Just because, part 20

red-bellied water snake Nerodia erythrogaster basking before molting
I have a handful of pics from a recent outing to post, and while this one came from the same outing, it is notably different from the others and kinda “out of theme,” but I liked it too much to let it go. This is a red-bellied water snake (Nerodia erythrogaster,) a good-sized specimen, basking in the morning sunlight at Mason Farm Biological Reserve. Now that the nights are getting pretty chilly but it’s not yet hibernation time, this is a more common sight, as mostly nocturnal snakes bring their body temperatures back up to assist in their digestion. This particular one was very close to molting, as indicated by those cloudy eyes – in a day or so, it would shed its skin and become much more brightly-colored for a while. While their vision is hampered by this state, snakes tend to be much more defensive, and with water snakes this is a typical temperament anyway, so handling was out of the question – escaping without getting bitten would have been next to impossible. This species is harmless, by the way, and a bite would have drawn little droplets of blood and nothing further, but there really wasn’t a point to picking it up.

More will be along shortly, but I didn’t want to deprive you of the lovely textures brought out by the low sun angle any longer than I had to. You can thank me later on.