Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Ratsnake Recycling

On the same day that I encountered the babes of Gator Beach, I encountered this grey ratsnake on the dirt road through the woods.
When I first saw it at a distance, I thought I had a live snake to "mess" with and photograph. Accordingly, I jumped out of the JEEP with camera in hand only to find that this snake was dead.

Someone earlier than me had driven over him, I think accidentally, as the snake is only damaged near the rear end. He may have been scooting across the road and could not be avoided, or perhaps the driver was distracted and didn't see the sunning snake.

Whatever the case, one of my favorite snakes was dead, which is always a bummer to me, but he was being utilized by some very busy ants.

The video below shows that ant activity. Take a look at his eye, it's still clear, this snake had not been dead very long at all, but the ants were already working hard.
Possibly carrion beetles at work too since there is mounding around the snake and they tend to bury their finds.


SophieMae said...

Dern, I sure hate to see such a beauty get returned to room tempachur like that. I'd like to believe it was accidental. It just boggles my mind, in this so-called emlightened age, that there are still SO many eejits out there taking delight in running over every snake they see. But that's a soapbox topic which would definitely hinder any attempt at brevity in this tiny little box. And I have a Steak & Snake gift card burning a hole in my pocket, so... Happy snappy, pappy! 8-}

nfmgirl said...


A man after my own heart. I've been known to get photos of vultures eating a dead rabbit, and the other day got video of ants feasting on a large bug behind my house. I love nature at work!

Sorry to see a snake, or any animal, die through man's negligence, recklessness or disregard though...

TROLL Y2K said...

Poor thing. Hope he wasn't still alive when the ants starting eating him.

Doug Taron said...

Cool video. If there are carrion beetles around, they are probably in the genus Nicrophorus (the ones you are most likely to think are pretty). Most other groups of carrion beetles don't bury their hosts. Some Nicrophorus species specialize on snakes.

Anonymous said...

I have visions of Bubba and his Bubba girlfriend and his Bubba dog (ring a bell?) possibly doing this on purpose!

kathy a. said...

mr. snake might not have been obvious to a driver.


Anonymous said...

I have always wanted to make a field key to identify wildlife on the road before it becomes roadkill. For example, from several hundred yards out, a snake crossing the road looks like a windblown ribbon. A gopher tortoise looks like a tumbling beer can as they make their way (quickly for a tortoise) across the lanes.

lisa said...

It is soooo cool to beable to see the snakes and gators, because we sure don't encounter to many snakes and definately no gators in upstate N.Y. and I love snakes. Except for a gardener snake.

No Guy in the Sky said...

I love all your nature pictures. Thanks :)

Miz S said...

Decomposers at work!

Wait. Are ants officially decomposers?

David Steen said...

This past Sunday in the panhandle, I found a coral snake and a corn snake that met the same fate about 100 yards apart.

Floridacracker said...

Did you mean to say "Steak and Snake" gift card?

I guess we just appreciate the whole cycle.

Me too my friend. Although the snakes dinners are alive as they slide down his throat, so ...

Would that be the smartly attired red and black ones?


Kathy A,
Quite likely.

Neat idea. I saw that gopher trot just last week.

I feel the same way (how cool!) when you folks up there write about all the geese and ducks passing through. Not much of that here!

No Guy,
You are welcome. Glad you enjoy them.

Miz S,
Like good teachers, ants are multitaskers who never stop moving.
Surely decomposing is just one more "other duties as assigned".

Welcome to Pure Florida. I hate to hear of two beauties like that crushed.

Doug Taron said...

FC- Yup, that would be them.

SophieMae said...

Just checking to see if you're paying attention. 8-}