Sunday, May 3, 2009

Texas Blind Snake and Other Various Critters

Last night, right after we had one of those quick bursts of rain, my stepson discovered a strange, slithery snake moving across the driveway. We watched it very carefully. It appeared to be a snake, but it was only a few inches long and smaller than the earth worms that hang out in the garden. It had dark eyes, so it wasn't a worm, and in the porch light it looked to be a shimmery silver color. It was one of the fastest creatures I've ever seen. Simply amazing.

This morning, my stepson, cousin and I spent hours searching for it on the internet and my cousin finally found a picture of a baby Texas blind snake--exactly what we had seen on the porch. We almost settled on a skink, which is kind of like a lizard, but this creature had no arms or legs. The adults of this particular variety of snake only get to be eight inches long. Leptotyphlops dulcis are found in the southwest. They are pinkish or brown with a shimmer in their color. This one looked silver in the darkness, and shimmered so much it seemed to glow. They generally live underground and only come up in the spring when it's raining, like last night. Their mouths are too small to bite humans, but they will try to stick you with their pointy tails. This is a totally harmless act. They eat termites and ants, which makes them very beneficial around here!

The raccoon was here last night. I didn't see her, but the dogs started howling around three this morning and they were looking out the back glass doors. My husband caught her on the back porch around five when he got up for work, so apparently she was out there for a long time, but I've been picking up the bird seed bowls at night so I'm not sure what she was doing!

I found a picture on my cell phone of one of the baby birds perched on the edge of the nest just before they flew away. I posted it to the right.

As I walked the dogs this morning, we disturbed the large garter snake again as it was drinking from the pond. His continued presence so close to the house may explain why the toads have suddenly become silent at night. As we walked around the fields and gardens we also saw a large number of lizards darting to and fro. They must be enjoying the warmth after all this rain.

There was a road runner down by the road. It caught a lizard and killed it, but instead of eating it, the bird carried its food back through the fence into the forested area, so I am certain the road runners had another baby this year.

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