As we were wrapping up the journaling part of a school program this afternoon, I looked down on the ground and saw what I thought was one of those coiled hair tie things. When I bent over to pick it up, I saw that instead it was a wee snake! It was coiled up on a leaf trying to eke out some warmth from the rapidly disappearing sun.
Being the snake-o-phile (ophiophilist) that I am, I, of course, had to pick it up.
It was very cold, and didn't seem to mind me holding it. I showed it to all the kids - who thought, of course, that it was poisonous. One said "venomous" and I congratulated him for using the correct term. I wasn't 100% sure what it was, so I brought it inside and dug out my snake book. Still not 100% sure. The book doesn't really show juveniles, nor belly patterns, which, on this snake, were beautiful.
Upon closer inspection and some searching online, I confirmed that it is a juvenile northern watersnake. What was throwing me was that it was a goodly distance from actual water! And it did look a bit like a juvenile black ratsnake, which is a species of special concern here in MI. So naturally I tried to make that fit.
Still, a baby watersnake out in a field in November...that's still pretty exciting.