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Sunday, October 16, 2005

 

Exotic Backyard Visitor


Exotic Backyard Visitor Posted by Picasa

Besides being wonderful next-door neighbors, the Lim family has a talent for finding snakes - right around our houses! Last fall it was Black Rat Snakes, including several 18-inch-long juveniles and one good-sized adult. A few weeks ago, it was a juvenile Northern Water Snake, a fiesty but non-poisonous fellow often mistaken for a copperhead.

But today, the Lims outdid themselves. Nancy and some of the kids came by our deck with a beautiful, irridescent green snake. Now, I like snakes, but about all I know is what I've learned from watching Crocodile Hunter. But this one, I just happened to know about.

When our kids were very young, we stumbled across two of these beauties one Saturday afternoon at the entrance to our development. It took me a few visits to local libraries in those pre-internet days (about 1993,) but I finally found a book on snakes that identified them.

It's fancy-schmantzy name is Opheodrys aestivus aestivus, otherwise known as Rough Green Snake. It doesn't feel rough at all, but it gets that name from its keeled scales, which distinguish it from a different species, the Smooth Green Snake. In any event, it's a goregous creature.

My kids and I looked for more of those green snakes every weekend for months, then looked again every year, but we never saw another one until today's discovery by the Lim family.

This one was about 24" long, with a slender body about as thick as my little finger. As advertised, this one was exceeding well-tempered, dispite the fact that we handled it quite a bit. They are supposed to be arboreal, and from the way it navigated along the fallen brach the kids put it on, I believe it.

It just looks so exotic, I still marvel that it lives in our very un-exotic suburban housing development. I'd say that it would look more in place on one of Steve Irwin's treks to Sumatra. But I'm glad it came to visit in our backyard - it made my day.

Comments:
Made my day too! What a great story (like how did we find things pre-Internet ;-) and a beautiful photo.

The little sticking-out-tongue is cool too -- did you do something to him to make him do that? (nevermind, just being silly :-)
 
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