Sunday, October 18, 2009

Catching Up In California

As you can see, it's been a while since I've posted here. This is because I've moved back to California and don't get out snaking too much. But when I come across a snake, I usually pick it up and photograph it. What follows are a few of the snakes I've encountered this year in San Mateo County on the San Francisco Peninsula.

05/25/2009 @ 7:08:20 PM PDT
This is a large Pacific gopher snake (Pituophis catenifer) found next to a bike trail that runs alongside the west shore of San Francisco Bay in San Mateo. It was probably close to 5 feet long, if not a bit more. I saw a few people looking at something next to the trail. I figured it was a snake, so I got off my bike and grabbed it, which created a minor sensation among the folks walking and riding on the trail. It was quite healthy, so after I took a few pictures I placed it a bit more away from the trail and continued on my way.

07/12/2009 @ 2:47:31 PM PDT
This little western terrestrial garter snake (Thamnophis elegans) was found in Henry Cowell Redwoods State Park in Boony Dune, CA.

09/13/2009 @ 1:03:14 PM PDT
This baby gopher snake was found on a country road near Half Moon Bay in coastal San Mateo County. I do a lot of road cycling on these roads and find these fairly regularly this time of year, although I see two or three dead ones for every one found alive. A few weeks before this picture was taken, I saw a dead rubber boa, which was almost disappointing as what you are about to see next.

10/18/2009 @ 10:51:16 AM PDT
On another ride on Skyline Road (CA Highway 35) I found this still beautiful piece of dead jewelry, a coast mountain kingsnake (Lampropeltis zonata multfasciata). This is the first mountain kingsnake I've seen in California. I passed a dead california kingsnake (Lampropeltis getula californiae) earlier, but didn't stop for a picture. This I had to stop for. This is probably America's most beautiful snake, and when this one was alive, it was a beautiful example of the species. I hope to find a few of these before they get pancaked on the road, but it's looking like I'll have to wait until next spring to make that happen.