Friday, July 13, 2012

The Year of Nerodia Continues! 7-8-2012

Has this year been kinda water-snakey or what?! I'm not complaining as the ever-feisty Northern Water Snake is very close to my heart! My brother's too; I recall a day when we were kids herping by an old water wheel when my he picked up a handful of water snakes and held them up, only to have his hands devoured by the assertive little guys! Yep- Water Snakitude. I love it.

So anyway, I let Andrea sleep in, thinking that since it was the last day of vacation,we might be more inclined to hang around the house and watch movies. When she got up, however, she said she wanted to herp! Well of course- she's been on a roll! So we headed out to Borderland, a Northern Water Snake haven, and got there at about 10:30... very late for us!

Sure enough, the first thing we saw (Andrea almost stepped on him and missed a grab as he slid into the water) was a Water Snake!
I followed him, snapping pictures (but getting nothing very good) and he finally settled under a rock. I was able to reach him.
He was pretty large... he'd have fit right in at Bike Path earlier in the week! No biting here, though! He was good natured, though he was stretching to get back into the water. I let him slip back...

The new crappy camera wasn't going to make turtle shots very easy. This Painted Turtle posed as best he could and was very patient while we struggled to get the picture...

This Green Frog was also very understanding...

Know how I've been setting up my faux nature shots? This one actually came out pretty good! An American Toad!

We saw this young Water Snake poking around some rocks.

We tried a new section (to us) and found a place with some rocks to flip. At one rock-on-rock situation, this wee Ringneck slid (literally) away.
We found him again and enjoyed his shoestring beauty!

This wee toad enjoyed sitting on Abe Lincoln's face!

Despite the heat of the day, this large Redback was hanging out under a moist log!

Dear new camera... you suck! Thanks for a shitty shot of three basking Painted Turtles...
They all plopped into the water before I could get anything close to a focused shot...

This Garter was sleeping under a tree along the path. We think it might be Nemesis III as he streaked off when we tried to step closer for a better shot...

We saw some DCR guys with kids and nets... they were ponding! Scooping the pond and seeing what life was in there. Very cool! They had some larvae, a fish, some small crayfish... very cool! I poked around and found a Garter, who I think was the tree climber from last trip (here:")

Don't let that innocent face fool you... one of her teeth is stuck in my hand. She let go and went in for a serious bite!
Bring on the snake blossoms! Five days later, I still have them and, incredibly enough, a large bruise there! She got me good!

We got back to our starting point and there was a large Water Snake... I think it was the one from earlier. I followed him, just trying to photograph... I wasn't going to bother him again.

I looked up at that spillway he had slithered over and saw a massive red and black coil stuck in next to a log! I lifted it and it turned into the largest Northern Water Snake I have ever seen! He was slippery and I was unable to secure him, so I followed him and he went on shore under a tree, into some bushes. I got my stick (hey- it's a huge water snake. Bites are funny but I'm not stupid!) and went in. He was there, and easy to pick up. I didn't need the stick, as he came up and nestled on my arm. I fought my way out of the bushes, which knocked off my hat and glasses.

OK, this guy is immense! Also, a total sweetheart who never attempted to bite or even get away. A real gentle giant! (Unlike that last Garter!)

We released him and he went over to the spot where the other large water snake had gone...

I took the path over to the other side to see where they were hanging out, and hopefully get a pic of two big guys relaxing. Instead, I saw another Garter laying on a rock that was knee-high to me. I picked him up to surprise Andrea. The surprise was on me!
This guy latched onto my middle finger and wouldn't budge!! I had to have Andrea hold his body while I worked at his mouth! Of course this made him bite harder!! Oddly enough, while he was latched on biting, I caught a Fowler's Toad and handed him to Andrea. We finally got him loose.
Man, he really got me!

This is the toad...

So, not bad for a late start! Lotsa snakes and even a new species for this place (for us)... a Ringneck! Can't wait to go back and handle placid, humongous Water Snakes and violent, small Garters!

I heard that Listerine is supposed to make snakes release their bites. Might need to get some for the back-pack...


  1. ¡Las fotos son maravillosas, muy bien elegidos paisajes y animales!¡Los felicito!!!!!!

    1. Gracias de nuevo! Nuestra buena cámara está fija ... estas fotos son de nuestra cámara reemplazo barato. Se tarda unas buenas fotos, también!


  2. that ring neck looks almost like a juvenile red belly..
    i wouldn't trust Listerine to make a snake let go. it's what we use for mouth infections on snakes. i have a "project" milk snake right now that seems to like the Listerine. it was nearly dead from dehydration & had several layers of unshed sheds. looked burned. got it hydrated, kept it moist (but not too moist. fungus is not what it needs) to get the shed off & it's almost completely normal looking now, except for a guck mouth & still needs to shed on the tail. nice snake. now i need to get it to eat... once i know it's eating ok, i can release it.

    1. Good to know about the Listerine! Can't remember where I heard that! At any rate, the real key is to not let them grind in, but my wife finds it so amusing!! ;)

      I wish Redbellies were easier to find! None yet this year and only a handful in Myles Standish last year!

      Thanks for the comment, Lee! Good luck with the Milk!!