Lately, I’ve been trying to pay more attention to the other life that lives along the little stream that runs to the pond down the street. Summer birding in these parts can be a bit dull and besides, there is a whole ecosystem out there to enjoy and appreciate.
From the footbridge over the stream, I’ve been noticing these little snakes that like to sit in the water, likely waiting for minnows to swim by. I’ve seen as many as three at a time going in and out of the crevices in the rocks. A jogger stopped on the bridge to have a look and he told me he saw four of them a few days prior.
As a kid living in the Philippines, I learned never to mess with snakes, and I still don’t even though I know the poisonous Texas snakes and these aren’t them. According to Austin Reptile Service’s ID Page for blotched snakes, I’m pretty certain these are Blotched Water Snakes (nerodia erythrogaster transversa), a nonvenomous species. The one with the more pronounced pattern is a juvenile.
Despite the fact that they’re nonvenomous, I kept my distance and certainly wouldn’t pick one up and not just because I don’t think people should go around handling wild animals but because, well, those Philippine lessons die hard and it could be a cobra or a bamboo viper. Aren’t irrationalities fascinating?
Still, I enjoyed watching them cool in the water and on that 100+ degree morning, I wouldn’t have minded joining them.