More Snakes Encountered Under Cover Boards

This summer’s second round of checking snake cover board grids yielded great results. At every grid, except two, James Fischer and I found snakes hiding under the piles of wood trying to escape from the hot and humid weather. We encountered Red-bellied snakes at three of the piles, which were not present last time we removed the boards. All the Red-bellied were small in size (about 7 inches), meaning that they were probably males, likely waiting for the larger females to arrive. We also came across many more Garter snakes, especially at the Ongley Pond site, where there was a total of six counted Garter snakes, one juvenile and five adults. We saw only one Ring-necked snake at the Apple Hill Lower Field, which was where we spotted one two weeks ago. At the two grids where we did not have snakes, Wamogo Field and Laurel Hill; we did find a Red-backed vole and a fairly intact snake skeleton approximately 12 inches long.  

Red-bellied snake
Ring-necked snake

Garter snake

Garter snake

Southern Red-backed vole
After checking all of the cover boards and noticing the dramatic increase in snake encounter rate we wondered if this could be due to the recent hot, humid weather, which would cause the snakes to seek cool coverage under the wood piles. Although it could also be due to the time of day we checked the grids. This time we started at 2:00 pm and received our highest snake numbers at the end of the day, around 5:00 pm. In my last blog about snake cover boards, we had the most snakes in the morning and I hypothesized that changing the time of day when the grids were inspected might reveal different abundances of snakes. Today’s result does develop this hypothesis that perhaps mornings and late afternoons are the best times to check cover boards. Since we will be checking the cover boards many more times this summer, we can further test this question.

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