Wednesday, May 02, 2007

Basking

Encountering sinister creatures sprawled about in the early spring sun...

18 comments:

LauraHinNJ said...

Just for you motherly-types that might worry at how close this snake appears - I was lucky to have my long 400 mm lens on the camera when I came across this big! slow moving snake. I'm guessing a black rat snake; really I don't know. I'm afraid someone will tell me my life was in danger.

maggie said...

Great shot!!!. Snakes get a bad rap, they are really great for the garden and keep the other pest at a minimum. However cold days are certainly your friend if your trying to avoid, (or photograph)these oversized inch worms.

Lynne said...

I'm sure glad you didn't have your nose as close to that snake as it appeared!!!

Reminds me of that expression " if it was a snake it would have bit me".

Larry said...

I remember a story about a snake that begged a man to carry him across a river on his shoulder.

I can't carry you across the river -you'll bite me-said the man.

The snake said no I won't -I promise-Please just carry me to the other side and I'll be so grateful.

The man reluctantly agreed.-Just as they made it to the other side-the snake bit him.-Why did you do that? asked the man-you promised you wouldn't--
The snake replied-I'm a snake-what did you expect me to do?

Susan Gets Native said...

*shivers*

Mary said...

Be careful, Laura! I happen to like snakes if they are small...

Jimmy said...

OH MY! I don't like snakes...spiders "YES" Snakes "NO"

KGMom said...

My childhood in Africa has ingrained a deep deep respect of snakes--and a personal desire to be about 30 ft. away from the nearest one.

Cathy said...

I'm with Donna - though I'm sure her respect is born of far more 'sinister' experiences.

Liza Lee Miller said...

I love your snake. Very cool. And I just finished reading two chapters of Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire to my kids -- it features a VERY large snake rather prominently.

Dave said...

This is my first visit here. I love your photos. What kind of camera are you using. You really know how to work it. Thanks.

dguzman said...

I have a healthy respect for snakes, and I'm kinda fascinated and repelled at the same time--which has kept me safe so far.

Nice photo!

mon@rch said...

Perfect you were able to capture it without it taking off on you! That's what always happens when I try taking their picture!

TDharma said...

most excellent photo, Laura!

Sandy said...

I will admit it is a good shot, but I do not like snakes!

Dorothy said...

Snakes have always frightened me as my two older brothers would chase me with them when I was small. They didn't want me following them into the woods, dontcha know. Now that I'm older,
as long as I'm not startled by them..I'm fascinated instead and will not run. Great picture, Laura.

LauraHinNJ said...

Maggie: I guess I'd agree, though I don't know anything about snakes and hardly ever come across one.

Lynne: It was big, but placid and just froze and let me take pics (lucky me!)

Larry: Ha! I guess they do get a bad rap, but have to eat just the same.

Susan: Really? Can't imagine you handle big ferocious raptors and are afraid of a little ole snake.

;-)

Mary: You were one of the motherly-types I was referring to.

;-)

He wasn't small, exactly, but seemed friendly in a slithery sort of way.

Jimmy: Sorry!

KgMom: Sounds like a story there to tell.

Cathy: *Sinister* is the word we would expect, but really he wasn't at all.

Liza: There's a guy I work with that we call, "Slytherin".

;-)

Dave: Hi! Thanks for coming by - I take most of the pics with my little Rebel - and yes, I'm learning!

Delia: I was happy with how it turned out, cause I wasn't willing to get too close, plus I had my work clothes on and couldn't quite get low enough for the pic I wanted.

Monarch: I almost never see snakes, but found this same one (I guess) the day before on the bank of a pond. Was surprised to see him the next day crossing the dirt trail into the wooded ravine.

Tara: Thanks!

Sandy: Sorry! I had a turtle pic I was going to post instead...

Dorothy: You make me laugh - thanks. Most of my brothers' torture rituals involved the beach and jeelyfish or crabs - enough said!

I haven't learned to really be afraid of snakes yet. Don't find them often at all.

burning silo said...

Hi Laura, If the snake was quite large, I believe that one was probably a watersnake judging by its keeled scales. I guess you would have the Northern Watersnake (Nerodia sipedon) there, but perhaps it's a different species of Nerodia. I'd have to look at the range maps. You can tell the difference between Water Snakes and Rat Snakes by their scales. A Rat Snake (Elaphe obsoleta) has smooth scales like this one - it was large - well over 4 feet long.
http://www.pbase.com/crocodile/image/21257479
Here's a shot of quite a large Watersnake - I think it was about 3+ feet long, if I remember correctly.
http://www.pbase.com/crocodile/image/32410546
See how each scale has a raised line down the center? That's a keeled scale and is one of the useful diagnositc field marks that helps to identify a lot of snakes -- many species are smooth-scales, while others have keeled scales.
Young of both the Rat Snake and the Watersnake usually have quite distinctive brown and black patterning, but the older snakes are usually quite a dark colour - so dark that the patterns are only vaguely present, or even absent. Watersnakes and Rat Snakes are often mistaken for each other due to this similarity in colouring, so it's the scales that are most reliable for distinguishing them.
Btw, I shot both of these photos from about 3 feet away. Most of the snakes in the northeast US and Canada are pretty innocuous and won't harm us if we are quiet and don't antagonize them.
Anyhow, nice shot of the snake!