Saturday, August 18, 2012

Warm Michigan Welcome

My return to the Wolverine state has been challenging in terms of field time. The limited time I've spent in the field so far has been extremely slow, as Michigan is experiencing one of it's driest summers in history. This has put a real damper on snake movement, thus far massasaugas have been completely absent from sites that they are reliably found at this time of year. After two days of consistent rain, I decided to head out to the coast to look for some snakes that may be moving in the late afternoon. My suspicions were confirmed when I bumped into this beautiful snake on the move along a levee in a coastal marsh.

Eastern fox snakes are arguably the most attractive snake species which inhabit Michigan, and this adult was a testament to that. It had recently shed and was sporting its sharp new colors. This was a nice change from trudging through waist high bluestem and goldenrod while striking out hard on massasaugas all week, this snake was right out in the open and a nice welcome home gift.

Eastern Fox Snake - Pantherophis gloydi

Fox snakes are members of the Rat snake family and primarily feeds on rodents, amphibians, birds, and bird eggs in these coastal wetlands. Michigan has lost more than two-thirds of its former coastal wetlands, drastically reducing suitable habitat for this species. Remaining fox snake populations are isolated in southeast Michigan where suitable coastal marsh habitat is intact, although they can also be found along rivers further inland at a few locations. An upcoming all day massasauga excursion and paddling some rivers will be highlighted in future posts, stay tuned.

1 comment:

  1. I like your post. In other words, there are several types of snakes exist in plant. And all are reptiles. So all snakes have several ways of moving about. The most common way is to throw their body into loops and move forward by pressing against anything solid.

    Interesting Snake Facts