Herpetology Day at the Gardens!

Which means if you don’t like snakes, quit reading now! I’ll even post a couple veggie images at the top, so you won’t have to see the slithery-dees unless you scroll down.

I’ve mentioned, I think, the big red-striped western garter snake that has taken up residence in the north central garden.  She was there again today, and I had the camera.  Unfortunately, she has gotten big enough to eat yearling toads (at least that big).  Fortunately, there are a LOT of toads in my garden, so she’s still welcome.

I was uncovering the cabbages to see how many I’ll have for the market tomorrow–I think about ten or twelve:

Cabbage row NC garden 2009Here’s a close-up of one of these pointy-headed beauties:

cabbage NC garden 2009So, I was uncovering the row of cabbages, and there she was.  She slid off under the potatoes and then over by the rocker-feeder, but I still managed to get a few shots:

western garter snake 1She’s about two feet long–maybe a little more.

western garter snake 2And her coloration is just gorgeous:

western garter snake 3Another resident–one that is a little more common in these parts (at least, the one I usually spot), is the eastern garter snake–the one I remember from my childhood.  Maybe I should say I remember my mother’s pogrom against them.

She’d wail like a siren when she saw one, grab the first implement she could find, kill it, and hang it up on a fence (without touching it, of course) so it wouldn’t come back to life.  Don’t tell her there are snakes in my garden (that I welcome and encourage them, even), or she won’t ever come back.

Here’s the second friend we spotted, looped about a bunch of t-posts in the sunshine:

eastern garter snake 1And from the backside:

eastern garter snake 3Not as flashy as the western garter, but about the same size, as near as we could tell with him looped around the posts (and yes, my gender designation is totally random–I don’t know how to sex a snake, in case you’re wondering).

And the herpetology day wouldn’t have been complete without an image of what is likely the main diet of these two big garters:

toad in a puddleBe careful, little fellow! It’s a snake-eat-toad world out there!

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