Saturday, November 19, 2016

The Florida Rough Greensnake ... Sara N. Dippity makes a home delivery. Thanks Babe!

Green has been my favorite color all my life ... except for a brief affair with bright orange in second grade... something about the orange Crayola crayon teased me away from green for a few months in Mrs. Ackerman's class.

It was only a fling and I soon came to my senses.

Life is good if green is your favorite color.
It's everywhere ... at least in my habitat, a subtropical peninsula with 55 inches of rain a year.

So green is a constant here, and yet, sometimes a special bit of green serendipitously slithers into your life.

About a week ago, I started up the boy's (now a 3L law student) high school Hyundai just to let it run and keep the battery charged.
(Anyone need a basic car?)

Anyhoo ... After the car ran for about 20 minutes, I decided to run it down the road and back for a little auto-exercise.

Here's where Sara N. Dippity decided to ride along.

Immediately, as I pulled out of our long sandy driveway and on to the paved road, I noticed a thin sliver of ... something.
It was almost a straight line and smack dab in the road center.

At first, I thought it was a twig, but it had a couple of rounded curves ... just barely there, but twigs don't have ripples.

I parked quickly and got out to move it off the road, fully expecting it to be a baby rat snake.

But it was this guy!

Holy Smokes!
The last time I saw a green snake was the late 80's and I was the resident NPS Ranger at Fort Matanzas National Monument.
The encounter back then was one I will never forget.

I was walking towards the visitor center breezeway from the parking lot and something substantial fell from the cedar tree above me and bounced off my Park Service Stetson.
It was a green snake.

But back to the future ...

I grabbed the little green guy off the road and immediately cancelled the car exercise.

This was a photo opportunity, blog fodder, and a road rescue wrapped in my favorite color.

So, with the long slender snake in my right hand, I got back in the car and did a U-turn.

The snake was being completely cooperative ... I thought.
Apparently I mistook it's docile non-bitey attitude for compliance.

As soon as I put my right, snake holding hand on the steering wheel, the green snake thrust the very slender, delicate tip of his tail into a thin space on the backside of the steering wheel and began backing into it.
No dang it!
I tried to pull him out, but he had already slipped in enough tail to get a purchase on something in there.

He was anchored.

I needed to make a 90 degree left turn off the paved road and into my driveway, but that was pretty much impossible with the snake stuck in the wheel.
It might hurt the snakey bits in the wheel and I would certainly loose control of him, which would allow more of him to back into the steering column.

Lucky for me, I live on a VERY quiet country road.

(The extra large eye, and keeled scales say this is the Florida Rough Greensnake  Opheodrys aestivus carinatus)

I stopped in the middle of the road and gingerly tugged and wiggled the posterior parts of the snake out of the steering column. 
He was pretty delicate and thin at his back end and I did not want to harm him.

Eventually, I extricated him and pulled down my drive.

And then the fun began.
I wasn't about to let this gem go until I had my fill of photos.
He was completely cooperative, never attempting to bite even as I manipulated him for photos.

My paws are in these photos mainly for a size reference.

In the photo above you can see the very slender tail tip that this emerald beauty poked down into the Hyundai steering column.
... undamaged I might add. 

He's pretty obvious out of his environment, but take a look below.
I let him go here at PFHQ where snakes are safe and welcome.

I chose this picture to show how arboreal and almost invisible green snakes are and why sightings are fairly rare.

The photos I did not choose for this last scene were good sharp photos, but he was so invisible ... seeing the snake became a challenge.

I think about the serendipity of this encounter and it makes me smile.

Had I not decided to take the little Hyundai out for a brief road run at the moment, (I had not done that in months)... that green beauty decided to bask in the center of the road ... this encounter would not have happened ... or worse, I would have later found a smashed, road-killed green snake in the road.

I DO love it when Sara rides along.


paullamb said...

The two times I've seen green snakes have been in cedar trees, which are a shade or two darker than the snake. They are elegant little critters.

threecollie said...

Snakes and green all in one package! How delightful! Despite being a snake fan and outdoors all my life I have only ever seen one green snake, I would imagine a Smooth Green Snake. It was slithering across a dirt road upon which I was walking with a covey of great aunts. I was really a little kid and downright thrilled. Their reactions did not match mine. Thanks for sharing your serpentine bounty....pun intended.

Lisa Greenbow said...

What great photos of your Sara visit. I have only seen these snakes twice around here. One time one was dangling at the end of a tree limb about to go to the ground. Another was traveling someplace through the garden. I think our Northern snakes are a little thicker. By no means a thick snake but thicker than this one pictured.

Island Rider said...

I might be persuaded to like a snake that color!

Kim S. said...

Beautiful! First view for me. And paullamb has it right on -- elegant. So glad I grew up with an appreciation of snakes. Can thank my mom and dad for that. And thank you and Sara for that day. Kim in PA

Miz S said...

That is one gorgeous,graceful little snake. I'm glad to know he landed at your headquarters.

Julie Zickefoose said...

And I love it when Ms. Dippity kicks your skinny butt into blogging. That snake is a killer. Absolutely exquisite, a living jewel. Loved the part about it working its bony little tail into the steering column. Animals have a way of asserting their rights in the most unexpected ways. Greenie couldn't have fallen into kinder, gentler paws.

My one rough green in 23 years of hoping: pieces in our recently mowed hayfield. Sob. Hoping one will one day hit me on the head, too.

Thank you for the hit of Pure Florida Adrenaline.


Marilyn Kircus said...

Great return of Sara.

robin andrea said...

What a beauty that little green snake is. I hope you two cross paths again.

Stefanie said...

I am SO envious! This is a snake I have longed to see all my nearly 60 years! Never have seen a whole or even part of one. So kudos to you and Sara.

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