Buckeye Herps Blog

A photographic journal of the reptiles and amphibians of Ohio, Michigan and other places interesting wildlife call home.

Thursday, October 6, 2011

I Brake For Snakes!

The leaves are changing here in Michigan, but the last few days have been warm and sunny.  I took advantage of a day off to head out and try for the last (maybe?) rattlesnakes of the year.  I spent a couple pleasurable hours hiking around a fen that is usually good for a snake or two, although not this day.  I decided to try my luck elsewhere, but figured it was a decent time to try a pass or two on one of the roads through the area.  It was a good idea, as not 200 yards down the road I swerved to miss a small twig stretched out on the road.

Neonate eastern massasauga rattlesnake

It didn't move for about 10 or 15 minutes of me photographing it and steering cars around.  This was shot with my 10-20mm wide angle.  For the nonphotographers out there, that means I had to scoot up nice and close to get that shot.  He didn't care.

I switched to the 90mm macro for a few shots.

The classic diagnostic shot.   
 Refer to recent posts for discussion of identifying massasaugas, including juveniles and neonates.

I also shooed a neonate water snake and a couple garter snakes off the road this day.  Unfortunately, there were two or three DOR (dead on road) water snakes, a few DOR garters, and DOR ribbon snake and a DOR redbelly snake.  Snakes were definitely moving, although like usual, the dead out numbered the living.  Happily, no DOR saugas were found.  I pride myself in spotting small snakes in the road, and seeing how slow to eventually move off this little guy was, this high traffic area most definitely would have claimed him soon.

So, do you brake for snakes?



  1. Nice photos. Why yes, I do brake for snakes. Weather was nice today, hopefully it holds thru the weekend. Saw the last 3 inning of the Detroit/NY game, glad I won't be seeing any more Yankee games this year... -Carl B.

  2. I second that notion. Weather has been real nice this past week. I am unfortunately working all weekend.