December 1, 2014: Birding field trips with HRA don't
revolve around birds exclusively. This Rough Greensnake
(Opheodrys aestivus) a
harmless snake found throughout Florida, was sunning him/herself
across the trail and resembling a piece of broken palm frond as
our group walked in the Lake Apopka North Shore Restoration Area
late in November. The snake remained completely still as
we observed it. Chuck Tague took the photo. This
snake was about 2 to 2.5 feet long and very slender. The
tongue was red; the lips, chin and belly are yellowish.
The scales have obvious ridges (keels); hence the name "rough" greensnake as opposed to other snakes whose scales are smooth.
The Rough Greensnake is most commonly found in areas with
abundant trees and shrubs, such as forest edges near ponds,
streams, canals, fields and roads. This snake eats
caterpillars and other insects, spiders and small treefrogs.
Rough Greensnakes lays eggs.
Yellow Ratsnake, also known as Eastern or Everglades Ratsnake,
is a harmless snake found all over the peninsula of Florida.
This snake was photographed by Bob North on a chapter field trip
to Orlando Wetlands Park. Young Eastern Ratsnakes sport
obvious blotches which fade into stripes by adulthood. The
adult snake is thick bodied with yellow skin with four dark
stripes. Normal habitat includes pine and hardwood
forests, scrubs, edges of swamps and marshes, agricultural
fields, citrus groves and barns and abandoned buildings.
This snake is an excellent climber and may have been looking for
bird eggs in the nest holes in the palm trunk. They also
eat snails, insects, frogs, bats, mice, squirrels and even
rabbits. This species lays eggs.
Orlando Wetlands trip was a 2-snake day. Bob was
also able to capture a shot of an Eastern Ribbonsnake, another
harmless species found throughout all counties in Florida.
This 1.5 to 2.0 foot slender snake is dark olive-brown or black
with three yellow-tan stripes. The chin, throat and belly
are pale yellow. There is a distinct whitish spot in front
of each eye, which is not visible in this photo. This
snake has lengthwise ridges, making it a rough-skinned species.
Eastern Ribbonsnakes are found in a wide variety of forested and
open habitats, including agricultural fields and urban parks.
It is often found near the edge of creeks, lakes, ponds and
marshes. This species gives birth to live young and does
not lay eggs.
were gathered from Identification Guide to the Snakes of
Florida by Steve A. Johnson and Monica E. McGarrity which is
published by the University of Florida IFAS Extension