Neighbours talking over the garden gate has long been a tradition. They share gardening tips, complain about the weather and pests yet are ever eager to discuss their gardens. That is what I had in mind when creating this blog. So stop by my garden gate to find out the latest happenings in my garden.

Happy Gardening!

Garden Gnome
"All my life through, the new sights of Nature made me rejoice like a child." ~ Madame Marie Curie"

Sunday, January 09, 2011

Ringneck Snake

If you have been following this blog you will know we bought a vacation home last year giving me the opportunity to garden in two very different hardiness zones.  It has meant learning about various critters that visit our southern garden.  There are venomous snakes and spiders there so it is important to identify these types of visitors to avoid possible bites.

ringneck snake
We had one of our friends and his 8 year old visiting us.  A couple of days after they left and our kids were visiting, we pulled into the driveway where I spotted what I thought was a hair band the little one had dropped.  I instinctively bent down to pick up the hair band then stopped short to take a better look.   While the hair band was still, I noticed a orangey red band.  There was a slight movement then the hair band uncurled to reveal a small!  Pictured is the baby ringneck snake sunning himself in the warmth of the sun on our driveway.  He was about 3 - inches long.

Ringneck snakes are common harmless, beneficial snakes in Florida.  They feed on earthworms, slugs, small skinks, lizards and tiny frogs.  As with any snake they may bite if cornered but it is non-toxic to people.  Ringneck snakes are sociable so they are usually found with other ringneck snakes.  They reach a length of about 2 feet at maturity.  Newly hatched ringneck snakes are prey for large spiders and centipedes.

ringneck snake defensive position
Ringneck snakes have a rather unusual defensive trait.  When disturbed the turn upside down displaying their orangy red underside upwards in a curled fashion.  It could be the orangy red colouration serves as a visual warning to predators that they may be distasteful or poisonous.  It could be just a camoflauge method for prey to trick them into thinking the snake is already dead very similar to how an opossum plays dead to avoid predation.  The ringneck snake also releases a foul-smelling odour to defend against predators.  If playing dead and the odour doesn't work the snake will viciously bite.

Happy Gardening!

Garden Gnome

1 comment:

  1. I don't like snakes, but as long as they stay outside and I don't see them, I'm fine with them.

    Our retirement home will have copperheads (poisonous), cottonmouths (poisonous), and corn snakes (non poisonous) among others. And since there are an over abundance of mice and rats (farming area) I'm okay with snakes outdoors. I just need to remember to be careful when around wood piles and such.

    That's the first ringneck snake I've ever seen. Didn't know about them so thank you for that. :-)


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