09 March 2009

not fuzzy, not fluffy

Most of you have noticed by now that Matt and I tend to post about non-mammals. I'd break the habit, but my only exciting (live) mammal observation in the last week was a coyote that opted to fertilize the shoulder of the highway while I crossed my fingers that it wouldn't hop out in front of me. That said, I do have exciting non-mammal news, so exciting in fact, that I've posted oodles of photos to prove it!

August 29, 2008

"But Heidi, those pictures are from August of last year!" ...yes, yes they are. That was my first encounter with the Lined Snake (Tropidoclonion lineatum). Apparently Lined Snake is not particularly well known in many of its ranges and is considered a sensitive species over much of its eastern range - and Google searches turn up a lot of state-specific sites that don't cover the full North American picture. So here's the best species profile for the subspecies found in Texas. Of course, I also need to include the most amazingly detailed site in the universe (be sure to click the range map - Abilene is on the fringe). So the information out there varies from the user-friendly (but restricted in range) to the comprehensive and scientifically delicious.

March 9, 2009

Yep, that gem showed up in the yard - it's a fair bit larger than the one from last year, very cooperative, mellow (did not "musk" me), and quite photogenic. Note the pale buttery ventral scales with joined black spots on each segment. So pretty.

Anyway, somewhere in the middle of the photo session, distraction struck. Zack (my rent-a-brother) found another snake. This one was slightly larger and a bit less mellow. I do have small hands, and one small, calm snake in one small hand works out pretty nicely. Adding another snake to the mix gets exciting. So with camera in one hand...

Finally admitting defeat, I enlisted the help of Abbie, my landlord/rent-a-mom.

...now both critters with their delightfully patterned bellies are tucked away under a rusting piece of lawn art, safe from the roto-tilling of Kevin (rent-a-dad?), where they can peacefully loiter until such time as they are accidentally stumbled upon again. There will be much gleeful celebration and probably another round of fuzzy mugshots before I remember to set the camera to macro...

For all of the above pictures (and then some!), feel free to peruse my Picasa album - Herptiles. For those of you unfamiliar with the lumping of Herps & Reptiles, it must be a nerd thing. Herpetology includes amphibians, but amphibians aren't reptiles but if you're into both and need a fun label, well, there you go. I should note that Duke is milling about in a few of the photos, he was rather unimpressed by the little snakes.

Anywhoo, look before you step. Investigate before you till/plow/uproot. Gently, carefully, cautiously flip rocks. And put things back where you found them, as best you can, with their well being in mind. And of course remember - snakes are people, too.


  1. Nice find!

    What cool ventral scales this creature adornes.

    Exciting to know this species inhabits Abbie and Kevin's property.

  2. ...now if only the whiptails would sit still for me!