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"Tame" Nerodia

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Posted by: lithops51 at Mon Jul 4 04:57:15 2011  [ Report Abuse ] [ Email Message ] [ Show All Posts by lithops51 ]  
   

I had an interesting experience this week. My girlfriend and I went fishing in central Illinois. We were shore fishing from a bridge embankment lined with piles of large flat rocks. Now, in past experiences, Northern Watersnakes (Nerodia sipedon) are very wary animals, usually making a hasty retreat at the first sign of people. In this case, however, several specimens would would gather as soon as we arrived, often from a distance, right at our feet. Unless actually touched, they were not at all discouraged by our presence. Even when grasped, they made only weak attempts at defence. (Unlike the the blood-letting strikes I'm accustomed to from angry and frightened Nerodia!) I can only assume that is the result of fishermen leaving injured or disabled fish or bait (minnows are a common bait item) on or near shore, and the snakes having learned of a source of an easy meal. Strangely enough I found no dead snakes, so apparently they weren't being killed, just avoided. In fact, one couple were leaving as we arrived stating they had to go as there were more snakes than fish! My girlfriend even commented that they reminded her of our dogs begging for a treat Any attempt to shoo them away on her part (She was distracted from fishing by the snakes swimming up to her feet) only resulted in them changing location but not departing. This happened every time we were at this site, so it was not an isolated incident. In any case, it was a nice departure from my usual experiences of having to actively search for snakes-In this case they found me!


   

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