Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Another Storeria - Slithering Slug Eater

The late afternoon hike through the pine barrens of Weymouth Woods is winding down. It's a bit cool this afternoon, but we're not complaining after a couple of unseasonably warm days. Eyes in the treetops, we freeze in mid-stride when Jay shouts, "Snake!"

Looking down, we catch a brief glimpse of a sleek little slitherer in the sand, 
swiftly vacating the vicinity of our feet.

Immediate danger of trampling averted, it comes to a cautious halt, allowing us to better discern who we're dealing with....

With the exception of three irregular rusty brown spots at its neck, and an overall charcoal gray coloration, it is superficially similar to our friend the little brown snake, Storeria dekayi. 
This appears to be another Storeria...

Most likely our old friend Storeria occipitomaculata, redbelly snake, but we should be able to confirm that easily with a closer look.

While the brown snake has a somewhat varied diet of snails, earthworms and slugs, according to Davidson University's excellent website, www.herpsofnc.org, the redbelly snake subsists primarily on slugs.

Neither slugs nor earthworms being readily available for a taste test, we opt for a more thorough visual inspection instead.  

Jay gently lifts the little slug eater for a closer look, and the telltale red belly removes any doubts as to its true identity.

After a few more pictures, the intrepid redbelly is back on its way, and we on ours, thrilled once again by the wonders of a walk in Weymouth Woods.

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