Thursday, June 4, 2015

Readers Write In: Are These Mating Indigo Snakes? And more...

Good afternoon Dr Steen,

    (I found) a shed skin over 8' long. I found it under my deck a few weeks back. Although my research suggests Byron Georgia is north of where you'd expect to find one, I made a guess based on the size and the tail plates of the shed and I'm thinking we might have an Indigo. Then, day before yesterday about 6PM, we saw a very long, very black snake moving through the woods toward the deck. Wow, very cool.  It came about 10 feet from the deck before it turned back toward the woods. From 20 feet away, it looked like it could fill the shed skin -- it was a huge snake. We watched it until it was out of sight. 

    About an hour later, my wife looked out the basement door and there are two very long very black snakes intertwined and writhing about. Again, very cool -- I have never before witnessed what I though might be snake sex. I did get a picture of that (also attached). Today we saw the smaller one again just off the deck (guessing about 6 feet). There was plenty light so I have attached a couple of photos of that one. 

Could these be an Indigos? If not, what then?

Rob W.
Byron, Georgia

Dr Steen

My son, Jason, just sent this pic to me. A friend sent it to him this morning. The snake was approx 30 inches long. The pic was taken this morning somewhere around Richmond VA. 

Any ideas on what it is?


Bill J.
Manassas, Virginia

Hi, Love your blog. Been enjoying and sharing it for years! AU grad and naturalist myself, I love the way you share you knowledge with patience. 

A friend in the Atlanta suburb area took this picture today in Sope Creek, Marietta, Georgia. It is my guess these are all Nerodia, but the variation in color is making me doubt myself. I usually use 'complete banding' (defined lines) as a marker for the copperhead and cottonmouth, and mismatched lines for the Nerodia. If that holds true there is one here with defined hourglass patterns, but not the other two. Would a copperhead hang out with two water snakes like this?

I am also guessing if they are the same species, this is mating behavior. How'd I do?

Elizabeth H.

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.

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