Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Sly and the Family Snake: Everyday Squamates.

Easter is a day to be with the family. We had plans to go to Andrea's parent's house for Easter dinner, and we would be seeing my daughter, son in law and granddaughter as well! But surely we could be a part of another festive family gathering first! This Easter (March, 31st), with weather in the mid-high 50s, we went back to "that farm in Suffolk County" (Brook Farm) to see if the snakes were up.

Now, remember when we went last time... in 32° temps? We talked about it right here!

So, we went down to where we'd photographed the frozen Garter Snake (Sly). I poked around, while Andrea nonchalantly reached down and picked up a Garter of decent girth!
Always the lady, Andrea removed her cashmere mitts before getting musked by this fine snake.

Then Sly emerged from his hiding place...

and got a good look at the curvy gal awaiting him a few feet away...

"Baby, I'm home!"

"I love you, Sly!" "I love you too, Debbie!"

With a tear in our eyes, we moved on.

Actually, we only moved a few feet away and Andrea found another Garter.

While I was photographing this, she said that right over my shoulder were two more Garters sunning themselves... NOT Sly and Debbie!

So, we had a plethora of Thamnophis to photograph! I tried for a three-snake shot, like we got for Andrea the day before, but Andrea's guy slithered off and these two:
crawled into my sleeve!
The smaller of the two sleeve snakes had some blood on his cloaca. I don't know why. Hopefully, I hadn't stepped on him before I saw him or anything...

So, we pretty much knew where the den was! Further proof was provided by this little fella basking atop a mound in the sun, almost at eye level!

Just a short walk away, I saw some rocks on the other side of a hill. I flipped them and found this Redback.
Clearly a Redback from the top, though when I got home and saw this shot, the squared off chin made me wonder! I ran it by some herp friends who assured me that Redbacks too can have the jowly look! This is the first Redback I've seen like this in decades of herping, proving that there's always new stuff to learn!

While I was photographing the Redback, Andrea had called "Garter"! She'd found another one enjoying a warm patch of sun.

A little further up, a speedy guy streaked by the edge of the path...

We went a bit further than last time. We heard Spring Peepers, but didn't see any. But here's our proof:

On the way out, another stone flip produced two Redbacks and a Leadback!

We got back near our suspected den area and a small Garter (the small sun worshipper?) darted into the brush. I got him in my hand, but I also had a handful of pricker-bush, so I couldn't squeeze too tightly... I didn't want to stab the snake OR get any more prickers into my hand than I already had! He got away without a picture...

BUT, while I was standing there knee-deep in prickers, I saw some coils half buried in the leaves at the top of the mound! This guy was there!
He was actually a bit nippy at first, but he calmed down in Andrea's hands and did the statue thing for her...

Almost to the car, I could see a distant bump on a log... turtle? I snapped a shot:

Then the camera died. My pocket camera came up short, as well.

So, blown up, here is what we have...
DSCN4073 closer
Slider? Painted? Snapper?

I'm inclined to go with Red Eared Slider first, followed by a tentative Painted. At any rate, I leave this specimen as "The Mystery Turtle"!

But sheesh! What a day... 9 Garters (photographed) on the last day of March!

We went to Easter dinner stinking of musk and happy with our short (2+ hours) visit the "that farm in Suffolk County"!


  1. ¡Están contentos?¡Están volviendo los pequeños amiguitos!!!!!Cariños x2 Martha

    1. Fuimos testigos de una historia de amor serpiente, Martha! Fue hermoso!