Thursday, October 13, 2011

Ringneck Snake

While stacking wood for the winter I noticed this little Ringneck snake trying to sneak into the garage. It was all kinked up for some reason. Monday was a warm day so maybe it was coming out of an early hibernation to catch a bite before the real cold sets in.



Northern Ringneck snakes like this Diadophis punctatus are fairly common in West Virginia. According the Dr. Pauley in “Amphibians and Reptiles in West Virginia”, they are usually found in woodland habitats near water. I have a small creek at the edge of my property so that fits. He also says they can be found under the cover of rocks, bark, logs, leaves, or other debris. That fits too because this one crawled out from my last year’s wood pile.


I had been taking some of the old wood from the stack to bring into the garage when I spotted a redback salamander that skittered away. I hope this snake doesn’t eat it, even though it is one of their preferred foods. You can see how tiny the snake is compared to the oak leaf.


They are very docile but they will secrete a foul smelling musk when roughly handled. I used a stick to encourage it to go back into the old wood pile so I wouldn’t get musked. Dr. Pauley mentioned that “a single female may lay from 1 to 7 eggs, and a dozen or more females may use the same nest.” Now that is a good use of resources and labor saving as well.


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8 comments:

Carolyn H said...

I've always like ring-necked snakes. I think it's partly because they are not too large or too intimidating in appearance. It would be interesting to know why this one was kinked up like that.

squirrel said...

Carolyn I think that snakes get kinked up like that when they have been curled up and idle for a while. I see them that way most often in early spring. The longer this one sat in the sun and then began to move the straighter it became. At least that is my theory. It also looked like it hadn't eaten for a while.

Rambling Woods said...

How interesting...our common garter snakes I think can let out a musky smell and I see them occasionally. Thank you for adding this post to nature Notes...Michelle

Woodswalker said...

What a funny wiggly squiggly shape for a snake! And what an adorable one, too. I've never seen one where I live in northern NY.

Crafty Green Poet said...

what a nice looking snake

Ellen Rathbone said...

That's a terrific image of the snake. I've seen lots of snakes in my life, but never one all kinky as that! I was going to ask if it finally straightened out, but I see you already answered that for Carolyn!

Simon said...

Great picture of the snake! Please contact me on s.maddock@nhm.ac.uk as I would be very interested in using the image in an article that I am working on. I will give you more details during our correspondance.

Thank you,
Simon

Simon said...

Great picture of the snake! Please contact me on s.maddock@nhm.ac.uk as I would be very interested in using the image in an article that I am working on. I will give you more details during our correspondance.

Thank you,
Simon