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