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.
Visit NATURE NOTES for more intersting blogs on nature.