Recent Snake Sightings!

Gulf Coast Ribbon Snake, 10Aug2022. Non-venomous. It is a subspecies of Ribbon Snake: Thamnophis proximus orarius. On iNaturalist, they say “foods consumed by ribbonsnakes are primarily amphibians, with tadpoles eaten when available and frogs and toads taken year round. Fish and lizards are also known as potential prey items. Active at dusk and dawn during the spring and fall seasons, T. proximus is can be entirely nocturnal in hot habitats during the summer months. Although it is listed as a non-venomous snake, the saliva of T. proximus has been reported to have toxic properties, though few human envenomations have been reported. It is not thought to be dangerous to humans, and will not bite unless provoked.”

On Wikipedia, they say “In order to hunt, ribbon snakes use a few of their senses including auditory and visual perception. Ribbon snakes do not eat warm-blooded prey, just as garter snakes, also of the genus Thamnophis, do not. Using their auditory and visual traits, they are able to prey upon newts, salamanders, frogs, toads, tadpoles, small fish, spiders, and earthworms. Meanwhile, they fall prey to mammals, birds, and larger amphibians and reptiles.[ Ribbon snakes rarely use any aggressive form of defense. Instead, they use their brown bodies to camouflage with the surrounding vegetation. Along with this, they flee and hide in dense patches of grass in which they will coil up and get as low to the ground as possible. Given that snakes consume their prey whole, small individuals are particularly constrained in the size and shape of prey that can be consumed. These smaller snakes compensate for their smaller body size by having larger heads.”

Plain-bellied Water Snake, 13Aug2022. Non-venomous. As the Missouri Department of Conservation says, they eat “fish, toads, frogs, tadpoles, salamanders, and crayfish.”

On Wikipedia, they say “Plain-bellied water snakes are active in the warmest months of the year. During the hottest months of summer, they will be active both during the day and at night. In warmer months, they are typically found basking on logs or near bodies of water, swimming, or traveling over land. During hot, humid weather, they will travel long distances away from water. They tend to spend more time in terrestrial habitat than other water snake species. They hibernate during the coldest months of the winter.

“The species gets most of its food from the water. They feed primarily on fish, crayfish, salamanders, and frogs. Because of the amount of time they spend on land, the snake’s diet includes a large quantity of amphibians. Like most other snakes, it will hunt for prey, but this species has been observed submerged in water sources waiting for prey to approach them. They apprehend and swallow prey alive without using constriction.”

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