Thursday 21 July 2016

A Snake in a Pillow Case...*Updated

This afternoon I received an exciting call from my mom saying that "Dad had bagged a huge snake on the driveway" out front of our house in the suburban area of Kingston.  Not only that, but this 4ft snake was laying eggs at the bottom of the driveway!  My parents didn't recognize what species it was and thought that maybe it was an exotic species, so my dad had used the BBQ tongues to pick it up and put it in a pillow case for safe keeping before giving me a call.  After the pictures came in on phone I saw a largely black snake with some bright flecking on it.

I forwarded the pictures to my favourite snake expert Chris Law and he immediately knew it was a Black ("Gray") Rat Snake.  The Great Lakes population of this species is Threatened provincially.  What a find!  This snake had showed up on the right door step, as snakes are still much maligned in many areas and still are persecuted despite being harmless.

Although the species is known from the area, I was shocked to see it in such a built up area.  I lived here for most of my childhood and never saw very much wildlife let alone a Species at Risk like this.

I have uploaded a few pictures that my parents took of the snake while it was in the pillow case.  You can see some of its eggs beneath it.

Folks from Sandy Pines wildlife rescue came to pick up the snake to check it out as there was some bleeding coming from the snake which could be from the egg laying or from getting nicked by a car or bike or something.  They will release it in more favourable habitat away from cars and people that might harm it.  

I called Sandy Pines today and learned some sad news.  The snake has died of internal injuries sustained probably as a result of being run over by a car.  The eggs are being incubated and will hopefully hatch successfully.  I will update if I learn anything more.

Black Rat Snake

Black Rat Snake

Sunday 10 July 2016

Eurasian Collared Dove - Guelph

Last night I decided to check out the Eurasian Collared Dove in Guelph reported by Mike Lepage. I'm glad I did, it was the first bird that we spotted when we arrived on the scene.  We didn't stay too long since it is in a residential subdivision and I didn't think the neighbors would take kindly to me peering at their houses through binoculars.  A neat bird!  This is a species that has gradually expanded from the southern U.S into Canada, but is still quite rare here.  In the photos you can just make out the "collar" on it's neck.

Eurasian Collared Dove