Posts Tagged 'snakes'

Snakes on Monday

Nerodia sipedonTwo variations on Northern Water Snakes (Nerodia sipedon). Nerodia sipedonThe first was warming up ashore on a cool spring morning.Nerodia sipedon
Nerodia sipedonThe second was swimming between the sedge tussocks.Nerodia sipedonNew Jersey has 22 species of snakes, according to a NJ Fish & Wildlife pamphlet we picked up at Great Swamp NWR. Historically, there was at least one more, the Queen, which is now considered extirpated in the state.

Thanks for identification help from David Steen, whose blog is all about snakes.

More Snakes in the Garden Please

Thamnophis sirtalisA young Common Garter (Thamnophis sirtalis) riding over the duff of Black Rock Forest.Thamnophis sirtalisThis one was about 7″.Thamnophis sirtalisAt a stream, I saw four mature Garters drift by on the other side; these were over 2′ long. My friends called my attention to the one on my side of the stream. Perhaps a wintering ball of snakes had just woken? Thamnophis sirtalisThe best shot of the day, unfortunately because the animal is dead. It was on the side of a mountain road, probably clipped by a wheel.


There were a lot of lizards, which you would expect for a desert. They are tough subjects to photograph, though, being such dashers and darters. I got a few:r2lizardr1

r4This Garter subspecies was unfortunately run over by an earlier vehicle. Still kicking here, but extruding innards elsewhere, so it may not have made it.


“There are m$%#er-f@!*ing snakes on this outwash plain?” Why, yes, there are. Contrary to urban myth, St. Patrick did not chase them all from the city back in the day.

I found this one at Fort Tilden a couple of mosquito-ridden summers ago. Jamaica Bay and Staten Island have been other places I’ve seen snakes within the city. (Update: My friend Lisa, whose animal prints make astonishing gifts, reports that the NY Botanical Garden is quite the snake country, too.)

It’s a garter snake, the most common species of snake in the country. Thamnophis sirtalis has numerous subspecies, including common and eastern, and they all seem to be highly variable in coloring and habitat. Some good basic data about them is found here. They can live up to ten years.

This time of year, snakes are in hibernation, tucked away for the winter, often amid their cohorts, coiled in anticipation of longer days and a warmer sun.

The Hofstra guide to reptiles and amphibians of L.I., S.I., and Manhattan is a handy place to read up on our regional snakes.


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