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With the 3rd edition of House of Herps right around the corner, I made it a priority to go outside to see if I could find any herp-life around my backyard pond. Thanks to one of my dogs, I found a herp – but alas, it was not alive. The really interesting discovery was that this lifeless snake was tied in a knot!
I could tell that my dog had found something – I watched her gently pick it up from the ground. I was only a few feet away, and so I was able to take her prize and reward her for finding this snake for me. I had a camera in my other hand, so I did my best to document the little fella. He could not have been dead long – he was in pretty good shape and not very stiff.
The pictures show that this young snake (probably a Plainbelly Water Snake, Nerodia erythrogaster), might have encountered a predator. Blood is visible at his mouth, neck, mid-section, and tail. I am wondering if the ever-changing weather coaxed him out from his winter shelter, only to turn cold and perhaps leave him too slow to avoid capture? If so, why didn’t the predator make off with him?
I did a quick search about snakes and knots, and from what I can tell – it is possible for snakes to tie themselves into knots. If anyone knows more about this behavior, I would love to know more. Is the knot possibly a product of a death-throw? Or perhaps even the cause of his demise? And if so, directly or indirectly? Hmmm.
In this picture, it appears that the snake may have been in the process of shedding his skin. Given the freezing-warming-raining weather we have had, I wonder if the shedding skin began while the snake was alive, or after his passing? I just don’t know the answers, so I’ll continue to wonder “aloud.”
I decided to place the snake up on the top of my fence post, so that my dog would not:
- Roll in it
- Bring it in the house
- Bury it in my bed
- Eat it
- All of the Above
I also thought that the small snake might make a timely meal for the many birds and woodland creatures who live around my house. I’ll have to check the fence post to see if he is still there…
This is one of my beagles, Roxie. She found the snake right about there, where her nose is. I guess she thought she would revisit the scene to see if there were any more snakes. So I guess I better go see if she’s left me any surprises buried in my bed!