The only constant in nature is change. Our resident northern water snake has seen there first hand.
At first the snake took up residence in chunks of broken concrete dumped along the creek near the bridge to stabilize the bank. There was a deep inlet of the creek there with lots of fish coming and going.
The two foot long snake would bask among the rocks. Then it would slide into the creek to catch a large minnow for its daily meal.
Clumps of grass edged into the creek closing the inlet off into a pond. A willow grew on the island. A bullfrog lived in the pond too.
The willow is dead and gone. The grass clumps are more numerous. The pond water level has dropped. And the northern water snake seemed to have moved elsewhere.
Each nice morning the goats tromp out past the pond on their way to the bridge. Lately I have gone out with them to enjoy the walk out to the south pasture and back. On the way along the bank a ripple of movement revealed the northern water snake disappearing down under the concrete chunks.
Several mornings since I’ve seen the snake lying in loose coils hidden in the grass, but enjoying the sunshine. It has grown to nearly four feet long and as thick as my wrist.
Some people confuse a water snake with a cottonmouth. They are not the same. A water snake is not poisonous, more brownish, but cranky and will bite if harassed. Even so, it prefers retreat.
Looking at the snake hidden in the grass I’m reminded of “The Carduan Chronicles” as my intrepid survivors encounter snakes. And they are dinner size.
That brings to mind an interesting science nature lesson called the hundred inch walk. You measure out 100 inches of cord. Lay it on the ground in a grassy or natural area.
Now you lie down and ‘walk’ along your cord exploring the distance from ground height. Who lives there? What can you see? Perhaps you will walk through a grass clump and meet a northern water snake.
Learn more about northern water snakes in “Exploring the Ozark Hills.”