Water Snake and Prey

Top Photo: Northern water snake patrols for young frogs, turtles, fish and anything else edible near the wetlands shoreline.

A northern water snake has been cruising the water around and below our floating walkway and water’s edge browsing for food. Standing on the walkway you may hear a splash and glimpse a disturbance in the water as a young frog panics at the snake’s approach. Hit or miss, the snake steadily and stealthily moves on for the next potential victim.

Searching for prey.

Recently morphed bullfrogs are at their most abundant at this time of year and there are plenty of small turtles who have made their way to the water from nests on shore. The snake will make a hit sooner rather than later.

Recently morphed bullfrog, fodder for water snakes (note mosquito fish top left).

The more common of the five kinds of turtle in our wetland is the yellow-bellied slider. A subspecies of the yellow-bellied is the red-eared slider. The two interbreed and both are in our wetland. They often show their close genetic distance in their youth. Typically, yellow-bellied slider offspring will show a vertical yellow mark behind the eye. The red-eared shows a horizontal or longitudinal red mark behind the eye. Sometimes one will show both characteristics.

Typical yellow-bellied slider hatchling’s facial markings.
Typical red-eared slider hatchling with red mark behind eye.
An individual with a little of both yellow and red markings behind eye.

Keep a lookout for these and more creatures as you meander along the floating walkway.

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