I’m not a ophiologist, but I believe this is a Western Fox Snake – also commonly called a Pine Snake. This formidable looking serpent, measuring a bit longer than 4 feet, was spotted gliding across our lawn. My camera’s fast shutter speed stopped that quickly flicking tongue. My apologies to those who are creeped out by snakes.
Here’s a bit of info about this type of snake from a Wisconsin DNR publication…
Family: Colubridae Size: 36-56 in. Status: Common
The fox snake has many large reddish-brown, chocolate brown, or black mid-dorsal blotches along its back and other smaller blotches on its sides on a background color of yellow, tan or olive gray. The head of adults is usually a dark copper, rust or orange color. They live in a variety of open habitats including marshes, sedge meadows, prairies and old fields. Their diet consists primarily of rodents and ground-nesting birds. Young fox snakes will occasionally eat amphibians. This species is the most frequently encountered snake in people’s homes, especially if the house has an old rock foundation where the snake(s) may be hunting for food or hibernating in the basement. The fox snake is often mistaken for the venomous copperhead snake due to its head color, and subsequently is often killed. Copperheads do not live in or near Wisconsin. Fox snakes are also often mistaken for rattlesnakes, as they often ‘rattle” their tails in dry leaves, grasses or against objects when disturbed.
To view more of the detail, click on the image and a larger version will open in a new browser tab.
It’s hard to find anything cuter than newly hatched ducklings. These are your basic, wild, mallard variety babies. They just stepped out of the water so they’re still a bit damp.
Click on the photo and a larger version will open in a new browser tab.
A large shark glides overhead in a tank at the Sea Life Minnesota Aquarium located in the Mall of America in Minneapolis, Minnesota.
There are several aspects of this image that I like. First, the ominous feel the shark silhouette evokes. Second, I find the the blue and green colors of the water calming – conflicting with the ominous feelings. Most of all, the light, beaming through the water. Who doesn’t like sunbeams? (Of course, all of the color and light is provided by effect lighting above the tank.)
This is the second shark image I’ve posted from this shoot. View the other HERE.
To view a larger version of this photo, click on it.
This is an incredibly creative African animal display found at the Cabela’s in Kansas City. Yes, I know, it lacks an element of realism, but it was way cool.
On a recent trip there, while the rest of the family shopped, I had a good time taking photos of the many wildlife and marine displays.
To get an even better look, click on the image and a larger version will open in a new browser tab.
A bit nervous about our presence, this Addra gazelle seemed to think it had found a place to hide in the brush.
The Addra gazelle, also known as the Dama gazelle, is the largest and tallest of all gazelles. This one was photographed at the Topeka Zoo.
To view a larger version of this photo, click on it.
A little synchronized swimming demonstration by two Freshwater Gar (or Garpike) in a marine display at Cabella’s in Kansas City. OK, they weren’t actually performing, I just happened to catch two gliding by, side by side.
According to Wikipedia: Gar bodies are elongated, heavily armored with ganoid scales, and fronted by similarly elongated jaws filled with long, sharp teeth. Their tails are heterocercal, and the dorsal fins are close to the tail. As their vascularised swim bladders can function as lungs, most gars surface periodically to take a gulp of air, doing so more frequently in stagnant or warm water when the concentration of oxygen in the water is low. They also appear to surface in fast-moving rapids. As a result, they are extremely hardy and able to tolerate conditions that would kill most other fish.
This was a difficult image to capture. The scene wasn’t as bright as it looks here. In order to get this shot at f/6.7 I had to kick up the ISO to 3200 and the shutter speed down to 1/20tth of a second. Of course, handheld with no flash through. I don’t think I’ve ever shot at ISO 3200 before. (Even in low light conditions, I try to keep the ISO no higher than 800.) If you look closely, you’ll notice the image is not quite as sharp as I’d like and there’s a bit of digital noise…but not enough to discard the image.
To view a larger version of this image, click on the photo.
I call this guy, Sneaky Snake. I stumbled upon him on a walk through the woods of northwest Missouri.
On vacation I got to spend some time in the woods with my camera. As I mentioned in an earlier post, when I’m alone in the woods I like to walk slowly, stopping often to look around me, taking my time to spot anything of interest. It was at such a stop on a path that I noticed this snake in the grass. I really don’t know how I spotted it, it was so well hidden.
This was an unusual find for me because the snake wasn’t on the ground. It had coiled itself up on some of the stalks of grass, resting in its own stand, about a foot of the ground.
It sat motionless as I tried to move my camera into a position that would allow me to get a shot through the grass. After snapping a few frames, I decided to try and move some of the grass that was obstructing my view since the snake was holding steady, with only the a slightest movement of it’s head. Using a stick, I tried to part some of the grass nearest me. The moment a blade of grass moved the stake dropped to the ground and was gone. It was freaky fast. No way to follow it through the tall grass.
I have no idea what kind of snake it was. I’m guessing its overall length was about three feet.
This image is much more impressive in the large size. Click on the photo to see the bigger version.
This common red squirrel strikes an unusual pose. I think it looks like he’s “planking.”
According to Wickipedia: Planking (or the Lying Down Game) is an activity consisting of lying face down —sometimes in an unusual or incongruous location. The term planking refers to mimicking a wooden plank.
I saw this comical fellow on an early morning walk through the woods. When he saw me, he ran up a tree and hopped onto this board and reclined – remaining motionless as I slowly moved closer to take this photo.
Though humorous to us, I’m told this position is a defensive move squirrels often employ – to minimize their exposure to predators by attempting to blend in with the tree branch they’re on.
To get a better view, you can click on the photo and a larger version will open in a new browser tab.