Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Licking His Chops/Snake Sex

Last week, Kali and I took a walk through my preserve after dinner.  As we rounded the corner in a trail, we startled a white-tailed deer buck in velvet that had been eating.  I managed to get the camera "up" just in time to catch him licking his chops; it must have been some succulent vegetation.  Although the deer in the preserve are hunted (during legal hunting season), they are fairly tame and not at all skittish, so this buck allowed us to watch him for a full half-minute before he finally spooked and ran off up the hill.

Then, last Sunday, in preparation for a walk, we connected with two friends who had bought a house along "my" creek adjacent to the preserve.  The previous owner of the house loved and protected all wildlife in her yard, including some pretty fearsome northern water snakes (Nerodia sipedon sipedon) that liked to coil up and sun themselves on the rocks lining her walkway.  I asked our friends/the new owners if the snakes were still there, and they led me to the top of the steep streambank and encouraged me to look over the edge.

There, on a flat rock at the water's edge, were two of the snakes.
Northern Water Snakes along the creek; look on the light gray rock center right bottom
Serpents close up
When we returned from our walk an hour later, the snakes had moved to another rock.  This time, we caught them in flagrante delicto:
And, there was another snake coiled up and sunning itself on the stones lining the walkway to the house!  Just like old times!


packrat said...

Fabulous shot of the buck,Scott!! You might want to make that into a poster. Love the last shot of the serpents, too, though that smaller one looks a little young to be involved with "Mrs. Robinson."

Carolyn H said...

Nice! Cool photos of the snakes.

robin andrea said...

Love seeing those snakes. Great shots.

Scott said...

Packrat: I was able to get several shots of the buck, but the one I posted is the only "action" shot (i.e., licking his chops). The other two images were better (but the deer was just standing there). In any case, all of the images have that sprig of goldenrod in the foreground, which I think diminishes the quality of the image, making it less than poster-worthy.

The female snake could have eaten the male snake whole if she had chosen to do so!

Scott said...

Carolyn and Robin Andrea: Thanks for your compliments. Northern water snakes have a reputation for being mean and ornery, so I'd never be tempted to handle the (larger) female for fear of a major bite.