Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Snakes Seen Slithering Ahead of Fall

Rat snake with a meal inside of it on September 12

Reptiles seem to become more active in the Lowcountry during the months of September and October, making moves ahead of winter. Some are seeking shelter, while others seek wetlands and most all of them need something to eat now. Seeing a snake in the yard is often a rare occurrence, but a couple of recent serpent sightings in my own yard raises awareness that they are an ever present part of our natural surroundings.

Canebrake rattlesnake crossing a road in September
A change began about two weeks ago after the typical hot and sunny August weather rolled right into September. Locals were beginning to feel the heat if you listened to the chatter about extreme conditions coming in from dove fields and deer stands. Things were getting dry and the gnat population seemed to be surging, and then the rains came. Since then, cloudy weather has brought much more moderate temperatures and farmers began to see late crops green up rather than twist in the sun.
The snake sightings that have been reported since the summer weather broke is nothing new since it occurs each and every year. It’s just that since many snakes are nocturnal during the hot weather, they become a bit out of sight and out of mind. Then snakes begin to move during the day, and with each road crossing and every yard visitation they are spotted with greater frequency.

Outdoorsmen of the Lowcountry must acknowledge that poisonous snakes are also moving now, perhaps searching for a suitable den for winter. Practicing vigilance such as watching where one steps, and wearing snake boots are generally sound practices that can offer protection against any unpleasant experiences. These snakes are also a natural part of the ecosystem and we trust mother nature to keep them secretive and out of the way in most cases.

To view the entire article in the newspaper click on Colletonian.

To view past blog entries on other wildlife click on Bats or Horses or Wood Storks.

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