Thursday, July 17, 2008

As The Worm Turns

As I walked up the path to my front door late this afternoon, I found myself wondering why a large, red worm was curled up in the middle of the sidewalk. It hasn't rained for a few weeks here, so there's no reason to expect to see a worm on the sidewalk. Then I realized that the worm was an unusually bright shade of red. I looked closer, and it became apparent that the big worm was actually a tiny snake.

It appeared to be in the process of shedding its skin. I'm not absolutely positive that it was still alive (I'll check on it later). I think it's either a northern red-bellied snake or an eastern worm snake. It's really quite tiny for a snake, no bigger than a good-sized earthworm.

This little fella (or gal) was just a few feet from my house. Unless he was dropped there by a predator, the most likely place for his residence is under my front steps. Wonder how many siblings he has???


mommanator said...

all I can say is keep him & family in your woods Thank oyu very much!

Frank said...

Hey, Merci, I could use that snake to chase the dang varmints that are in my yard. I would consider myself lucky if I saw one of those!

Virginia Gal said...

gross gross gross gross gross (I HATE snakes!).

citizen of the world said...

He (she?) is cute. But is that a shadow under it's head or is it upside down with it's mouth agape?

Merci said...

Unfortunately, this little creature was not amongst the living. I guess he or she crawled onto the sidewalk to continue shedding and quietly dehydrated in the 90+ degree weather.

The picture shows its red belly (a beautiful shade of vermillion). The head is actually the black nubbin under the bit of peeled-back skin.

I don't mind snakes as long as they stay outside and are not poisonous. Poisonous snakes are very rare in NJ. Only one species (the Timber Rattlesnake) abides in South Jersey, and its endangered here.

I live in the woods, but I rarely see snakes, and I rarely see rodents - other than the ubiquitous squirrel and the occasional chipmunk. I guess the snakes (foxes, too) are very quietly doing their job. When I do see a snake, it's usually a garter snake or a ribbon snake - quite small, easily identified and nothing to inspire fear.

It's not the snakes that keep me from roaming the woods hereabouts in the summer months. It's the ticks and mosquitoes. Lyme disease and other tick-born diseases are the biggest threat here. Skunks give me pause, too. They're plentiful around here.

Pax Romano said...

Well it still looks like a worm ... so why not trot out Dorothy Parker:

It costs me never a stab nor squirm
To tread by chance upon a worm.
"Aha, my little dear," I say,
"Your clan will pay me back one day."

Joe Tornatore said...

loved the creative title.