement, I dropped my crappy camera as I grabbed for the snake. I couldn't get it to work as he, like Water Snakes do, bit the hell out of me. So, I walked back to the house, put my snake-hand under my shirt (thankfully, he'd stopped biting by now) and went in to get Andrea's camera. Here's what he looked like!
Check out my ring finger on the last shot... that's where he was nibblin'.

OK, after that, I was tired and retired for a quick nap myself!

We left for home that Sunday morning at about 10AM. We'd hoped to stop and check out my sister's house on the way out, as she'd said she'd seen many Green Snakes as well as Garters. It was raining, though. But then, it's only water so we stopped and checked out her koi pond, land of many serpents. I mean, just look at it!

So nuff, rain didn't matter... first up was another reddish Garter!

Andrea was happily photographing this one while I found 2 other Garters... one was definitely more of an asshole than the other. Keep you eye on the more yellowey one...

We added the first guy to the mix for the famous "fistfull of snake" photo...
But that didn't stop Chompey. (I love how the other snake looks embarrassed here...)

OK... I put them back. You win, Chompy.

Next up? A Dekay's Snake!
Andrea was in a groove, getting some awesome shots!

A Green Frog made himself known in the pond...

Then, a newborn Dekay's!

Then I lifted some sod and a belly was hanging down! Another Dekay's!

It was very tough to get a fistfull of snake shot with these two, so we opted for a fingers-full-of-snake shot instead...

The little guy crawled back into his home...

That's all we got, though we were rooting around in my sister's garage where handfulls of Garters have been known to hang out. I rustled one up and he crawled towards Andrea who got him, but just by the tip of the tail and he swung away. If only I could show the vision that I saw... Andrea in the dark, silhouetted against the light outside with a nice Garter in her hand. Oh well.

Needless to say, it was a fun weekend!


  1. Good stuff! Glad that garter snake bites don't transmit anything.

  2. True that!! They were some nippy squamates!