Thursday, March 19, 2009

On Tuesday my friend Jim left me a phone message that I love to come home to: he had found a snake in front of his apartment building and he was holding onto it for me to take a look.

I rode over to his place on 48th a few blocks south of Baltimore in West Philly (I guess technically Southwest), and Jim met me on the sidewalk with this little guy:

Jim's block consists of mostly large twin houses with small back yards, with ends up producing nice brown snake (Storeria dekayi) habitat in the centers - a mix of grass, gardens, and trees with lots of flagstones and flowerpots to hide under, and I think probably less pesticides than they find out in the suburbs. Here's a shot of the area from Google Earth.

We let the little yearling brown snake go under the fence of his neighbor's back yard and wished it well.

I headed home, but on Wednesday afternoon (low 60s and sunny, after a nice spotted turtle trip in the morning - more on that in the following post) I rode my bike out to Mt. Moriah cemetery. The angle of the sun was already too steep for my favorite stone wall, casting a shadow out in front of it, but I turned up a surprising four yearlings under other sunnier cover around that section of the cemetery.

Together with the yearling Jim found, the yearling I found at the cemetery the weekend before, and the lack of adults so far, I'm wondering if the yearlings get moving a little earlier than their elders. I have no idea why that would be, but it will be interesting to investigate.

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