Here’s the snake!

Did you spot it in this morning’s photo from Christopher? I’ve circled it in the “reveal” below, and Christopher send an enlargement below that. His notes:

The Rough Green Snake, Opheodrys aestivus aestivus. It is quite widespread in Missouri, absent in only the northernmost counties. According to my copy of The Amphibians and Reptiles of Missouri by Tom R. Johnson, (2nd ed., 2000, Mo. Dept. of Conservation) its length ranges from 560 to 810mm and the tail makes up as much as 38% of its length. It’s no bigger around than a pencil, really.

It is highly arboreal, diurnal, and its diet consists of caterpillars, spiders, crickets, grasshoppers, dragonflies, and damselflies. It relies on its coloration to hide it among the trees and vines, and if wind moves the branch it is on it will sway with the vegetation. It is of course completely harmless (unless you’re an insect or arachnid) and a study by M. V. Plummer in Arkansas (Herpetologica 24(3) 1990b)  found that gravid females were preyed upon by speckled kingsnakes (Lampropeltis getula holbrooki) and southern black racers (Coluber constrictor priapus) but no word in the book about other predators. I know it’s not venomous, so I don’t know if it counts, but I can’t help but look at this beauty and channel my inner Steve Irwin and say “what a rippah!”

This might be my favorite Missouri snake species, perhaps because I have so much trouble spotting them in real life but also because their coloration (dorsal color an unbroken light green, creamy yellow ventral) is so different than any other Missouri snake and seems almost tropical to my eye. Here’s a closer look:

 

This might be my favorite Missouri snake species, perhaps because I have so much trouble spotting them in real life but also because their coloration (dorsal color an unbroken light green, creamy yellow ventral) is so different than any other Missouri snake and seems almost tropical to my eye. Here’s a closer look:

13 thoughts on “Here’s the snake!

  1. I found what I think is the body and tail hanging down but I couldn’t for the life of me find the business end of it!

  2. To be fair, I had to take a couple of pictures of it because I kept losing it when I backed to to get a wider shot. But the one I got had the head almost dead center, which is why I worried it was easy.
    I’m lucky I saw the snake in the first place. I had stopped to check on the poor little native wild plum tree I’d planted, as aphids have really attacked it, otherwise I’d have walked on by and missed it.

  3. It took me a minute or so to find the revealed snake. Being colourblind the (presumably) red circle was fairly obscure against the background. Any chance of a yellow circle in the future or would someone with a different flavour of colourblindness struggle with that?

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