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Friday, September 9, 2011

Blue -Eyed Invader

As I pull into the driveway, Jeff meets me at the car door, wanting the camera that is almost always close by me. "There is a strange snake down in the block pile." Though I was sure that the snake would be gone by the time he walked back to the neatly stacked rows of cement blocks I handed him the camera and watched him hurry across the yard.
"Strange snake," was an understatement.
photo by CJ Howard
 Creamy gray, it was a strange looking snake indeed.
But, wait, it gets stranger.
photo by CJ Howard
Blue eyes? How many snakes have blue eyes?
photo by CJ Howard
No markings, just creamy silver-gray snake skin, those blue eyes and . . .hmmm? Something very odd about those blue eyes.
For a flashing moment, I thought, "alien invader." Really, the thought was merely flashing. Just a few minutes of research and I had our answer.  This was our friendly Rat snake who had picked the rough surface of the concrete blocks to help in its skin shedding process. (You probably met our snake a couple weeks ago HERE ) During this process, which will take several days, the loosening black skin turns gray and the eye covers appear blue as they become unattached from the actual eye.  A snake that is shedding evidently can't see very well.  This one kept its tongue going to check out the situation during its photography session. 
We can all sleep better now knowing there is not a alien space invasion . . . .well, not this time.
photo by CJ Howard

25 comments:

bonifer said...

Wow, what a neat find!! and great pics to show it...

Out on the prairie said...

I couldn't wait to see this one, but figured out what was going on not seeing any pupils. What a great find, although a bit startling at first I imagine.

Sandra said...

beautiful blue eyes and very pretty snake, great shots also. very much like our black racers.

rebecca said...

I found a garter snake with those same milky eyes hanging out in the retaining wall outside my house last week - I've been around captive snakes enough in the past that I knew immediately what was up. In Georgia, where we had something like seven different snakes, it seemed like one or another was ALWAYS getting ready shed at any given time. Cool photos!

TexWisGirl said...

he's beautiful (and vulnerable).

Snapper II said...

I am visiting over from "Madsnapper's" blog. I learned something here. Your photos are fantastic.

RedPat said...

I had no idea the they changed eye coverings when they shed their skin! Wow.

NCmountainwoman said...

I have seen the opaque eyes of a snake shedding its skin. I agree that they look evil and other-worldly.

pumpkydine said...

Never been able to see one at this stage. Usually it is during or after it sheds when I happen upon them. Great photos and thanks for sharing.
Randy

Jeanne Klaver said...

Thank you, thank you---not only for the photo, but also for the explanation. Just amazing!

JSK said...

Great sighting and extraordinary photos. Thanks for sharing!

marriage counseling said...

I have seen the opaque eyes of a snake shedding its skin. I agree that they look evil and other-worldly.

Beatrice P. Boyd said...

Very cool photo subject. But I would probably have been too nervous to get close so glad you did, Ellie.

Rebecca said...

Wow, I would be totally freaked out if I ran across him! But now that I know about the eye color and shedding, I would handle it a little better. :0

Thanks for posting. I am sorry I am so far behind. I am trying to catch up after a busy week around here.

Karen said...

Oh, wow, that is really a strange sight to see. Snakes are rather rare to find around here, so I would have been freaking out for certain. He's kinda beautiful in a creepy way. Great photos!

Cynthia White said...

Fantastic images!

Marty said...

incredible shot ! just wonderful !

Rose said...

I thought this was going to be a joke...that someone had left a plastic snake for you to find...glad I read to the end!

Prairie Pond Woods said...

Those are some great photos of the black rat snake. I'd enter the close up with the tongue flicking in some contest.

Beyond My Garden said...

Thanks everyone for the comments. There is a fine line between "creepy" and beautiful. Snakes, particularly this one, are both.

Kathy said...

I usually shy away from snake photos, but these are spectacular. P.S. I think we share the same last name!

Carol said...

What a nice series of photos and an education. I didn't know that about the shedding skin and blue eyes.

Anonymous said...

there pretty but they bring the most horribble luck!!:O

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