Sunday, April 18, 2010

Bull Snakes on the Road!

Blue skies, 65ºF.  Very nice weather.  Tom and I took a Sunday afternoon drive on RR107 to Meridean. 

The woods were full of Dutchman's Breeches, Spring Beauties and Bloodroot.

I stopped when we heard the drumming then calls of a Pileated Woodpecker.  Time to pull out the iPod.  I found the call and played it.   He was there in seconds.  Way before I was ready with my camera.  He looked at me as I fumbled with my camera, and flew off.

As we headed up to the prairie and pine grove where we'd seen the Bull Snake last fall, I wondered when and if we'd see one again.

Then - right in front of us was a huge snake - at least 6-feet long.  Sure enough, it was a Bull Snake.  This one was not as docile as the one we spotted in almost the same location last September.

It didn't let me get very close before it slithered across the road and disappeared into the pine forest.

Just down the road I noticed what looked like a bag or rope along side the road.  It was another snake.  This one was dead.  Curious, I got out of the car to get a closer look.  I thought maybe it got hit by a car.

The snake's neck was crushed and there was a hole straight through the head just below the jaw.

Bull Snakes, the longest heavy bodied snakes in Wisconsin, feed on rodents - and they're not venomous.  There's no reason to kill them.

Their skin pattern changes along the length of their bodies - so they look like they were put together by an assembly-line that hadn't been given clear instructions:

Down the road, I stopped to try to photograph that day-flying moth again, but it saw me coming.   As I got back to my car, I noticed an odd shaped stick in the road.  I walked over and looked.  

It was a tiny Northern Red-bellied Snake.  They eat earthworms, beetle larvae and slugs. Like Garter Snakes, they give birth to live young.  

These snakes are known for their habit of sunning themselves on rural roads.   This one had been crushed by a car.   Zoom, Zoom.

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