Thursday, July 17, 2008

Discovering: Texas Brown Snake


We have finished moving a very large pile of compost - Omagro- . This pile has been in our driveway since spring. The rainy weather made it difficult to get outside and get the job of moving it done and then it is a slow job of spreading it around the yard when all the plants have grown together. I usually like to do this in the early spring before everything is growing. Our hostas have just exploded after placing a large scoop around each one. In the middle of the pile we found this little brown snake that seemed to be flat. I had never seen one before. But after identifying it and reading about them - The Texas Brown snake is a commom snake to find in Nebraska backyards and even better they are great to have in gardens. Here is some info about them.


Texas Brown Snake

Storeria dekayi texana

Nonvenomous

"The Texas Brown Snake is a very common snake, and is highly variable in color, ranging from browns to tans and even brick reds. The color of Texas Brown Snakes is fairly even, though, with the exception of a faint lighter stripe down the middle of the back. Additionally, the top of the head and the corners of the mouth are darker in color. These dark 'spots' on the sides of the head can resemble large eyes when the head is flattened out. This makes these small harmless snakes seem larger and more dangerous than they really are, since hatchlings are the size of an earthworm, and even adults are no more than 13 inches long.

Texas Brown Snakes are completely harmless if encountered, but will readily feign aggressiveness to defend themselves. This usually involves coiling up, raising the head, striking out repeatedly at anything that gets too close and vibrating the tail. This is just an act to get larger animals to leave them alone, however, since they generally strike with their mouths closed, and their mouths aren't large enough to grab human skin even if they tried!

Texas Brown Snakes can be found just about anywhere there is a cool dark moist bit of soil - like nicely mulched landscaping - which is why they are so commonly seen.

Texas Brown Snakes eat a wide variety of suitably sized insects and other invertebrates, including snails and slugs, making them a gardener's friend. After all, you decide what's better - slugs or brown snakes!"

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