There's a 2 foot long Cobra loose in Ocala on this frosty March morning. It's a shame it isn't a really big one... much easier to find. A two foot snake of any kind is a stealthy needle in a haystack.
Today is very (Florida Scale) cold and tonight promises to be a hard freeze, so that Cobra is probably wishing he was back under the heat lamp in his obviously not secure cage.
In the meantime, while we ponder the wisdom of keeping venomous snakes in suburbia, ... let's take a look at some sweet, native, and mostly small reptiles that hang out here at PFHQ.
This beautiful Southern Ringneck Snake, Diadophis punctatus punctatus, popped up in a handful of grass while I was weeding the blueberry patch recently.
These little gems mostly go sight unseen.
If you want to see one, you might do the following.
Try laying an old carpet or a piece of plywood on the ground and leaving it for a while.
Later, peek under it every once in a while, you might just get to see a Ringneck.
Remember, every dark snake is not a Moccasin... (or a Cobra) You don't have to break out the sharp shovel or hoe just because it's a dark snake.
This is our native Carolina Anole, (Anolis Carolinensis).
He is hanging out on my pollinator house tower in the garden.
I did add a little lizard house to the top of it, so I'm glad to see him, even if an occasional native bee winds up as lizard chow.
In contrast, here's a non-native Brown Anole, (Anolis sagrei).
He's lurking in my daughter Katy's bee house down near Tampa.
When these first appeared in Florida, we were pretty concerned they would wipe out our native Greens, but it is turning into a pretty good example of "resource partitioning".
The Greens are more arboreal and hunt mostly off the ground, while the Browns feed closer to the ground. So, they may both be eating insects, but they are doing it in different locations.
Which is a good thing, because the Browns are here to stay.
Speaking of "here to stay" ...
I thought I might keep Kim the Grey Ratsnake, (Pantherophis spiloides )in my classroom as a long term ambassador from the snake world, but I changed my mind.
She did her good work as a friendly snake for a few months, but she was a wild snake after all. When I loaded her into the JEEP for Spring Break on that last Friday of school, I already knew she would not be coming back.
The video below is me saying goodbye to Kim snake here at PFHQ.
(Yes, I know snakes are deaf)
EVERYONE who owns a snake talks to it.