Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Common Garter Snake

This Common Garter Snake, Thamnophis sirtalis, was very cooperative. Because it was wide angle lens day, I had to get right on top of this little one. No worries, there was no striking, and even if there would have been, at best the venom would have been a mild irritant.

I first came upon the snake by hearing a rustling in the leaves. I really do stumble upon some of my finds, nearly stepping on the poor creatures.

These snakes hibernate, coming out in March or April. Favorite foods are earthworms and amphibians.

This predominantly beech forest was close by to the oak forest where the snake was found. It is so interesting how quickly the species flavor can change.

This winter I read about how forests awaken in the spring--first the low lying bushes and smaller trees get a start and only later do the big ones leaf out and block the sunlight. We can see some of that behavior here.

What I've noticed is that this only seems to happen in the forest. Large stand-alone maples and oaks are leafing out strongly. Can the forests be different?

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