Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Readers Write In: There's a Snake On My Bookshelf-Help! What Is It! (and more)

1) David, this morning we step out into the garage hit the door opener and BAM under the door is a 4ft long snake frozen in place. Takes your breath away. My husband gets excited and at first because of its markings thinks it a rattler. No rattle… No worries but my husband is convinced it’s no good. Unfortunately he tried to scare it off with a mop and it managed to get inside my garage and disappear...Any help would be great. I don’t want to kill them but if they are dangerous then I would like to call someone to displace them appropriately. Otherwise I guess I get a friendly visitor every year.

Tammy B.
Allen, Texas

2) Good morning, David! I've got another snake question I hope you can help me with. Yesterday morning, within 5 minutes of getting out of bed, while reaching down to plug in my computer, I brushed up against a snake that was curled up on my bookshelf.

In hindsight, he may have struck at me and missed when I first brushed up against him, because he tried to strike several times while I was attempting to wrangle him into a pillow case. My initial conclusion was that he is just a black rat snake, but after posting the photos on Facebook, I have had multiple people ask if it was an indigo snake (probably because of tv special that aired recently that featured indigo snakes).  I'm skeptical, but wanted to see if you may be able to identify it from the pics I took. 

Ben M.
Loachapoka, Alabama

3) I live in the southern part of South Carolina. Today we found this snake just sitting on our porch as we were watering our flowers. I live in a residential neighborhood with 3 dogs. Can someone please tell me if this snake is venomous?

Alex F.
South Carolina

Here Are A Couple of Questions 
for You Experts Out There:

4) We are having some discussion here at the NC Botanical Garden about the ID of this juvenile water snake. I believe it is a Northern Water Snake, and others have tagged it as a juvenile Red-bellied Water Snake. We have both species in abundance in the area. The location is a vernal pond without fish, but plenty of Salamander larvae and Chorus Frog larvae. Any thoughts?

Mary S.
North Carolina

5) Finally, a reader found these animals on the right under some rocks from an old building's foundation. He thought it would be fun for people to try to figure out all the different species and also guess the location based on the species that he found together (hint: it is in the United States).

Readers: What Are These Snakes?


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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