HALIFAX RIVER AUDUBON
A Florida Chapter of the National Audubon Society
Serving greater Daytona Beach area
Founded 1923

 

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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.

 

The 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.

The 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.

Facts above 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

Share the beach w/nesting birds; tips from Nat'l Aud. How to remove fishing line from a hooked bird
For deeply embedded or swallowed hooks, or injuries to wings and legs call:
Marine Science Center(386) 304-5530, After Hours 386-561-0624

Tips for Better Wildlife Photography

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