Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Mystery Snake: I Should Know This.

 This spectacularly beautiful little snake turned up under one of those black goldfish pond shells that sits, upside down in my garden area.

A few weeks ago, I flipped it over as I looked for a small skink to feed Zack the injured kingsnake. I never did find a skink, (and to be honest, I wasn't excited about feeding a a cute little skink to Zack).

I actually had Zack in my left hand when I flipped over the pond shell and spotted the mystery snake.
Zack was pretty calm, so I made a grab with my right hand while holding Zack and the pond shell in my left.
 The mystery snake was a beauty and a ... well, a mystery. He was obviously a juvenile mystery snake, which complicated things since baby snakes often have much more dramatic markings and colors than the adult forms.

He had a long slender tail like a coachwhip, but was younger (smaller) than any coachwhip I had ever caught.
Young coachwhips that have graced my hands were less brown and more greyish.

He did hold his head up once like racers do, but again, he was patterned differently and was much younger than any racer I had encountered.
 My online searches were not "smoking gun" successes, so I am tossing him out into the serpentine connections of the internet for you to ponder.
As docile and pretty as he was, I had enough snakes to care for at the time, so I let him go in the cozy darkness beneath the boat stuff shed.

Like any good mystery, he stayed on my mind for some time afterwards ... and now ... he's on yours.

17 comments:

Sandcastle Momma said...

I'm certainly not able to help with the ID on this one - I'm usually headed the other way when a snake is spotted. But I have to say you present them in a tolerable - almost cute manner lol
His markings are beautiful.

Sayre said...

I can't help either - but it sure is beautiful!

tai haku said...

That be Nerodia sp. I think - one of the watersnakes. Not sure which ones you have up there?

Suzanne said...

I don't know what kind, but it's a beauty of a snake, PF.

threecollie said...

Not a snake expert, but I am jealous. What a little beauty!

Thunder Dave said...

I'm with Tai, it looks like a water snake to me. If it were an adult you'd know for sure because you'd have been musked by now! ;-)

Buford Nature said...

It is the Florida banded water snake - Nerodia fasciata pictiventri. It was the second-commonest above-ground snake in Peninsular FL in my youth. I rarely see them anymore, and think they are among the most beautiful of our snakes. Only the blacksnake - Coluber constrictor priapus - was more common back then.

Buford Nature said...

Oops! That's pictiventris with an 's' on the end. See photos at FLMNH website:
http://www.flmnh.ufl.edu/herpetology/fl-guide/Nerodiafpictiventris.htm

robin andrea said...

It's a good thing you have friends who know snakes. I can't help here at all. You do find the most beautiful snakes.

Anonymous said...

Uninformed as I am, any time I hear "water snake" I immediately think water moccasin. That's just the first thing that pops in my mind. Altho we have them here in Missouri, I've never run across one, thankfully. I've been in areas where they are found as I do, on occasion, hunt for native american tools, on private land and with landowner's permission, in areas where you have to be on the lookout for various poisonous snakes, including mocassins. And generally speaking, I'm scared to death of snakes.
Momadness

Robbie said...

agree.. is a baby banded water snake. :-)

Floridacracker said...

Thank you all for taking time to comment on this beauty of a snake.


Special ID thanks to Tai,Buford,Dave, and Robbie. You know, I actually considered the water snakes, but since this snake was so sweetly docile, never once striking AND since I always think of water snakes as "not to be handled carelessly" snakes, I ruled it out and never looked it up even when I was on the UF snake ID site.
Plus, the pond has been dried out for half the year and I wasn't expecting to run into a watersnake in the garden.

Love the feedback!

Loret said...

"My" Florida Banded Water Snake which I named "Truly Nolan" lived under my entry stairs for quite some time tending to those pesky palmetto bugs and some mice (and who knows what else under the house). While (s)he had access to the pond, it was a considerable distance away so they don't need to be in water consistently. I was disappointed when it headed out to other areas. Stayed close to the house for about 2 weeks and didn't seemed bothered a bit as I routinely did photo shoots at night. That is one pretty snake you found!

Dani said...

That last picute is BEAUTIFUL!

Dani said...

Gah! *picture*

Julie Zickefoose said...

Gotta love your knowledgeable friends. He is a beauty for sure!

Dj said...

I just run across 2 of those little snakes around my koy pond first thing I thought was a water moccasin but I noticed the eyes were round so it must not be poisonus