Friday, January 17, 2014

Riverside Place: Ring-Necked Snake

Photo: Jonathan Vandiveer, January 16, 2014.  "This little guy slithered right by my client's feet, quite a surprise. :)"  (Click on photos to enlarge.)

Judging by the range maps on CaliforniaHerps, it's a San Bernardino Ring-Necked Snake.  They like moist environments like Red Car Canyon. If you've got a backyard pond, you might find these snakes in nearby leafy debris, as they hunt slender salamanders, small snakes, lizards, tadpoles, small frogs, worms, slugs & insects. 

But the really cool thing about this species is their defense mechanism.  Their underside is yellow to orange and red.  When threatened, they curl up exposing their colorful underside, emitting a noxious odor, suggesting to predators they might be toxic or at least, really unpleasant to eat. 
Photo: Jonathan Vandiveer, January 16, 2014.  I'll speculate it's a juvenile snake, as it is so tiny.  Vandiveer reports it was about 8-10" long, yet clearly not much wider than the key ring.  Adults are 11-16" long.   This is the tiniest one we've documented in the neighborhood.

Check out all our Ring-Necked Snake posts.

Really unique wildlife visits Vandiveer's yard.  In the past he brought us a Black Witch Moth, Headless Mantis & a pretty scary spider among many other sights around the neighborhood. 

Help researchers by reporting wild reptile & amphibian sightings.

Learn more about Ring Necked Snakes: CaliforniaHerps