Natural History of Snakes
|Snake tracks can be wavy or straight lines. They are usually furrows in the ground that can be 1/2 or more wide. Some of the snakes found in my area can swim and often hunt underwater. These aquatic garter snakes can stay submerged for over ten minutes. I have personally watched one stay underwater for that long. Snakes are cold-blooded reptiles. They often are found on exposed rocks and pavement, sunning themselves. Some snakes have a hinged jaw that opens wide to allow them to swallow their prey. Prey is swallowed whole and digested over a week or two depending on the size of the prey. (See photos below.) Some snakes are venomous. Snakes can a well developed sense that allows them to sense heat. This helps them locate prey.|
Snake trail in fine river silt. Photo taken at Burlington river bar, Humboldt Redwoods State Park, California. Summer 2002.
|Snake trail crossing a dirt trail.|
|Snake trail crossing a dirt trail.|
|Snake track crossing a dirt road in a mixed forest.|
A Snake Battle to the Death
|A battle began between a kingsnake and a rattlesnake. Kingsnakes are known for eating other snakes, particularly rattlers.|
|The kingsnake managed to wrap itself around the rattlesnake and gain control. It then found the rattler's head and grasped it in its mouth. The kingsnake then stretched out and twisted the rattler's head at the same time. This was probably to cut off oxygen and subdue it. The kingsnake then began to move its head back and forth while working its jaws to swallow the rattler, bite by bite.|
|The rattlesnake continued to struggle to the very end, but it was too late.|
|The rattlesnake moved its tail and even defecated, but most of its length had already been swallowed by the kingsnake. These two snakes were about the same size.|
|The kingsnake about to swallow the last bite - the rattler's tail! The tail was still wiggling, but there was no way that rattler would get out. Its entire length had been swallowed by the kingsnake! Afterward, the kingsnake slithered off into a blackberry thicket where it likely rested and digested for a week or so.|
|There are four ways that snakes move about. Each movement produces a different track. The illustration above shows the different types of snake movement.|
(Picture taken from MS Encarta 97 Encyclopedia)
Find snake and other reptile posters, greeting cards, t-shirts, hats, and more in my new store.
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What else can you find in the nature store? Beartracker's T-shirts, sweatshirts, journals, book bags, toddler and infant apparel, mouse pads, posters, postcards, coffee mugs, travel mugs, clocks, Frisbees, bumper stickers, hats, stickers, and many more items. All with tracks or paw prints, or nature scenes. Custom products are available. If you don't see the track you want on the product you want, email me and I can probably create it. Proceeds from all sales go to pay the monthly fees for this web site. You can help support this site as well as get great tracking products! Thank you!
|Find other tracking products: www.zazzle.com/tracker8459*|
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Copyright © 1997, 2018. Text and drawings by Kim A. Cabrera
Updated: March 26, 2018