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…”.