Sunday, October 30, 2011

The Second sighting of A Red Bellied Snake in 11 Years

While working in the field on the south west end of our woodlot I noticed our cat playing with a tiny snake. It's reddish orange belly was evident from a distance and I immediately interrupted the cat's play to save it. It is a tiny snake and from the top it is a rather featureless gray but underneath it has a clear orange belly which is characteristic of a red bellied snake [Storeria occipitomaculata]. It did not appear very frightened when I picked it up.

After the photo-shoot I returned the reptile to its little depression in the ground which was about the size of a tea cup and it then slithered out of sight down into the earth. This was likely its hibernacula as they call its winter quarters.

I had seen this snake before early on in the first years when we arrived here on the woodlot but never since, and it was also in the same general area. Its den or hibernacula is located near the forest edge just as the descriptive websites indicate. Since it preys mainly on slugs it is a welcome presence in our woodlot. There are slugs galore around here. We need more red bellied snakes.

1 comment:

Pete said...

That little snake is lucky you were there!