Monday, April 30, 2007

Snakes on a lake

We took some time on the way back from Cleveland to tour the Lake Erie shore. We visited Marblehead Light, the oldest continuously operating lighthouse on the Great Lakes, and the we took the ferry to the town of Put-in-Bay on South Bass Island. It was totally sweet. Then, as if visiting Perry's Victory/International Peace National Memorial wasn't sweet enough, we got a herpetological treat at the ferry terminal back on the mainland: an encounter with a number of Lake Erie water snakes Nerodia sipedon insularum that were basking on the riprap. Any snake encounter is likely to be awesome, but I was especially jazzed because these snakes (and the slightly crazy snake biologists who love them) were recently featured on the Discovery Channel show Dirty Jobs.

Sorry, Sam Jackson, but I've far from had it with these snakes. Check off another enounter with a critter on The Awesome List.

The Ohio DNR's guide to reptiles of Ohio points out that the Lake Erie water snake is a subspecies of the northern water snake found only among the Lake Erie islands. It lacks some of the banded coloration associated with other subspecies.

Update December 2007: the Respect the Snake web site has everything you need to know about the Lake Erie water snake.

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