Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Reptiles - Snakes & Gator

My first encounter with a venomous snake was at Corpus Christi's Botanical Gardens. We were walking the back trails looking for birds. Suddenly this snake moved into the center of the path and we both stopped dead in our tracks. It was a rattlesnake for sure and this was his path! He would not move away and it took several short sticks (there were no dead trees here) thrown at him to disturb him enough that he left the path. Of course, we were determined not to turn around but could not go past him either.

Generally, I hear and see snakes as the slither away from the trail. That is how I saw my Texas Coral Snake. It was on or near the path but we had not seen him. Only when he was moving away in the grass, did I see him and managed only one picture.

The Western Ribbon Snake was very small, less than a foot is my guess. It was hiding or whatever snakes do in a small hole in the log. I think it came out of its hole to check me out. I was moving around this area, photographing butterflies and dragonflies. As soon as I got the camera focused on him, he slipped back into his hole but only after I captured him with the camera.

The only other reptile that we see all over the southern US, is the American Alligator. I remember our first trip to Louisiana in 2002 and we started to see alligators along side of the road in the ditches. We stopped counting when we reach 100 in 25 miles or so. Big ones and little ones.

In that same trip, we were in Sabine NWR and a 15+ foot gator was sunning himself in the path. He also would not move but he was less threatening than the rattlesnake and we managed to skirt around him to continue on the trail.

Photo taken at Corpus Christi Botanical Gardens, TX on 4/5/2006

Western Diamondback Rattlesnake - Crotalus atrox

Photo taken at Choke Canyon SP, TX on 3/23/2011

Texas Coral Snake - Crotalus atrox

Photo taken at Lake Mineral Wells, TX on 4/14/2011

Western Ribbon Snake - Thamnophis proximus

Photo taken at High Island, TX on 3/13/2011

American Alligator - Alligator mississippiensis

Photo taken at Cameron Prairie NWR, LA on 3/20/2010

American Alligator - Alligator mississippiensis

All images © MSCI