A little more snake

Seeing the garter snake in my garden the other day was just the start. I know that snakes are not everybody's favorite topic, but I think you might like today's short post.

You see, I saw another snake yesterday. Actually I saw three of them, and they were a type I had never seen before: prairie ring-necked snakes (Diadophis punctatus arnyi)! Easy to see how this species got its common name, right?


Unfortunately these snakes were not in my own garden, but in that of a client for which I'm building some garden structures and furniture.

The photo above shows the second of the trio, as the first moved before I could snap a photo.

Here's the third, who was less nervous than the other two:

In the title of this post I said "a little more snake", and the emphasis is really on the "little"...

...as these were baby snakes! That's my index finger for size reference. So tiny!

The prairie ring-necked snake is a small one, reaching only 10-14 inches in length (25-35cm), but these were clearly much smaller than that.

Here's where I found them:

From the Missouri Department of Conservation's page about these snakes:
This species lives in native prairies, pastures, open woods, edges of woodlands, and on dry, rocky glades. Secretive, they often use flat rocks, boards, logs, or bark slabs for shelter. Instead of regulating their body temperature by basking in the sun on top of rocks, they rest beneath sun-warmed rocks.
So it makes sense that I found them underneath the top patio slab:

The slabs have a slightly uneven surface, mimicking natural rocks. The snakes were nested into the shallow depressions.

Now I'm wondering if these little snakes might be in my garden too! If not I might be able to attract them by adding a stack of large, flat rocks...

What an exciting find!


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Alan  – (April 21, 2016 at 7:00 AM)  

An extra note: reading more I see that these are probably yearlings, hatched late last summer.

Teri  – (April 21, 2016 at 8:42 AM)  

Definitely last year's babies. One of my favorite memories (in the ornery big sis sort of way)is my 6'3" sister trying to crab backwards up the rear of her SUV to get away from a hatchling ring neck... who was so tiny I had to slide a paper under him to move his little killer self to the woods behind her house.

A thought: ask your clients if they would like to take part of your exclusive "snake relocation program". ;-)

Alan  – (April 21, 2016 at 9:35 AM)  

Teri: I really thought they were worms -- is your sister afraid of worms too? :) Note, I've read somewhere that relocating snakes has a very low success rate, unless you're giving them exactly the habitat they want. So it's not recommended.

danger garden  – (April 21, 2016 at 10:39 AM)  

Okay those are so small that they're almost cute. Almost.

Alan  – (April 21, 2016 at 3:03 PM)  

Loree: That's progress!

Peter: I agree, plus fascinating!

susie @ persimmon moon cottage  – (April 21, 2016 at 5:26 PM)  

Those little snakes really are adorable in a snake-y sort of way. I am continuously looking for snakes now when I'm out in the yard. I think they add a lot to our gardens, and I have read that the little snakes we have around here like to eat slugs. These cute little "decorative" snakes are a lot better than the slimy slugs who eat holes in the leaves of some of my favorite plants.

Good luck attracting more snakes to your garden and yard.

susie @ persimmon moon cottage  – (April 21, 2016 at 7:46 PM)  

I couldn't believe my eyes just now. I opened the front door and as I was standing there looking out over the tulips losing their petals, I noticed something unusual on the front walk. It was a cute little brown garter/garden snake very slowly moving across the sidewalk! He was no bigger than one of those great big earthworms that come out when it rains. In fact, he was so small that I thought maybe he was a big worm, but as he came to the grass along the sidewalk, he lifted his little head up and looked around. Then he disappeared into the grass. I'm going to have to watch where I walk. I wouldn't want to step on him/her.

Alan  – (April 22, 2016 at 8:48 AM)  

Susie: That's great! If everybody's first experience with snakes was with these little babies, snakes wouldn't get such a bad rap I think. :)

Charlie@Seattle Trekker  – (April 24, 2016 at 10:41 PM)  

Such an interesting discovery, I have never seen this snake before.

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