Monday, November 10, 2014

Mid-November Find!

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.


  1. Lovely pictures, i have tried to pick up baby snakes before but alas, they have always been to quick.. but it was warmer too, I'm sure he was slow form the cold.. Glad you taught youngsters to not fear them, sadly too many peoples' reaction is to kill them :( ~Erika in NH

  2. Juvenile Water Snakes often turn up hundreds of metres from the water - nobody know what they're up to there - just dispersing or exploiting some food source specific to their small size.