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.
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.