Monday, 19 August 2013

Queen snake!

This past weekend, Laura and I were hanging around at my parent's place in Cambridge, feeling a little bored and needing to go for a hike. It was about 3 in the afternoon, and with a fair bit of light left in the day, we decided to check out a location where I had seen a Queen Snake once before.

Queen Snakes are quite possibly the least encountered species out of any Ontario snake. They are an Endangered species in the province, only being found along a couple of the major rivers in southern Ontario. Even at these river systems, the populations are few and far between.  I had found a single Queen Snake at our chosen herping spot about 4 years ago, but I did not have high hopes that we would find one since I had been back several times without any luck.

Here is a picture of some suitable habitat for Queen Snakes. This isn't the actual spot (I don't want to give away the location) but it is a stretch of river that looks similar.

Queen Snake habitat?

I explained to Laura a few techniques to search for this rare species and we continued on our way, slowly moving along the edge of the water. We had gone less than 10 meters when Laura shouted out that she had a Queen Snake! No way!!!

Queen Snake - Grand River

It was a gorgeous little male of about 16 inches in length. Most Queen Snakes are relatively banged up looking, the result of a lifetime of poking their noses under rocks to search for crayfish, pretty much exclusively their only prey item. This little snake was in impeccable condition - a beautiful animal. After a few quick photos we let him go on his way right where we found him.
Queen Snake - Grand River

Queen Snake - Grand River

We couldn't believe our luck as we kept searching. Unfortunately that would be our only snake of the outing - even the ubiquitous Eastern Gartersnakes and Northern Watersnakes remained hidden. But it was definitely a worthwhile trip, and it was a great way for Laura to get another "lifer"!

I'll finish up this post with a nice Green Frog that wasn't too bothered with my presence, allowing me to grab a few shots while it "posed".

Queen Snake - Grand River

And one more of the Queen....

Queen Snake - Grand River


  1. i absolutely love the pictures you post!