Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Readers Write In: 3 for 1 Snake ID


Hello!

W
e found the snake in the attached picture on my fence yesterday. It was approximately 4.5-5 ft long. We are just north of Dallas, TX and have had TONS of rain/flooding.

Can you help me identify it?

Thanks,
Leslie F.

I am afraid that we have killed one of the good guys. Could you help me identify this snake? We live in East-Central Mississippi.

Thank you,
Monte

Can you tell me what kind of snake this is? Sorry for not being a better picture... Was surprised by snake while having morning coffee....

Jill L.

Readers: What Are These Animals?
-----

Snake Identification Post Ground Rules

-Guesses are welcome and encouraged. Don't worry if you're not an expert, wrong guesses allow us to talk about how to distinguish between the various species and that's why I run these posts.

-If you can't explain why you think a snake is a particular species, go ahead and just say what you think it is. But otherwise please do let us all know how you identified the animal. If you're wrong, we can explain why. If you're right, this helps everyone learn how to identify snakes, which is the goal of these posts.

-You can safely assume that I know what kind of snake is in the picture, I run these posts because they are outreach opportunities. Please don't send me private e-mails with your guesses, include them below.

-Remember, the person that sent me the picture is probably reading your comments. Although it is frustrating to know that many of these snakes have been killed, these people do want to learn more about them. More snake knowledge will lead to fewer snakes being killed.

Thursday, June 18, 2015

Readers Write In: Two Copperheads and a Cottonmouth? What Do You Think?



I just killed this snake. I also found a huge one 2 days ago just like it. I think they are living under my house. I live in central Florida. Is it a cottonmouth/water moc?? Help! I am petrified! I am so worried about my dogs.

Thank you,

Marilyn K.
Brooksville, Florida






Hi:


We saw this beauty on an evening walk around the lake. We live on Lady Anne Lake, Huntsville, Alabama. the west side of the lake is divided by a narrow strip of land and Coopers Marsh is on the other side, fed by Lady Anne Lake. This snake was close to the waters edge, I think he was looking for dinner. We are thinking it is a midland water snake, but some think its a copperhead. Thanks for the ID!! :) 

Diana Carter
Huntsville, Alabama





Hi,

We found this snake entangled in netting for grass planting. It was dead but looked like it was molting. Thinking its a water snake but seems to be copperhead color. It was about 3' long with a skinny first part and thick at the end.

Thank you
Barbara G.
Loudon, Tennessee


Readers: What Are These Animals?
-----

Snake Identification Post Ground Rules

-Guesses are welcome and encouraged. Don't worry if you're not an expert, wrong guesses allow us to talk about how to distinguish between the various species and that's why I run these posts.

-If you can't explain why you think a snake is a particular species, go ahead and just say what you think it is. But otherwise please do let us all know how you identified the animal. If you're wrong, we can explain why. If you're right, this helps everyone learn how to identify snakes, which is the goal of these posts.

-You can safely assume that I know what kind of snake is in the picture, I run these posts because they are outreach opportunities. Please don't send me private e-mails with your guesses, include them below.

-Remember, the person that sent me the picture is probably reading your comments. Although it is frustrating to know that many of these snakes have been killed, these people do want to learn more about them. More snake knowledge will lead to fewer snakes being killed.

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Readers Write In: Is This a A Bad Snake and What is Crawling Through Tuskegee?

Hi Dr Steen, 

I or should I say my dog found this guy in our back porch by barking like crazy, I knew it was something as I looked where he was barking there I find this snake, thank god I was able to convince my dog to go inside. I went back out and was able to zoom my phone and get a few pictures, many are telling me it's a Water Moccasin, which I know is a bad snake, of course to me all snakes are bad because I'm very afraid of any snake.

Can you please take a look and let me know what the snake is...?
Thank you for your help

Bonnie H.
Texas

Dr. Steen,

I came across these two as while driving in Tuskegee National Forest. Unfortunately, the brown one had already been run over so I wasn't able to tell his head shape, and I didn't bother to look for fangs. Could you please help me identify these two?

Thanks for your time,
Chris H.
Alabama

Readers: What Are These Animals?
-----

Snake Identification Post Ground Rules

-Guesses are welcome and encouraged. Don't worry if you're not an expert, wrong guesses allow us to talk about how to distinguish between the various species and that's why I run these posts.

-If you can't explain why you think a snake is a particular species, go ahead and just say what you think it is. But otherwise please do let us all know how you identified the animal. If you're wrong, we can explain why. If you're right, this helps everyone learn how to identify snakes, which is the goal of these posts.

-You can safely assume that I know what kind of snake is in the picture, I run these posts because they are outreach opportunities. Please don't send me private e-mails with your guesses, include them below.

-Remember, the person that sent me the picture is probably reading your comments. Although it is frustrating to know that many of these snakes have been killed, these people do want to learn more about them. More snake knowledge will lead to fewer snakes being killed.

Friday, June 12, 2015

This is Not A Giant Water Snake from Natchitoches, Louisiana

     This picture has now made its way to me a couple times so let's do this.

    First of all, the snake is not as big as it seems because of a camera trick called forced perspective. This trick involves holding the subject (in this case, a snake) closer to the camera than anything else in the photograph. This functions to make the subject look big - check out any picture of someone holding up a fish - they know the trick very well. If you are new to the blog, I talk about snakes and forced perspective ad nauseum here.

   Moving on, this is a Rat Snake, a common resident of the eastern and central United States. This particular kind of Rat Snake is a Western Rat Snake (Pantherophis obsoletus). Rat Snakes are found throughout Louisiana, so I don't have any reason to doubt the stated location. They do get quite big: a huge Rat Snake could even get up to seven feet long (and maybe a little longer). However, the original Facebook posting of this picture alleges that it is 14 feet long and 175 pounds. That's impossible. Not only is it silly to suggest that this Rat Snake is twice as long as the world's largest known Rat Snake, but just try to lift up a 175 pound weight on a long stick. You won't be able to do it. If you asked me to guess, I would say this Rat Snake is 5-6 feet long, tops, and maybe five pounds.

    Apparently some folks are saying that this snake has been eating hogs around Natchitoches. I'm going to go ahead and say that is false too. Rat Snakes eat a wide variety of mammals and birds, but the biggest thing they could get down their throats is likely a small rabbit. None have ever been documented eating a pig (or a piglet).
    
   Please provide a link to this blog post wherever you see this picture pop up.

Thursday, June 11, 2015

Readers Write In: A Lawnmower Casualty and a Possible Rattlesnake Sighting. What are They?!

This is a snake that I ran over last evening with my mower. It appears to have a triangular shaped head. We found it still alive this morning when we let the chickens out (actually the chickens found it). We live 5 miles west of Cloverdale, IN.

I’ve showed the pic and asked others, and checked google images. But still not sure.

Thanks in advance,

Randy A.
Cloverdale, Indiana

Hi David,

I ran across this large (I'm going to say 4 foot, but I might be overestimating) snake while hiking "The Enchantments" near Leavenworth, WA (eastern side of the Cascades). It was around 2000' elevation on a warm, relatively open slope. 


The tail section looks banded like a rattle, but didn't appear loose enough to actually rattle. The snake did not exhibit any coiling or rattling behavior and at the time I really didn't think it was a rattlesnake, possibly just because I've never seen one before. It had been sunning itself on the edge of the trail and shifted off into the rocks at my approach. I tried a couple of interactive snake ID pages on the web and I'm now thinking it really was a rattlesnake. Arguing for - its size and very distinct head, much wider than body. Arguing against - the rather muted pattern (although the pattern gets more distinct towards the rear). Looking at a range map for the western rattlesnake, I don't think I was quite in its "core" zone but I was in its peripheral zone.

Thanks,
Greg W.

Would you be able to tell me what kind of snake this is. we are in north central Indiana.

Philip


Readers: What Are These Animals?
-----

Snake Identification Post Ground Rules

-Guesses are welcome and encouraged. Don't worry if you're not an expert, wrong guesses allow us to talk about how to distinguish between the various species and that's why I run these posts.

-If you can't explain why you think a snake is a particular species, go ahead and just say what you think it is. But otherwise please do let us all know how you identified the animal. If you're wrong, we can explain why. If you're right, this helps everyone learn how to identify snakes, which is the goal of these posts.

-You can safely assume that I know what kind of snake is in the picture, I run these posts because they are outreach opportunities. Please don't send me private e-mails with your guesses, include them below.

-Remember, the person that sent me the picture is probably reading your comments. Although it is frustrating to know that many of these snakes have been killed, these people do want to learn more about them. More snake knowledge will lead to fewer snakes being killed.

Monday, June 8, 2015

Readers Write In: Chicken Raiders and Yard Cottonmouth ID Requests

Hello, it's that time of year again. Last year you helped me confirm our big visitor was a rat snake and the multiple babies I get stuck on bug paper. 

This year I have had a few of these almost solid colored snakes with not markings like the typical rat snake. Can’t seem to get a good picture but it is a med greyish tan color a little black on its head white belly.

What it is?

Tammy B.
Allen, Texas





I was doing yard work yesterday and heard rustling coming from my flower bed and this is what I saw. It startled me and I jumped back. The location with the snake is about 20 feet from the edge of a pond. I thought it might be a water snake, but I was surprised by the aggressive stance the snake took and the width of its head. The snake is approx 3 feet long. I'm hoping it is not a water moccassin. I am in Greenville, SC. What kind of snake is this? 

This is the 2nd time I've seen this snake in the same area, the first time I almost stepped on it by accident. It was not aggressive the first time, it quickly went towards the water. This area is frequently walked past. What recommendations do you have for potential future interactions?

Thanks,

Mike S.
Greenville, South Carolina

My husband has killed two snakes close to our chickens one we believe is a rat snake and the other was either a Mojave rattle snake or western diamond back..but we aren't a 100% sure on either of them.

We would love to have your opinion and ways we might be able to keep our children and animals safe. My dog ginger loves to hunt snakes rats birds mice and anything really that moves lol. 


Clovis, New Mexico

Readers: What Are These Animals?
-----

Snake Identification Post Ground Rules

-Guesses are welcome and encouraged. Don't worry if you're not an expert, wrong guesses allow us to talk about how to distinguish between the various species and that's why I run these posts.

-If you can't explain why you think a snake is a particular species, go ahead and just say what you think it is. But otherwise please do let us all know how you identified the animal. If you're wrong, we can explain why. If you're right, this helps everyone learn how to identify snakes, which is the goal of these posts.

-You can safely assume that I know what kind of snake is in the picture, I run these posts because they are outreach opportunities. Please don't send me private e-mails with your guesses, include them below.

-Remember, the person that sent me the picture is probably reading your comments. Although it is frustrating to know that many of these snakes have been killed, these people do want to learn more about them. More snake knowledge will lead to fewer snakes being killed.