Friday, May 11, 2007

adult content

Warning! Adult Content! Of the geeky bio kind.
The past week has been extremely busy with lots of long days of field work. But occasionally you are rewarded by sights you have never seen.
Like snake sex. I've never seen snakes having sex. I've seen turtles 'occupied' twice which was pretty exciting, because you don't see turtles that often anymore, let alone two turtle in the act of making more turtles. But I've never seen snakes engage in the act of procreation. These are the Common Northern Watersnake (Nerodia sipedon sipedon). The larger snake is the female and the smaller one is the male. These were in shrubs in between a pond and a stream. The property owner proudly exclaimed that on a good day you can count 25 at one time. Huh.


See the three entwined tails in the middle of the picture? You might have to click on the photo to enlarge. These three were in a shrub overhanging the water all day. Seriously. All day....from at least 9 in the morning to 3 in the afternoon. This is serious business apparently. We were doing aquatic insect surveys in the stream right next to this bush in the morning. While I was writing down some data, I noticed the bush shaking. When I looked closer, I saw the snakes and laughed. How funny. What is that saying? When the tartarian honeysuckles a' rockin........ We tried not to bother them too much.

Here they are again all wrapped up together.
This was the pool area of the stream right where the three snakes were. As you can see, they have plenty to eat. The interesting thing was that all of this was going on less than 100 feet from a major road that sees 90,000 cars a day. And finally a shot of Moby Dick, the last remaining carp in the big pond. He must be a lonely guy. Just him and a bunch of snakes.

11 Comments:

Blogger Blackswamp_Girl said...

That is way cool... when I grow up, I want to be a biologist and have a job like yours! What great pictures, too.

So snakes are not exactly monogamous, I'm guessing? :D

10:49 AM  
Blogger El said...

I love snakes. Always have.

Last year we had a blue racer living in my leaf mold maker thingy (basically a 5' diameter of concrete web reinforcing where I dumped leaves) next to the compost. I guess I knew something was up when I saw the shedded skin. Hoo boy did it scare the bejezus out of me when I finally met it. 5' long, fast as lightning. I moved the leaf mold maker (some kind of gardening feng shui) so maybe I won't see it again. A pity.

Don't you have a fascinating job, though. So are you immune to poison ivy and mosquito bites?

11:10 AM  
Blogger meresy_g said...

I am not immune to poison ivy or mosquitoes. Not ticks either. Last Thursday I took ten off of my person. We put them in sample bags to admire them at work. I am not a big snake fan. I think they are interesting and enjoy watching them but I don't like being suprised by them. I'll hold them too if somebody hands it to me, but won't attempt to catch anything other than a garter snake on my own. And I'm not one of those flipper herp lovers that flips over every rock or log looking for snakes. I'd rather not know how many snakes there are around me out in the field.

1:20 PM  
Blogger cyndy said...

Awesome field notes!
Amazing that they were so close to all that traffic....

...25 you say! wow...(I think I'd rather not know too!)

7:15 PM  
Anonymous The County Clerk said...

Snake sex huh?

That's good. I'm in favor of lovin' even though it looks live everyone and everything is getting a little loving but me. :)

Even snakes!

12:06 PM  
Blogger Petunia's Gardener said...

Wow! Thanks for sharing! I'm sort of glad it's just a photo for me to look at though. I would have been quite jumpy after seeing that. Snake make me jumpy, but it's the ticks I cannot stand. Hope they never adapt to our climate. Still no sign of Petunia in my garden. She may not like how we keep it trimmed now. I think I'll dedicate a corner to her and let the grass grow.

11:03 PM  
Blogger kris said...

Not too crazy about snakes - but this was pretty interesting. (I'm still trying to get past the threesome - who knew??)

11:26 PM  
Blogger EFB said...

that is really cool. thanks for taking photos of it. tho it has me wondering how it actually "works" for snakes.

10:05 AM  
Blogger Annie in Austin said...

Geeky snake sex is very interesting, Meresy! Who knew they braided themselves like that. So if the temperatures drop while they're engaged, they have to stay like that until the sun comes up, right?

Annie at the Transplantable Rose

10:46 AM  
Blogger Rurality said...

First the chicken episode, now this! It boggles the mind to think of what might be next. ;)

12:07 PM  
Blogger MilkMaid said...

I think Moby Dick is only there for the porn LOL

6:10 PM  

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