Differences in pattern or color from the background are often the best way to spot creatures in the wild. This snake caught my eye due to both of those factors, plus he was moving!
I’m not a big snake fan, but I was fascinated by the shapes this one took as he moved down the tree trunk and that he could hang onto the tree. He was intertwined when I first saw him. I thought he was eating something but it turns out his head was directly over his tail.
Slowly he worked his way towards the ground, straightening out, his body taking an indirect route.
Then he made a few 90 degree turns. I got distracted by the Reddish Egret in the water beyond this tree line and when I looked back he was gone. I promptly went the other way.
One of the photographers I was traveling with identified this as a Brown Snake, and harmless to humans. I’ll take her word for it. He was brown so I’m not looking it up — too many pictures when you Google snake.
Merritt Island National Wildlife Refuge, Florida, 1/28/2018
These were taken January 9th, at the end of a week when we had extreme cold for South Carolina and six inches of snow. Alligators slow their metabolic activity when it gets cold and all they need is to breathe.
The Little Blue Heron waded the entire length of the Alligator, poking in the water as he went, perhaps not even recognizing the gator was there.
A young Alligator has taken to draping himself on a rock quite near the shore of the pond in the rookery. Many local photographers have captured beautiful images with reflections, eye closeups and detail of his stripes over the last several weeks.
I couldn’t resist adding to his fame when the opportunity with these reflections presented itself.
I’m pretty sure the rock has been right there but this is the first time I’ve seen anything but a turtle on it. Some branches hanging over it have shifted, perhaps making it a more appealing perch. Plus, there is no worry about sharing.
Here is another view from a few feet away through the downed branches.
The movement was subtle, especially for a 15 foot Alligator. I’m guessing on the length–I could just say very long. This fellow was swimming quietly, but covering some distance.
He had places to go and wasn’t wasting any time getting there, swimming in a straight line from where I first spotted the movement towards an island where the Alligators often lounge at the edge of the water. And watch for wading birds to land or chicks to fall.
With the length of his back out of the water and a tree for reference you can see just how big
I didn’t see the second one until I was looking at the photos later. Tucked under the branches on the left, he didn’t move as the older and much larger beast went by.
The turtles are the most likely to be seen sharing space with other creatures around the swamp and ponds. They crave the sun just like the alligators on this reptile ramp and don’t show any fear in the presence of an alligator that could easily eat them.
Wading birds like this Great Egret like a sunny spot, too, and easily find a spot in between the turtles on a nearby ramp.
I don’t know what this “foot in the air” display from the turtle just to the right of the egret is all about, but a little further along in another small pond I saw it again, with both hind feet straight out.
There aren’t many wading birds around my favorite swamp right now but I still like to walk around it at least once a week and I always see something. Sunday it was reptiles. We have had some cold weather but Sunday was in the low 70s (about 21 degrees C) and turtles, lizards and alligators were out soaking up the sun.
Turtles were crawling out of the water. They often just move onto the bank of the swamp making it easy to retreat. This one was more ambitious and got a completely dry spot.
The Brown Anole did a nice job selecting his wooden perch for camouflage and full sun. When I passed he disappeared down a crack in the middle of this dead stump.
The Alligators care little about being seen. Usually they can sink and swim many feet away in seconds if they feel the need to escape. The dead tree limbs this one was in between might have slowed him down if a real predator was after him. He was content with this spot; he hadn’t moved when I returned by him twenty minutes later.