Good Fella

Recently shared the trail with this Eastern Ratsnake (Panterophis alleghaniensis). As the common name implies this species feeds on small rodents (as well as lizards and occasionally, bird eggs). Not only is it handsome but it is a beneficial serpent to have around.

Though they are non-venomous these snakes will strike if harassed. Thankfully, their first line of defense is to remain still. A behavior that allowed me an opportunity to take its portrait (with a zoom lens from a safe distance away).

Slither on, my good man, slither on.

Pattern Recognition

When out roaming nature this time of year I’m on high alert – because it’s alligator mating season. The males are on the move searching for females and as such they are a bit more rambunctious (or aggressive, depending on your point of view).

It’s funny how quickly this pattern became ingrained in my head as a warning. I took an immediate step back in both instances, though a second later I realized it wasn’t necessary for the latter.

I am not overly afraid of them but I also don’t want to become a statistic. Since 1948, there have only been 26 recorded cases of human death by alligator in Florida. Considering the species now numbers over 1.3 million in the state, that’s a tiny fraction.

Adorable Marsupial

Virginia Opossum, Largo, Florida April 2021

I stopped by the nursery after work today to pick up a few native plants for my yard. As I wandered the backlot I met this fuzzy Virginia Opossum (Didelphis virginiana).

I know they have hairless, rat-like tails but I still find them rather cute. They are especially good to have around considering all the ticks and other pests that they choose to dine on.

This one seemed a bit sleepy, so after I snapped a few shots I slowly backed away and gave it some room to relax.