Nature

A New Baby in Kuaua!

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On Thursday, a kind guest asked me in a gentle voice, “Are you afraid of snakes?”

I answered, “Not unless they’re rattling at me!”

He then said, “Well, if you’re not afraid of them, you should know that there’s one in the museum.”

I expected a  bullsnake, which of course would not be dangerous, but might be difficult to herd out the door.  Instead, our guest pointed at a tiny little black guy that was moving along the wall.  He was about the length of a pencil, and  looked more like a long piece of string than a snake!

We scooted him outside and watched him disappear into the brush.   The consensus was that he was a baby coachwhip snake.  We were curious about the orange coloring at his tail.  Kathy, a reader, told us that it was a baby ring-neck  snake, and as we looked it up, we are convinced she is right, even though he doesn’t have a ring around his neck!

ring necked snake

One of our docents, Tom, says that he has seen the adult snakes here.   Ring-neck snakes are 10-15 inches in length, very slender, and serve as both a predator and prey in the food chain of the ecosystem, preying on smaller reptiles and insects while serving as dinner for larger predators.  They are characterized as having (typically) a red or orange neck ring and underbelly.  This guy is missing the neck ring, but his underbelly is bright orange as you can see in the first picture!  Thanks, Kathy!  I learned something today, and that’s always a good thing. 😉

2 thoughts on “A New Baby in Kuaua!

    • Thanks, Kathy! I looked it up, and sure enough, this is a ring-necked snake, even though it doesn’t have a ring around its neck — there was a picture on a website of another New Mexico ring-necked snake which looks exactly like this one, without a ring as well. He will not be growing to be as big as the coachwhips that we see around here all the time! And now the color makes sense. : )

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