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e_moon60

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80 acres: spring critter [Feb. 13th, 2009|05:44 pm]
e_moon60
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[Current Mood |awake]

The only time we see Prairie Ring-necked Snakes, Diadophis punctatus arnyi,  is in early spring--and then not often.   In early spring they move from their winter dens to lay eggs. 

This afternoon, it was about 80 degrees when Richard spotted this little snake at the gate out in the near meadow.  

                                     

They're only about a foot long, and almost as thin as a pencil--perfectly harmless, though they will stink up your hands if you pick them up  (one of my snake books says the musk is strong, penetrating, and unpleasant.)   They have an odd defensive maneuver--the underside of the tail is bright orange, and they'll coil it up, lift up the "corkscrew" and wave it about.   Their eggs are eaten by the South American fire ants, but the ants don't like extreme drought...so maybe this year we'll have more little ring-necked snakes around. 



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Comments:
From: sunfell
2009-02-14 01:31 am (UTC)
I heard peepers last night while taking out the trash.
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[User Picture]From: pyg_klb
2009-02-14 02:37 am (UTC)
You write:

>[Prarie Ring-necked Snakes are] perfectly harmless, though they will stink up your hands if you pick them up....

They're much like garter snakes that way. I wonder if all colubrids use that defense?
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[User Picture]From: e_moon60
2009-02-14 04:40 am (UTC)
I don't know if they all do, but a lot of them do. Texas Rat Snakes (according to a reliable source) can produce an astonishing amount of fecal material and musk when they're scared. The stink and ick probably does deter some predators.
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[User Picture]From: kk1raven
2009-02-14 03:39 am (UTC)
I've only found Ring-necked Snakes twice. They're interesting little snakes.
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From: (Anonymous)
2009-02-14 08:50 am (UTC)
from Annalou: It's a very pretty snake. I rather like snakes!
Very glad you're better.
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[User Picture]From: e_moon60
2009-02-14 02:20 pm (UTC)
I'm VERY glad I'm better too. Slept through the night last night (did cough when I woke up, but wasn't wakened by coughing spells.)

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