Tuesday, November 23, 2010

The end of the herping season has me thinking morbid thoughts. Green is dying back to brown, the earth fading into the cold stillness of winter.

Of course that's overly dramatic. The last post of marbled salamanders (Ambystoma opacum) guarding eggs shows that spring is already getting started. When those pools fill and ice over, little marbled salamander larvae will be swimming around the frigid water underneath.

Right now, though, I'm thinking about the bones I found.

I ran them by my erstwhile herping buddy Simon (now a veterinary pathologist) who guessed at a snake about the size of a black racer (Coluber constrictor) or black rat snake (Pantherophis obsoleta).

I had feared as much. In the spring we had found a dead, nearly intact (one ugly eye injury) black rat snake nearby. (I'm not sure why it would have made me feel any better to discover ANOTHER dead snake in the same spot.)