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Posted by Pierson on October 19, 2002 at 17:02:45:
I wasn't going to go herping today but temps crawled above 65 by about 2 pm. I convinced myself to head out for a few hours and I wasn't expecting to find much. Well..I had the most success I've had in NC this fall.
I scared a big N. sipedon into a small creek. I quickly jumped in after it and just managed to snag its tail as it went into some thick debris.
She had some pretty serious wounds where I think a hawk or raccoon grabbed her. They were starting to heal but were still pretty fresh.
As you can see (which she can't), she's about to shed. This maybe a healing response to her wounds.
Interestingly, when I grabbed her by the tail she twisted very quickly and made her tail snap. She would have twisted it off had I not let go instantly and grabbed her by the body (which led to a pretty nasty bite to the forearm!). Kind of interesting to note that they may be able to autonomize their tails to some degree. This may be why so many large, wild Nerodia have stubbed tails.
I also found this huge black snake with yellow rings around it but it wasn't a Nerodia. I'll post a pic anyway though I doubt anyone cares ;)
I capped of the day with a Storeria dekayi underneath a board. All 3 species were firsts for me on my college's ecological preserve.