May 26, 2010 [LINK / comment]

Wonders of nature: Reptile photos

While returning from a mostly-pleasant* day trip to the mountains of northern Augusta County on Sunday, Jacqueline and I encountered a turtle in the middle of the road south of Stokesville. It was about nine inches long including the tail, from which we could tell right away that it was a Snapping Turtle. If it had stayed there, chances that it would have been run over were about 99 percent, so we tried to save the poor thing. Using a long ice scraper, we gently tried to induce it to retreat to the side of the road. It was very reluctant, however, and two or three times it violently snapped at the ice scraper, surprising me with its speed. Well, that's how they get their name. Any finger in the vicinity would have been in grave peril!

* The weather was humid and mostly overcast, interspersed with occasional sunny moments, and our "picnic" ended up inside the car because of a rain shower. We did manage to walk around a bit and see a few birds, however. (Separate blog post to follow...)

Just over a year ago we saw a much larger Snapping Turtle on Bell's Lane.

Snapping Turtle small

A small Snapping Turtle, irritated and not at all grateful for having been rescued. Roll over to see a closeup of a Black Rat Snake that was soaking up the sun just down the road from Elkhorn Lake.

Those two photos are on the Reptile photo gallery (see the montage below). For now, I have lumped in amphibians with the reptiles, but I may "segregate" them later on. Other subsections of the broader (non-bird) Animals category to come include Mammals, Spiders, Butterflies, and Other Insects.


Clockwise, from top left: Box Turtle, Red-spotted Newt, Snapping Turtle (large), Black Rat Snake, red salamander (species unknown), and Cottonmouth snake, a.k.a. "Water Mocassin."