Thursday, September 4, 2014

Beware of local area snakes right now

My husband and I met some friends for dinner Monday evening at Mamacitas on NASA Road 1.  Sitting in the passenger seat on the way home, I noticed a bit of road debris out of the corner of my eye.  "That's an odd shape for a strip of retread," I thought to myself.  As reality came into sharper focus, I bellowed to my husband, "HOLY SH*T - I JUST SAW THE BIGGEST WATER MOCCASIN EVER!" 

Twenty-four hours later, a similar encounter, only this time on our West Walker Street sidewalk a short distance from the LC police station.
Sitting there like the serpent in our suburban Garden of Eden.  I was walking our dog just after dusk and I didn't have a clear view of this critter while we were out there.  I had to come home and upload the cell phone pic before I could declare what the species was (the picture was taken with a flash, which made the details easier to see).  
You don't really need to declare the species - if you live in these parts, the safe thing to do is treat any snake you see as venomous, every time, regardless of what you can see of it.  Now that I can view the image on the computer, I'd put money on it actually being a nonpoisonous water snake.  Nevertheless, in the dark, it acted much like a moccasin, refusing to yield the right of way.  I was afraid that some hapless soul would come jogging down the sidewalk in the dark and get struck by it, so it had to clear the area.  I was compelled to put a bit of a beatin' on it before it would agree to return to the retention pond.  (He's OK though.  Just a bruised ego.)

So I saw two big snakes in the space of two days - why?  Well, the rains have been good this summer and wildlife is flourishing as a result.  We have quite a robust collection of juvenile hoppy toads (Bufo bufo) and they enjoy cruising on concrete surfaces, which brings out the snakes.
They tend to do a lot of this when environmental conditions are favorable.  And then they get eaten by other things.

Screengrabbed from Wikipedia.  
Mind also that the work crews have now buried at least one section of that new pipeline in the Interurban easement. This work is taking for-ev-er, but as soon as they get that pipe laid, they'll be removing their mile-long segment of board road.  And what I expect is that an entire summer's bumper crop of snakes is going to come boiling out from underneath all that lovely man-made habitat as they pull it up.  Maybe just in time for the grand opening of the adjacent Public Safety Building.
Ah, memes... who thinks of this stuff?!

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