Friday, May 9, 2014

Dekay's Brownsnake

I love accidentally coming upon an animal or plant that I've never seen before.  Yesterday, I discovered this tiny Dekay's brownsnake (Storeria dekayi) on a dusty hiking trail between a beaver pond and a swampy area while taking a group of first graders to pond for invertebrates.  This snake is known for being diurnal during the spring and fall and nocturnal during the hotter summer months. Despite being pretty common, their night-time behavior keeps them from being seen often. They don't mind built-up areas and hide under boards, logs and leaf litter near water.

Such a small snake (8-14") primarily eats small prey, of course, like worms, slugs and soft insects.

March through May is mating time for brownsnakes.  Three-inch babies will be born in late summer.  Dekay's will often hibernate with members of their own species as well as garter and red-bellied snakes. Brownsnakes have keeled or ridged scales.

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