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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It happened so fast, I didn’t see this at the time I took the photo. This female, ruby-throated hummingbird was sticking her tongue out at me at the precise moment of the shutter snap.
It’s too bad you can’t see it clearly because the tongue was moving so fast and was out of the range of focus.
Here are some fascinating facts about the hummingbird tongue from www.worldofhummingbirds.com …
The tongue on a hummingbird is very long. It is grooved like the shape of a “W”. On the tip of the tongue are brushy hairs that help lap up nectar from a flower. A hummingbird can lap up nectar at a rate of about thirteen (13) licks per second. Hummingbirds have only a few taste buds on the tongue. Hummingbirds can taste just enough to know what is good and what is bad. They can also taste what is too sweet, not sweet enough, or just right.
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