Big Cypress: Snakes!

Yellow Rat Snake (Elaphe obsoleta quadrivittata) - Turner River Road, Big Cypress National Preserve, Florida

Yellow Rat Snake (Elaphe obsoleta quadrivittata) - Turner River Road, Big Cypress National Preserve, Florida

As the temperatures have warmed up over the past week, so have the reptiles.  Just last night, as I was driving back to my campsite, I saw at least 3 or 4 on the road trying to soak up the last bits of heat from the black pavement.  On Friday, I saw my first Eastern Diamondback Rattlesnake alongside a trail way out in the prairies of Big Cypress.  As I thought back on it, I was shocked to realize that, despite the amount of time I spend in the woods, I had never seen an Eastern Diamondback before then.  Unfortunately, I was purely scouting and wasn’t carrying a camera.

Yellow Rat Snake (Elaphe obsoleta quadrivittata) - Turner River Road, Big Cypress National Preserve, Florida

However a couple hours later I found this Yellow Rat Snake (Elaphe obsoleta quadrivittata) crossing the road.  At first, I thought something might have been wrong with it as its body was arrayed in a zigzag pattern with very sharp angles up and down its entire length.  It looked unnatural to have a snake, known for its smooth curving body, to be totally angular.  After prodding with a stick to see if it was alive, it quickly snapped back to its flowing shape and coiled itself facing me.  After taking the obligatory pictures, I chased it off the road as it can be a busy section of road and I have seen numerous dead snakes here in the past.

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Comments

  1. While I respect snakes and their place in the environment I can’t say I’m a big fan of them — as a matter of fact I don’t like them. However, I’m willing to admit it’s more about me then it is about them. 🙂

    Drew, I was shocked about you’re one comment. I thought a photographer always had a camera with them, even if only a small P&S. 😉

  2. Earl,

    I have a healthy respect for snakes. With all the time I have spent wading in the Everglades the few times my heart has really been beating has been with snakes and alligators. The reality is the gators have the size but aren’t exactly life threatening in a foot or two of water. The cottonmouths or rattlers on the other hand are what get you thinking about life a little bit closer…

    As far as cameras go… I have to admit it was about 1:00, light was crap, I was just out doing some scouting for future shoots and didn’t feel like carrying the camera. To be perfectly honest, I don’t even own a small P&S!!! It’s on my list but always gets overtaken by something a bit more expensive and “necessary.”

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