Saturday, February 22, 2014

Serpentes (List 1) Life List

In preparation for some more lists of favored animals, I was giving some thought to all the snakes I had seen in the wild in my life. It is my conclusion that snakes, like many things in life, are not often found when searched for. I have only ever seen some 16 snakes in the wild in spite of a great deal of effort to find more…

1. Northern Water Snake (Nerodia sipedon), Colorado

The first snake I ever saw was a brief glimpse of one crossing my path as I made my way to a mountain pond in Colorado. I was probably around eight at the time and my response was to run screaming in the other direction as fast as I could.

2. Likely a juvenile Green Rat Snake (Senticolis triaspis) San Jose, Costa Rica

Living in Costa Rica for a year, my friends and I found and kept a small snake for a few days until a well-intentioned adult informed my parents that it was a Copperhead! We had to let it go, but we all knew it was not poisonous.

3. Long-Tailed Snake (Philodryas chamissonis), IX Region, Chile

Chile is known for having no snakes. That is laughably not true. Even then, those in the know know that there are no poisonous snakes in Chile. That is also, unfortunately, not true. What may lead to some of the confusion is that the poisonous snakes in Chile are not deadly, so some may choose to call them non-poisonous. I saw one snake in my eight years in Chile and it was definitely this species, one of the poisonous ones, in a redder variation.

4. New Mexico Lined Snake (Tropidoclonion lineatum mertensi), Borger, Texas

I tore up my grandparents’ backyard in an effort to find three examples of this species. My grandmother never quite liked her yard after that, not so much for the destruction I caused, but the discovery I made.

5. Western Coachwhip (Masticophis flagellum testaceus), Hutchinson County, Texas

This one doesn’t really count as it was dead on a roadside.

6. Great Plains Rat Snake (Pantherophis emoryi), Canyon, Texas

I caught this one while collecting arachnids for a college course. My wife and I kept is for a couple years as a pet. I found yet another one while hunting rattlesnakes in Nolan County.

7. Flathead Snake (Tantilla gracilis), Medicine Mound, Texas

I found this species while doing a survey of a piece of land acquired by the state of Texas.

8. Eastern Yellow Bellied Racer (Coluber constrictor flaviventris), Medicine Mound, Texas

Found during the same survey.

9. Blotched Water Snake (Nerodia erythrogaster tranvversa), Grapevine, Texas

In Lake Grapevine.

10. Western Diamondback Rattlesnake (Crotalus atrox), Borger and Sweetwater, Texas

This is the more commonly seen rattlesnake in West Texas. Also the only poisonous snake I have ever held.

11. Texas Longnosed Snake (Rhinocheilus lecontei tessellatus), Hutchinson County, Texas

By far the coolest and most unusual snake I have ever encountered. I kept this one as a pet for a couple years as well. It was harder to keep as it was not as tame and only ate lizards.

12. Bull Snake (Pituophis catenifer sayi), Randall County, Texas

I saved a fairly large one on the highway in West Texas.

13. Ground Snake (Sonora semiannulata), Sweetwater, Nolan County, Texas

My son caught this one in our yard.

14. Plains Blind Snake (Leptotyphlops dulcis dulcis), Sweetwater, Nolan County, Texas

I think we actually found this species in our bathroom.

15. Water Snake or Grass Snake (Natrix natrix) Grundlsee, Styria, Austria

I saw this beautiful snake on the shore as we were waiting for a boat tour. I wonder how the Austrians swimming along that shore would have reacted knowing it was there.

16. Aesculapian Snake (Zamenis longissimus) Graz, Styria, Austria

We saw several of these in Graz around our home on the outskirts of town. It is one of the larger snakes in Europe.

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