Posts Tagged ‘Thamnophis sauritus sauritus’

Common Ribbonsnake eating a frog

March 26, 2016

The following time-series of photos, shot on 16 March 2016 during a photowalk along the Hike-Bike Trail at Huntley Meadows Park, shows a Common Ribbonsnake (Thamnophis sauritus sauritus) eating a Southern Leopard Frog (Lithobates sphenocephalus).

Although the amphibian looks similar to Pickerel Frog (Lithobates palustris), I tentatively identified the species as Southern Leopard Frog based upon one of two field marks that were visible: distinct dorsolateral folds that extend the full length of the body (shown); a distinct white spot in the center of the tympanum (not shown). Sincere thanks to Alonso Abugattas — Natural Resources Manager, Arlington County Parks, Virginia — for verifying my identification.

A Common Ribbonsnake (Thamnophis sauritus sauritus) spotted at Huntley Meadows Park, Fairfax County, Virginia USA. This individual is eating a Southern Leopard Frog (Lithobates sphenocephalus).

As shown in the first photo, the snake had a fatal grip on the frog by the time I spotted the pair.

A Common Ribbonsnake (Thamnophis sauritus sauritus) spotted at Huntley Meadows Park, Fairfax County, Virginia USA. This individual is eating a Southern Leopard Frog (Lithobates sphenocephalus).

Notice the small green bubble, located on the frog’s dorsal posterior, that is visible in the second and third photos. I consulted the experts of the Virginia Herpetological Society for help in identifying the bubble.

The general consensus is the cloaca (a bag through which reproductive- and waste products leave the body) is inverted and protruded through the anus due to the internal pressure the snake is putting on the body cavity. If the frog were a female in reproductive condition, it could also be either eggs (unlikely due to color) or jelly being forced out, again due to pressure. Source Credit: John, Virginia Herpetological Society.

Just as I thought — the snake was actually squeezing the guts out of the frog!

A Common Ribbonsnake (Thamnophis sauritus sauritus) spotted at Huntley Meadows Park, Fairfax County, Virginia USA. This individual is eating a Southern Leopard Frog (Lithobates sphenocephalus).

A Common Ribbonsnake (Thamnophis sauritus sauritus) spotted at Huntley Meadows Park, Fairfax County, Virginia USA. This individual is eating a Southern Leopard Frog (Lithobates sphenocephalus).

A Common Ribbonsnake (Thamnophis sauritus sauritus) spotted at Huntley Meadows Park, Fairfax County, Virginia USA. This individual is eating a Southern Leopard Frog (Lithobates sphenocephalus).

A Common Ribbonsnake (Thamnophis sauritus sauritus) spotted at Huntley Meadows Park, Fairfax County, Virginia USA. This individual is eating a Southern Leopard Frog (Lithobates sphenocephalus).

Copyright © 2016 Walter Sanford. All rights reserved.

Common Ribbonsnake

May 28, 2014

Common Ribbonsnake (Thamnophis sauritus sauritus)

The preceding photograph shows a Common Ribbonsnake (Thamnophis sauritus sauritus), spotted on 09 April 2014 during a photowalk through Huntley Meadows Park. This individual was resting in a wooded area near the observation tower.

Copyright © 2014 Walter Sanford. All rights reserved.

Common Ribbonsnakes (mating pair)

April 16, 2014

Common Ribbonsnakes (mating pair)

The preceding photograph shows a mating pair of a Common Ribbonsnakes (Thamnophis sauritus sauritus), spotted on 02 April 2014 along the boardwalk that goes through the central wetland area at Huntley Meadows Park. The larger snake is the female; the smaller one is the male.

The happy couple is resting on a bed of dried cattail leaves (Typha sp.) and Swamp Rose stems (Rosa palustris). Notice the round insect gall on a Swamp Rose stem (located to the left of the male’s head, relative to the photo). The gall was probably made by a species of Cynipid wasp.

Copyright © 2014 Walter Sanford. All rights reserved.

Common Ribbonsnake (eating a frog)

September 23, 2013

Common Ribbonsnake eating a frog

The preceding photograph shows a Common Ribbonsnake (Thamnophis sauritus sauritus) eating a Green Frog (Lithobates clamitans), spotted along the boardwalk that goes through the central wetland area at Huntley Meadows Park.

Copyright © 2013 Walter Sanford. All rights reserved.

Common Ribbonsnake

August 28, 2012

A Common Ribbonsnake (Thamnophis sauritus sauritus) spotted on a bush beyond the observation tower in the central wetland area at Huntley Meadows Park. Photo 1 is entitled, “Open your mouth wide and say, ‘Ahhh!'” I’m not sure whether the snake was yawning or trying to intimidate me.

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Copyright © 2012 Walter Sanford. All rights reserved. www.wsanford.com


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