Thursday, June 18, 2009

Snake in the Ash

While mapping a flycatcher territory at Killin Wetlands, I found myself face-to-face with a garter snake coiled several feet above the ground in a small ash tree. When I was finished with the flycatcher, I returned to the ash with my camera so I could take a picture.

As I approached, I noticed a bright red insect attached to the back of the snake's head. It was a blood-filled mosquito! I am usually not bothered by mosquitoes at the wetland, so they must have a preference for reptiles. This snake was about as thick as a pencil, so imagine what it must feel like to get bitten in the back of the head by an insect proportionate in size to humans as this one is to the snake. Yikes!

During the last few weeks, I could not have asked for better weather. It has been cloudy and cool in the mornings with some sun in the late afternoons. I am not a big fan of working outside in the heat, so I hope this pattern continues for a while.


EcoRover said...

I had no idea skeeters took blood from our cold-blooded kin--thought that Jurassic Park fantasy about getting dinosaur blood from skeeters preserved in amber was just that. Great pics!

Diane C. said...

Great find! I didn't know mosquitoes could bite reptiles like that. I would have been a little startled finding a snake in a tree. I've only seen snakes close to the ground.