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Wednesday, June 11, 2008

The Snakes in My Backyard...

Linda in Norman (Oklahoma) sent me an e-mail quite some time ago that said something to the effect that I needed a new post to put above the (ugly) bug post.

I've accumulated a few pictures and I had thought about posting the bird pictures, or the pictures of the deer that come up to my yard every day.

But I got busy per usual and didn't get it done.

I promise that I will post some of those photographs, however tonight's post was prompted by me finding a shed snake skin in my backyard this evening. I don't know what kind of snake it was but never the less...

It was ~more~ evidence that I do seem to have quite a bit of "Snake Traffic" come through my yard.

A while back I found this little Prairie Ring-Neck snake while I was working in the yard.

I don't believe that I had seen one since I was a kid. The markings fascinated me then as it still does today.

What a striking contrast of color this little snake has.

A bright orange belly with a matching ring around its neck. These colors are brilliant when set against the black of the rest of the body.

Mom says, "The only good snake is a dead snake." Of course, she has already found two rattlesnakes this year at her house. And I agree... rattlesnakes are not welcome.

Even so, I beg to differ with her about all snakes being bad. There are good snakes. This snake in particular catches and eats slugs (among other things). I'll have to remember to tell Mom that because she is inundated with slugs in her flower beds.

I remember catching my first Prairie Ring-Neck snake. It was about this size. I was so excited that I wanted to show it to Mom. She was gone from the house at the time, so I rummaged around to find something to put my prize snake in.

For some reason, I couldn't find anything but a paper lunch sack...

and into that sack I put my snake. I then left the snake in the house and went back outside.

When Mom got home I told her that I wanted to show her something really neat. I was very proud of my catch.

I retrieved the paper sack and opened it only to find that it was empty.

I couldn't believe my eyes...

as my short little insignificant life passed before them.


When Mom found out what it was that I had LOST IN THE HOUSE she had a ~conniption fit~. She said, "I am NOT sleeping in THIS house until you FIND THAT SNAKE!!!"

I've since seen another little Prairie Ring-Neck snake in my yard. He was a little bigger. I wonder if I caught him if Mom would like to have it live in her flower bed to eat her slugs.


I'm sure that many of you have wondered how I ever lived to be as old as I am.

Parker and I spent quite a bit of time trying to get this photo of the snake's tongue sticking out. But Parker showed some remarkable patience and was able to capture one

Please ignore my dirty fingers.

I didn't take the time to go into the house to wash my hands before we took the pictures of the snake.

So the other evening after I got home I drug out the water hose. I needed to water some of my plants and flowers.

While I was watering this guy come flying around the corner straight at me. This snake was on a mission of some sort.

I sprayed him with my water hose to stop his advance which took some doing.

But I did get him to stop and at least turned the other direction. I think I made him mad too.

I kept looking at this guy and I couldn't readily identify him. He was only about two feet long and quite slender in appearance, however the markings on his head is what really caught my eye. The pattern that starts at the eye and comes down to the mouth is quite interesting.

So I grabbed my camera real quick to take a picture in hopes that I could later identify what kind of snake it was.

It took quite a bit of time to browse through a bunch of photographs, and Googled pages. But I finally got a positive ID on the snake.

It is a Checkered Garter snake. The picture associated with the link is a pretty good picture. Much better than my hastily taken shot. You can click on it to make it bigger.

I failed to tell you guys that "something" ransacked my fish pond a few weeks ago.

All of my pretty fish are gone. Vanished. Disappeared.

Most likely eaten.

From the mess that was made it is likely that it was a raccoon that "fished" them out and ate them. The lily pads were all torn up.

I did see a raccoon early Monday morning run from behind my neighbor's garage.

But it is also possible that it was this fellow, the Checkered Garter snake, that could have made a quick meal of them as well.

I don't believe in feeding wildlife, but I will have to get some more fish.

Hopefully they'll last a while longer than the last batch?



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Blogger The Domesticator said...

I myself kind of like snakes. That little one is a cutie!

Oh, and my fingers never look that good when I work in my yard *LOL*

June 12, 2008 11:50 AM  
Blogger It's me, T.J. said...

The Ring-neck snakes are a pretty docile bunch and are really a pleasure to see. They don't get real big, but the bigger they get the lighter the black becomes. Some of the bigger snakes appear to be gray. I believe that the Checkered Garter that I found would have struck at me had I gotten any closer. I had really irritated him with that water hose.

I usually get a lot dirtier than this. I had been moving some rocks so that's the only reason why my fingers didn't look as dirty as usual.

June 12, 2008 5:38 PM  
Anonymous eliterace said...

yeah i caught a baby ringneck snake in my street. ive had it for a month now and its fine. my mom sais i can keep it as long as i promise i will buy it food,water, etc. its only 2 inches lol

October 06, 2008 1:57 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I just found a little ringneck snake in my basement and decided to keep him. He is doing very well for the days that i have had him, and is getting very well with being handled, so hope your doing well with your little snake zoo there!

August 17, 2010 8:27 AM  
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May 19, 2011 3:41 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I saw what is probably a rather large prairie ring-necked snake hiking a Missouri park trail. It was probably 18-20", out sunning himself on the trail.

October 06, 2011 5:41 PM  
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January 27, 2012 8:46 PM  
Blogger Quivira Road Animal Clinic said...

I found a snake on a rock sunning itself that was at least 6 foot long. I would rather see these guys any day!

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July 15, 2018 9:40 PM  

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