Picture: California Mountain Garter Snake (Thamnophis elegans elegans) in the rocks and grass, Table Mountain, near Oroville, California
First; Does anyone know (exactly) what type of Garter snake this is?
It’s a good thing I don’t eat snakes. I almost stepped on this little guy yesterday afternoon while wandering around on Table Mountain near Oroville, California. Despite my thumping around on the ground behind the snake, setting my camera and tripod down, the snake didn’t move at all. I actually had to bend over and look close for a moment to see if it was alive. Then the tongue flicked; yup, alive. I took numerous handheld shots while bending right over the back of the snake. The poor thing was acting totally oblivious to me, and although I was standing downwind in a light breeze, I was making no effort to minimize my own movements; and still no reaction by the snake. Finally I decided, maybe I could try a different composition. The instant I moved into a position upwind of the snake, a quick tongue flick and suddenly the reptile was in full alert and moving. One quick pause, another tongue flick, and down into the burrow it went. Again, I say it’s a good thing I don’t eat snakes. I was above and behind, within a forearm’s reach for a couple solid minutes. If I was a hawk, owl, coyote, or bobcat, methinks dinner would have just been served on a silver platter.
Image ID#: 120425_CVN-0189