Creating a wildlife haven one plant at a time

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Special Visitor for Earth Day!

Today, we spotted our first snake of the year. The snakes usually start to come out from hibernation between March and May. This is a beautiful black rat snake (non-venomous). It is approximately 4 feet long and was slithering along at a steady pace in the back garden when my husband came upon it.



Rat snakes are rather shy and avoid being confronted. If they are confronted they will freeze and remain motionless as this snake did several times in our presence. I don't think when he wandered out today he thought he was going to a photo shoot.


He (or she) has really beautiful scales...black but when the sun shone on it almost a deep purple. It was difficult to capture all the nuances in the photographs.



These snakes are welcome in our garden as they are an important part of the food chain and help keep our population of mice, chipmunks, moles and voles in check. During the spring months they usually look for food during daytime hours but during the summer months when nights are warmer they often hunt in the evenings.

Today, our friend must not have been hungry because he passed right by a Five-Lined Skink and Eastern Fence Lizard and didn't think twice about them. Perhaps he had other things on his mind such as finding a mate.  



At Southern Meadows we like to celebrate our earth everyday and what better way to be rewarded than to have this visitor in our garden. Happy Earth Day y'all!

13 comments:

  1. I have a Texas rat snake and a beautifully marked garter snake that I see occasionally in my garden. I suspect there are others about as well since I see their scat almost every day when I'm out. Snakes are the gardener's friend and I'm always happy to welcome them, as you are. Happy Earth Day!

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  2. I am a bit afraid of snakes and see rat snakes on job sites now and then. They always send me packing fast. But I know there value and tolerate their presence. Nice captures, especially his portrait.

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  3. I echo Donna's thoughts. I appreciate the niche and role snakes fill in nature, but a bit afraid of them, too. :) Great post!

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  4. Cool! How fortunate we are that you were able to get such great shots of him/her!

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  5. I'm so not a snake person.. I try really hard not to freak and remind myself there are good snakes even pretty snakes but it really doesn't help ..lol Don't let that guy get them pretty eggs.. Happy Monday.. if you ever head this a way holler .. hugs, Cherry

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    1. We usually see snakes at the back of the property. There is too much activity with the dogs and us around the house. The birds are closer to the house so hopefully they are safe. Will definitely give you a shout next time we head toward Savannah!

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  6. I'm happy to have snakes in my garden -- as long as they eat rats and other undesirables. If they eat the lizards or bird eggs or the fish in my pond, that makes me sad. But I know it is just nature at work. And I don't mind running into the snakes when they are under a foot long, but when they get 3, 4 feet long, that is little intimidating!!

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  7. You make even snakes seem like our friends! And I suppose they are helpful in the whole scheme of things, but I'm glad not to ever see them!

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    1. I use to be afraid of snakes too but then I learned more about them. A necessity living in the South. Now I find them fascinating. I think they are very misunderstood and people just need to be mindful and careful in areas that snakes are present. Most of them are pretty shy.

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  8. I think I need a (nonvenomous) snake in the garden to chase away the voles! What a pretty visitor!

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  9. Wonderful gift...I spent Earth Day in bed sick and watching the inch of rain with snow fall...

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    1. I hope you are feeling better! Hopefully, your snow doesn't stick around too long. I think Mother Nature flip flopped winter and spring this year.

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  10. wow, that's a pretty sizable snake. We never see anything that big around here. Although, that's not necessarily a bad thing. I don't mind small snakes but a big one might be a bit of a shock for me.

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"Don't wait for someone to bring you flowers. Plant your own garden and decorate your soul"

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