19 November 2011

Northern Red-Bellied Snake

I love the days when I see something I've never seen before. Today on our walk we saw this tiny snake on the trail. According to google, it's a Northern Red-Bellied Snake, a snake one doesn't often see because it is very shy and likely to be found under a log or rock. Also, it's the smallest snake in Ontario, so it's just plain tricky to see, especially in this dark grey colouration. This one actually appeared dead, though apparently they are known to play dead. It didn't move at all, even when we picked it up. Luc placed it under some leaves off to the side of the trail where hopefully it snickered quietly at its subterfuge and waited for us to leave before slithering off to wherever snakes go at night.

It seems kind of late in the season to be seeing snakes, but it has been a particularly mild fall and these snakes seem to be able to endure cold winters as their range extends up to Lake Superior.

While I was doing the research for this post, I discovered a project called the Ontario Nature Reptile and Amphibian Atlas, which seeks to "improve our knowledge of the distribution and status of Ontario’s reptiles and amphibians by collecting observation submissions from the public, carrying out field surveys and amalgamating existing databases." They accept observations from "citizen scientists", and I will definitely register to participate.


  1. Very cool! Despite Australia being home to a large range of dangerous reptiles, we have yet to see any snakes in the wild. Lotsa gi-NOR-mous ants, though!

  2. I'd take my snakes over your ants any day!

  3. Um, you failed to mention in the post that this thing had a huge hole through it's neck. It's dead Jim. Not "it might thaw out and slither away".



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