Monday, April 11, 2011

Red Car Canyon: San Bernardino Ring-Necked Snake *updated with photos

Photo: Todd H., April 11, 2011. A Corralitas neighbor of Red Car Canyon found this little snake under a piece of cardboard that blew into his yard. (Click on photos to enlarge.)

San Bernardino Ring-Necked Snakes (Diadophis punctatus modestus) seem to like Red Car Canyon. It's ideal habitat for snakes that prefer moist habitats, preying on worms, slugs, and small reptiles, particularly Slender Salamanders. When he found the snake, a salamander was just a few feet away.

This is only the second San Bernardino Ring-Necked Snake a neighbor has sent to me in the last couple of years. (There's a video on the CalHerps website showing just how fast the snake moves, which would explain why we don't see them very often.) Luckily this one is still alive. The last one had been killed by a cat.

Photo: Diane Edwardson, April 4, 2011. A couple of neighborhood kids got to check out the snake up close. The snake will curl up and reveal its colorful underside as a warning to predators that it does not taste good. Since Todd was having brush clearance done today, he carefully placed the snake in a bucket with some grass and released him when the work was done.
Photo: Diane Edwardson, April 11, 2011. The snake's olive color provides excellent camouflage in the leaf matter in the canyon.