Jun 24-08

Past-E-Mail: Cam Notes - 2008: June: Jun 24-08
Slithering along    ...scroll down to share comments
Photos by Tom Cook
Look him in the eye    ...scroll down to share comments
Photos by Tom Cook
Hello there    ...scroll down to share comments
Photos by Tom Cook

Mary Drew at Pasty Central (Mdrew) on Tuesday, June 24, 2008 - 06:08 am:

This is one of God's creatures that you either like or you don't like, with probably more folks siding with the latter opinion. Whichever side of the debate you're on, you still have to admit that they are fascinating the way they can get around (and quietly too) without any legs or feet. I have no clue as to what kind of snake Tom Cook has captured in these photographs, but I'm guessing that it's either a grass snake or a garter snake. Do we have any snake experts out there that can help me out?

By Smfwlk (Trollperson) on Tuesday, June 24, 2008 - 06:37 am:

Gives me chills just looking at it! Haven't the foggiest idea what kind it is.

By lz (Llamamama) on Tuesday, June 24, 2008 - 07:20 am:

Butler's Garter snake?

By Snowman (Snowman) on Tuesday, June 24, 2008 - 07:23 am:

Never trust a snake. They speak with forked tongues.

By Margaret, Amarillo TX (Margaret) on Tuesday, June 24, 2008 - 07:33 am:

Whew! That is a close shot.

By Janie T. (Bobbysgirl) on Tuesday, June 24, 2008 - 07:37 am:


By Alex "UP-Goldwinger" (Alex) on Tuesday, June 24, 2008 - 07:41 am:

Garter snake gets my vote.

By Deb S. (Usedtobeayooper) on Tuesday, June 24, 2008 - 08:13 am:

I guess I don't care what kind of snake it is. It's the devil! It says so in the Bible!!!!!! Stay away from it, look what happened to Eve. EWWWWWWWWWWWWWWW I do NOT like snakes!!!!

By FJL (Langoman) on Tuesday, June 24, 2008 - 08:17 am:

Look what happened to ADAM!!!!!!!

By Shirley Waggoner (Shirlohio) on Tuesday, June 24, 2008 - 08:18 am:

We haven't seen a snake in our part of the country in years!! Used to see garter snakes every summer while mowing, but, for some unknown reason they've disappeared. Have to wonder if it's all the farm/lawn chemicals? I've never liked snakes but now I'm missing 'em.:(

By Joe P. (Lonewolf) on Tuesday, June 24, 2008 - 08:47 am:

Some good thoughts from Jim Harding at the MSU Museum:


The Massasauga rattlesnake is Michigan's only venomous snake. All other species are non-venomous and harmless to humans.

Snakes are probably the most misunderstood and feared of all animals in the state. This fear often begins in early childhood, as we watch television programs and read stories that portray the snake as an evil and dangerous animal. These fears are reinforced by watching a parent or friend react to a snake by either running from it or killing it. Fortunately these negative attitudes are beginning to change. More people now accept snakes for what they are—fascinating members of Michigan's wildlife community that, if given the chance, will avoid contact with humans. The vast majority are harmless, and the one venomous species can be easily identified and avoided when visiting natural areas.

Some species consume rodent or insect pests and are beneficial to agriculture. All snakes play a role in the natural environment by contributing to ecological systems as predators and prey. They can best be conserved for the future by providing for their habitat needs and then simply leaving them alone.

The State of Michigan has enacted legislation to provide for protection and regulation of native reptiles and amphibians. Rare and declining species are now protected from persecution and exploitation, and all species are affected by limits on numbers that can be taken or removed from the wild. Shooting of snakes and other reptiles is prohibited.

Anyone wishing to take or study reptiles or amphibians (frogs, toads, salamanders) in Michigan should contact the Department of Natural Resources Fisheries Division for details and licensing requirements.

By Sconie (Sconie) on Tuesday, June 24, 2008 - 09:14 am:

"Snakes are the most misunderstood and feared of all animals....this fear often begins in early childhood, as we watch television programs and read stories that portray the snake as an evil and dangerous animal."

Well, maybe so, however, the fear of snakes seems to be almost instinctive-----it just seems to be something that is so very deep seated in the human psyche. One can't help but wonder if a "healthy" fear of snakes isn't something that, in a way, helped our ancestors survive.

By Nancy Green (Snowdazed) on Tuesday, June 24, 2008 - 09:18 am:

Good picture to reinforce something I learned in college. If a snake has round pupils-it is non-venemous. If its' eyes are slits-its' poisonous. Good info if you ever get that close and really want to know. ;)

By Theresa R. Brunk (Trb0013) on Tuesday, June 24, 2008 - 09:33 am:

My Boss has a 9' Boa-constrictor in his office. We take turns Feeding it every 2 weeks.

By Cindy Pihlaja Russell (Gone2long) on Tuesday, June 24, 2008 - 09:40 am:

I'm thinking if I'm close enough to identify a snake's pupils, I'm already in trouble....

By Brooke (Lovethekeweenaw) on Tuesday, June 24, 2008 - 09:55 am:

Snakes are OK in pictures, and these are good ones. But I will not play with one, eww. It is fun to see them when we are hiking from a nice distance where it won't touch me.

By eugenia r. thompson (Ert) on Tuesday, June 24, 2008 - 10:05 am:

I LIKE snakes, always have. They are fascinating. I've heard there are no venomous ones in the UP, so I did a little research. Michigan DNR says the Massasauga is only in the lower peninsula. Very interesting....

By Alex "UP-Goldwinger" (Alex) on Tuesday, June 24, 2008 - 10:10 am:

Snake pupils...I didn't even know they could teach.

By Janie T. (Bobbysgirl) on Tuesday, June 24, 2008 - 10:16 am:

Roll them "snake-eyes!"

By kay Moore (Mskatie) on Tuesday, June 24, 2008 - 10:24 am:

I watch another of the Lords' least liked creatures, the vulture. I try to have my morning tea or coffee out on the deck overlooking the river. And there is a large flock of local vultures sunning themselves on top of the huge grain bins at the loading site. I wonder if they're charging up their solar batteries for their beautiful flights on the thermals.In my book the only better soarers are the beautiful pelicans we see. Vultures may have heads only their mothers could love but oh the grace and beauty of their soaring flight!.

By Kathyrn Laughlin (Kathyl) on Tuesday, June 24, 2008 - 10:38 am:

I once was helping a work party from the Nature Conservancy root out invasive plants in a fen. We encountered a Massasauga rattlesnake. It was not at all aggressive; it only rattled in warning when someone almost stepped on it. One of the group leaders had experience in snake handling; he got it out of our work area while the rest of us stayed a respectful distance away. Granted, it was a chilly day, which may have made the snake sluggish; but my impression is that it only wanted to be left alone, not to attack.

My attitude to many potentially dangerous parts of nature--rattlesnakes, skunks, Lake Superior--is respect rather than fear. Know there are certain things that it is not safe to do, is all.

By Lorelei (Lorelei) on Tuesday, June 24, 2008 - 10:42 am:

Thanks a lot. I know what I will be dreaming about tonight. LOL, I am petrified of the slithery creatures.

By Richard L. Barclay (Notroll) on Tuesday, June 24, 2008 - 10:51 am:

There were tens of garter snakes that used to rest on the floor of an unused outhouse on hot sunny days on a property that we lived in around the time I was 12. I'd pick them up and noticed they emit a rather strong odor when afraid (which I'm sure they were when I was catching them up.) There would be a few brown ones in the mix with reddish copper colored bellies but they seemed a tad more aggressive, not that they were dangerous - just acted that way. I saw a garter snake once when hunting partridges that had a frog swallowed head and body but the legs were hindering the snake's getaway efforts. Felt sorry for the snake,then, too.

By Richard L. Barclay (Notroll) on Tuesday, June 24, 2008 - 10:56 am:

Great pictures, how did you get the snake to pose for so long? I've always seen them wanting to flee.

By Hilarie Alwine (Halwine) on Tuesday, June 24, 2008 - 02:12 pm:

The other day my daughter Callie and I were hiking at piers Gorge and saw a very large fox snake. I didn't notice it until it was on it's way from us, but my 2 year old Callie noticed it right away! She was elated to see the creature and ran towards it! I freaked out and grabbed her and she didn't understand. So I assume that the fear of snakes is learned. They totally freak me out, but intrigue my two year old!

By GM (Gam) on Tuesday, June 24, 2008 - 02:42 pm:

Theresa--I'm glad I don't have the same boss as you do. Do you ever feel like feeding your boss to the boa? Just a thought.

By Mooselover (Mooselover) on Tuesday, June 24, 2008 - 03:06 pm:

Oh...I think snakes are fascinating, yet off-putting, kind of like the British royal family!
I suppose if you leave them alone, they'll leave you alone(the snakes,not the royals).It seems folks never feel really neutral about them....either really like them or hate them.Kind of like liver, or bagpipe music.

By Debra J. McCumber (Debwaugh) on Tuesday, June 24, 2008 - 03:20 pm:

Hilarie and I have been trading snake stories (we are neighbors). My husband and I have only lived up here for 2 years now, but have heard of these Fox snakes. I must say, having encountered one by my foot last week (about 5 feet long and bigger around than my arm) I'm not so fond of them. However, rumor has it that they eat a TON of woodticks a day.....so as long as they stay out of my house and garage I suppose I'm okay with them. *insert shiver here*


By Cindy Pihlaja Russell (Gone2long) on Tuesday, June 24, 2008 - 04:49 pm:

I would definitely feed my boss to the boa, and the boss above her and the boss above him...that snake would not have to eat for the rest of its life.

By Deb S. (Usedtobeayooper) on Tuesday, June 24, 2008 - 04:59 pm:

Cindy, do I detect just the slightest bit of job dissatisfaction?

By F.F. (Flipflop) on Tuesday, June 24, 2008 - 05:02 pm:

Watch out for the SNAKE PIT cause if there is one , there will be more !

By Cindy Pihlaja Russell (Gone2long) on Tuesday, June 24, 2008 - 05:02 pm:

Oh, my, does it show?

By Jan Burkholder (Lady_slipper_98) on Tuesday, June 24, 2008 - 06:33 pm:

I once had a garter snake crawl in my house when screen door was left open for my dog. She had been sunning herself on the deck. When the dog moved ..the snake got scared and crawled in. She went under the secretary desk and then the cool heating wall heaters. I never saw her again. I was leaving and was worried about her left in house. So I emailed a garter snake specialist in England I found on the net when googling garter snakes. They eat worms and sometimes field mice. I was hoping she would eat the field mouse who was leaving little black things on my counters each night. I left water in my dogs dish and left. I never saw the snake but think it crawled out by stones in fireplace and I also didnt see the mouse droppings anymore either. I now like snakes very much for she didnt hurt me and got rid of a pest, I hope.

By Danielle L. Adams (Badkid) on Tuesday, June 24, 2008 - 08:54 pm:

I am not a fan of snakes myself but they don't bother me.

I used go hunt snakes with the neighbor boys when I was oh my about 7 or so. A bunch of us kids used to go "snake hunting" as the neighbor had snakes galore in their yard and the boys wanted them and us girls wanted to tag along. It was fun but believe it or not, I have picked them up and never thought nothing of it. Funny this is brought up as I was telling the younger neighborhood kids about that this evening and they have yet to see a snake.

Oh and about the boss thing...haha yeah I hear ya there...somedays I feel like I could do the same!!!

By Capt. Paul (Eclogite) on Tuesday, June 24, 2008 - 10:11 pm:

Poor little guy; hasn't got a leg to stand on......

By FRNash/PHX, AZ (Frnash) on Tuesday, June 24, 2008 - 11:48 pm:

Funny 'ting about rattlesnakes...

In spite of having lived in Arizona for 40 years now, and having spent many hours hiking around the boonies, I have never seen a snake of any variety in the Arizona desert! (Unless you want to count the Arizona Diamondbacks!)

On the other hand, as a kid (surely well over 50 years ago), at a huge family picnic at a large metropolitan park near Wixom, MI (I am no longer sure where that park was, as I can find no sign of it on my current maps. I'm pretty sure it was not Proud Lake State Recreation Area.) I spotted what at first looked like a cow pie by the side of the road, but on closer inspection turned out to be a neatly coiled Massasauga rattlesnake. One of my uncles stepped in and dispatched the snake, grabbing it by the tail and cracking it like a whip.

When cut open, it proved to be a momma snake, pregnant with a substantial number of young 'uns, from my memory, far, far more than the "8 to 20 young" suggested in this article: Critter Field Guide: Snakes of Michigan — eastern Massasauga rattlesnake.

By Brooke (Lovethekeweenaw) on Wednesday, June 25, 2008 - 09:15 am:

Thanks for the link on the snake, Frank. I have seen them before and knew their venom wasn't too potent but should not be ignored. A little girl about 2 was bit near us when I was a kid so that was scary being she was so small. They were in the field behind our house but only saw one once.

By eugenia r. thompson (Ert) on Wednesday, June 25, 2008 - 10:22 am:

I never heard of a Fox Snake before so I googled it. Quite a handsome snake and BIG! Wow! Guess it would surprise you a bit to look down and see one beside your foot.

By Theresa R. Brunk (Trb0013) on Thursday, June 26, 2008 - 10:06 am:

Getting back to the Boss thing. I couldn't feed my Boss to his own snake... wouldn't that be 'cruel and unusual punishment'? Besides, he just gave me a raise, my third since I started with this company last November. :)

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