Posts Tagged ‘Northern Watersnake’

Northern Watersnake

June 13, 2017

A Northern Watersnake (Nerodia sipedon sipedon) was spotted during a photowalk along Pope’s Head Creek at Hemlock Overlook Regional Park, Fairfax County, Virginia USA.

03 MAY 2017 | Fairfax County, VA | Northern Watersnake

Look closely at the full-size version of the following photo. Did you notice the fresh blood on the underside of its body? Also notice the scar on the dorsal side of the snake’s body. The former is probably blood from prey; the latter is probably the result of an attack by another predator.

03 MAY 2017 | Fairfax County, VA | Northern Watersnake

Copyright © 2017 Walter Sanford. All rights reserved.


Snake in the grass

May 4, 2017

Continuing the “Reptiles of Riverbend Park” theme, here’s a photo of a Northern Watersnake (Nerodia sipedon sipedon) spotted near the same location as the Broad-headed Skink featured in my last blog post.

Gee, can you tell it was a slow day for odonates at Riverbend Park?

Copyright © 2017 Walter Sanford. All rights reserved.

Phishing snakes

May 15, 2015

The following photos show one or more Northern Watersnakes (Nerodia sipedon sipedon) spotted during photowalks along the boardwalk in the hemi-marsh at Huntley Meadows Park in mid-September 2014.

What do you see when you look at the following photos? I think most people would say they see a snake lying on a log, sunning itself. Now look more closely at the full-size versions of each photo — there’s more than meets the eye!

Several fish are visible in the water. Notice most of the fish are located under the log. Like all animals, fish need food and shelter in order to survive. Many species of fish prefer to find a holding place that provides shelter, such as the log, and look for food as it passes their safe spot.

Northern Watersnake (Nerodia sipedon sipedon)

15 September 2014

Over a period lasting several days, I observed one or more snakes hunting fish at the same location. The snake would lie perfectly still on top of the log; as soon as the fish were lulled into a false sense of security, the snake would slip into the water suddenly and snag an unsuspecting fish. The same thing happened again and again, so I’m guessing the snake(s) figured out a good strategy for finding food easily.

Northern Watersnake (Nerodia sipedon sipedon)

15 September 2014

A few days later, there were noticeably fewer fish hiding below the log. Can you say “overfishing?”

Northern Watersnake (Nerodia sipedon sipedon)

19 September 2014

Copyright © 2015 Walter Sanford. All rights reserved.

Northern Watersnake (eating a frog)

September 21, 2013

The following photographs show a Northern Watersnake (Nerodia sipedon sipedon) eating an American Bullfrog (Lithobates catesbeianus), spotted along the boardwalk that goes through the central wetland area at Huntley Meadows Park.

Northern Watersnake eating a frog Northern Watersnake eating a frog

The following slideshow features a time-series of five photos showing the predator slowly swallowing its prey. Frogs make an unmistakable distress call when they are in the jaws of a snake — once you’ve heard it you’ll never forget it!

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Human interest sidebar:Peristalsis is an amazing thing,” commented one of the people watching the snake-eats-frog spectacle. I turned to the woman and said, “You must be some sort of professional biologist, because the word ‘peristalsis’ isn’t in the vocabulary of most people.” Turns out she is currently working as a veterinarian; her former job was at the Smithsonian’s National Zoo. Fascinating woman with a beautiful baby — hope to see her at the park again!

Copyright © 2013 Walter Sanford. All rights reserved.

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