Thursday, September 11, 2014

Summer time is snake time in Floridian nature

While walking this morning I came across a small red rat snake that had been unsuccessful in crossing the street. Snakes are a common sight in Floridian nature especially during these hot summer months. As reptiles they  appreciate that hot baking Florida sun and so as Floridians we need to keep our eyes open to avoid a run in. Snakes are feared in part because of the very few species which are actually dangerous and in part because of ignorance about their mysterious ways

The Red Rat Snake, often called the corn snake in Florida, lives near pinelands, hardwood hammocks, swamps, agricultural fields, and residential areas. Corn snakes are one of the most colorful snakes in Florida. Adult red rat Snakes are orangish-brown with black bordered orange, red, or brownish blotches. The belly usually is a black and white checkerboard pattern, though orange may also be present. The underside of the tail has 2 black stripes. Adult red rat snakes reach a length of  18-44 inches.

Florida is home to a wide variety of snakes and of the 43 species of snakes that call Florida home only six are venomous. Florida's non-venomous snakes come in a great variety of size and colors and are found in all Florida habitats from mangrove swamps to the driest scrub, from limestone spring runs to the Everglades, and even the backyard.

Rat snakes can sometimes be feared because they are confused with the venomous  dusky pygmy rattler.This is a small snake, usually less than 20 inches in length. Pygmy rattlers are a hot-tempered snake, usually striking repeatedly at the slightest threat. This pit vipers venom is very potent but the dose it delivers is small. Although the Pygmy Rattler vibrates its tail when annoyed, the little rattles are barely audible, sounding more like the faint buzz of an insect. This is all the more reason to be wary of this snake. Although its bite is unlikely to cause death, it can be very painful and can cause infection or tissue destruction.

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