Snake in the Moss

I was hiking through the woods behind my house this morning and found something on this log.

A snake!  Seeing a snake lying on a bed of moss in the middle of the woods seemed a bit strange.  The sun was peeking through the clouds so I guess it was sunning itself.  But on moss?

There are a lot of garter snakes around here, and I’ve posted about them before here and here.  Most of these are Northwestern Garter Snakes, but this one looked a bit different.  According to the National Audubon Society Field Guide to the Pacific Northwest the Western Terrestrial Garter Snake has a plain brown top of the head, a buffy yellow stripe on the back and the lower sides, and a body with squarish dark brown spots.  Sounds like a match!

I couldn’t believe how close it let me get while snapping photos.  It was probably a bit cold since the morning chill was still in the air.

Here’s a closeup of the moss.  I am not an expert in identifying moss, but this looks a lot like Golden Short-Capsuled Moss as shown in Plants of the Pacific Northwest Coast by Pojar and MacKinnon.  It is “especially common in lowland rainforest; occurs on logs…”.

    1. Not sure Jeff. I’ve seen other garter snakes around in the past couple of months, so I would expect that it woke up a little while ago.

  1. Hi – I think finding snakes always causes the heart rate to increase – and its not really that uncommon to find them here!

    I found a Tiger Snake when I was out for a walk with the kids earlier this year – the kids (and my) reaction was a lot more marked than the snakes!

    If you are intersted in my (!) snake you can see what it was like on my post called: “A short walk at Wilsons Prom – on 2,6,8 and no legs at all.”
    at the link from this comment.

    Cheers – Stewart M

  2. Now you’re just showin’ off! You can even identify mosses ;>)))). The snake is beautiful. I suppose early morning is a good time to get insects and snakes and butterflies before it warms up and they start moving around.

  3. Thanks Mike. The reason I had asked is I had photoed a black snake that had come out of it’s burrow 3 weeks ago and it still had some dirt on it’s body. Love your photos and your garter snake is a beauty.

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