NATURE KNOWLEDGE: Eastern Ribbon Snake

This is an Eastern Ribbon Snake. There’s no doubt, when you look at the photo (above) ,why they are called Ribbon Snakes. They are very long and sleek. They are often confused with Garter Snakes (below)which are thicker and shorter.

Garter Snake (photo credit: Troy Bartlett)

I had to get a Garter Snake photo from elsewhere. My old photos are badly organized. Betcha know how that is?

As for Ribbon Snakes, both they and Garter Snakes, bear their young “live” in late summer (no egg laying for them). When I took many of my Ribbon snake photos, she was surrounded with smaller snakes. I figured they were males trying to mate with her.  Later on, I realized she was surrounded by her offspring since it was September and not mating season. (See how rumors get started?)

Mom with babies.

Ribbon Snakes eat bugs, small rodents and amphibians. They like to swim and are found hunting and living by water.

The one that I photographed (above) was a very large female. She was close to the maximum length of 29″. Yes, she was living right beside my little frog pond. I watched her swimming on several occasions.

As usual, click on photos for a closer look.

Sympatric Salamanders 2012 -Overlapping Territories

The Jefferson salamander (above) and the Spotted salamander (below) both visit and leave eggs in my little pond in NY State.

These photos were taken this weekend. My pond is, in essence, a plastic container that was from Walmart several summers ago. It is about three and a half feet long…two feet wide and two feet deep. The depth is important for the salamanders, especially this season. It will not dry up as many vernal pools are during this unusually warm and dry springtime. About 10 years ago, I captured a blue Spotted Salamander in this location too. I haven’t seen one since. My camera and computer knowledge were both serious lacking then. In springtimes past, I’ve brought home specimens for the kids to witness firsthand. This year, I opted to leave them alone. A dry Spring is not very friendly to amphibians so I wanted them to keep multiplying uninterrupted.

The Jefferson and Spotted salamanders are syntopic. ( They occur together locally.) My little pond has become a yearly support to local populations and I’m very proud of this. At first, Wood Frogs overwhelmed my little pond at mating time. There are still a few who leave their eggs but the pond is populated by many more salamander eggs. The Wood Frogs have moved to larger ponds in our area.

The adult salamanders will leave soon and by late April their tadpoles will be visible and plentiful. I’ll document their growth in future posts.

There are a few more weekend shots to share. Enjoy!

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