Tuesday, September 27, 2011

On the Homefront: Nature at Work

I managed to take this photograph on our deck last night of a juvenile Black Rat Snake (Pantherophis obsoletus) preparing to consume a Little Brown Bat (Myosotis lucifugus) caught in its coils.  Some may find this a rather macabre way to start a new blog category, but I find this little nature scenario fascinating (and also appropriate for Halloween, which is not far off!).  I have never seen a snake with captured prey before, much less photographed one, so I felt quite privileged to have gotten this opportunity.  Snakes are very common here on our small acreage in Georgia.  I have seen many species, including the Common Garter Snake (Thamnophis sirtalis), a baby Ringneck Snake (Diadophis punctatus), the rather abundant Black Rat Snake, a reticulated Eastern Kingsnake (Lampropeltis getula), and even a young Southern Copperhead (Agkistrodon contortrix), which I had to kill because it was in my miniature donkey's paddock and I did not think she would be safe.  I can't say I am especially fond of snakes other than the pretty and docile Rough Green Snake (Opheodrys aestivus), but I recognize and appreciate the role they play in keeping vermin in check.  I would rather have seen this little snake with a mouse instead of a bat, though, since the bats consume irritating insects like mosquitoes.

And for those who would rather not be left with an image of a predatory snake stuck in their heads all day, here is a picture of a beautiful blue Morning Glory (Ipomoea purpurea) flower, also taken on our property!


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