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.
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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.