Tuesday, April 12, 2011
Snakes and dragons
The name ball python refers to the creature's tendency to curl up in a ball when it is frightened or nervous. As you can see here, it is familiar with its handler one of the pet store staff - who loves all creatures and is at ease with all of them in the store. The name royal python refers to the legend that Cleopatra used to wear a ball python around her wrist. It seems to be a natural habit for these snakes.
The corn snake was so named by early North American settlers who would find it in their corn bins and thought it was eating corn. It is a colouring or morph of the red rat snake and eats rodents. It is definitely the farmers friend. It can grow to as much as five feet long but usually - like the ball python - only around three. They are constrictors and are often referred to as red rat snakes. The more common colouring is black and brown and though they are mostly night creatures on the ground, they do climb trees.
This handful was certainly busy and active and seemed to be watching my actions with great interest as I tried to focus the camera.
I stroked the two snakes...they were warm and soft - like fine leather. While I tried to get the corn snake to crawl on my hand she was unwilling, though she did sniff my hand for quite a while - little red tongue flicking in and out. Snakes can move like lightning when they need to and I'm always delighted when I find a couple on my property. One year I had a huge fox snake. I have no idea how long it really was but it was about three or four inches in diameter when I stepped over it thinking it was a fallen branch. By the time I'd run to get my camera, it was gone. Mostly there are tiny garter snakes. Llast year one slid into my pond after the frogs. It hid under the water hyacinth, but I doubt it stayed long. They can swim, but water is not their natural habitat and the frogs in my pond are pretty wily.
All nature is fascinating to me... aren't we lucky to have so much diversity? Wonder why humankind doesn't take better care of it? Too little too late I'm afraid, but any measures to preserve our environment with all that live and depend on it is better than none at all.
Enjoy any time you get in the great outdoors today. It's sunny here, and though not summer-like, lovely and bright - time to get into the garden and continue clean-up.