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How is this even possible?!

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Posted by: asnakelovinbabe at Wed Apr 21 02:16:06 2010  [ Report Abuse ] [ Email Message ] [ Show All Posts by asnakelovinbabe ]  

As many of you remember, I lost my hypo eastern, (the one that I found 2 summers ago) a few months ago, she was the pride and joy of my entire collection and the reason that I realized my passion for garter snakes. The cause of death was unknown but she declined slowly, started crawling with a tilt to her head and seemed to be "not all there". Anyway, losing her hit me harder than losing any other snake and it depressed me to the point where I just wanted to quit snakes.

When I found her, I had brought her and another female I caught at the same place home and they both had babies. The hypo had 5, none of which made it, (and sadly one was coloring up just like it's mom) and the other female had like 15 or something, and when I learned that we were not returning to the lake where I found them that year I set the babies free in my backyard (snake heaven). I wouldn't normally do that, but where they come from is a gated community so there was no way we could just go back anytime.

Tonight the unthinkable happened. Yesterday, I just got done lecturing my 17 year old brother, about if he finds garters in the yard to just let them alone because he likes to save them for me until I get home from work. The easterns here are very typical, they are chocolate brown with yellow lateral stripes and a bright heavy dorsal stripe... with brown heads. Tonight my neighbor called him while I was at work... "get this damned snake off my driveway!". He doesn't mind snakes, but doesn't want them on his driveway. So what does my brother do.... he goes and gets the snake, and puts it in a critter keeper and keeps it for me to see, saying he was going to let it go but he thought it was "really pretty" and wanted me to see it. So I angrily stomp into my snakeroom looking for my critter keeper muttering about how he should have just left her be and my jaw dropped. I was staring at the reincarnation of my hypo eastern!

I'm not kidding! The main difference, is that this one has red eyes. Let me tell you, we don't get stripeless easterns with tiny heads here. Where the hypo was found, that's all there is, small statured stripeless easterns with small heads and small adult size. When I first caught my hypo, I remember thinking about how small she was, and yet she was gravid. Same thing with this snake, it is very small, possibly 16 inches, but is definitely gravid. Right now, she is still dirty from being outside and I won't be able to actually "see" her until she sheds. Her skin is also stretched a bit from being gravid and just as it did my last hypo, gives her the appearance of being darker because of the black between her scales.

But I swear to you guys I could not make this stuff up if I tried. the only explanation I have is that somehow, the offspring of that other female I had kept made it, and that there really is some kind of hypo/pastel genes floating around in that locality of snakes. Somehow, this one managed to survive and has turned up right where I left it 2 years ago. She's even the perfect size to fit that age! Everything about this snake screams "I am related to your hypo". Is this crazy?! Am I crazy? is it even possible to get that lucky?

The similarities:

-Identical head and facial coloration, especially the back of the neck
- Small size
- bit of partial striping at the top of the neck
- redness to the spots
- thick black coloration in between the scales
- overall paleness of the snake
- lacking an actual dorsal stripe, this is key as I have NEVER seen this on our locals

The Differences:

- just a shade darker than the original. This could be because she's dirty. I seem to remember my hypo lightening up as she shed and grew in my care.
- a nice touch of orange on the neck
- her eyes are red, the first one had gold eyes, but eye color varies greatly in garters.
- her spots have just a tad bit of black edging, more than the first.

Overall though, I am extremely confident that this snake is exhibiting the same characteristics as my hypo. Obviously I would not expect her to be an identical replica to the original. But I mean, when I look at this snake I have to do a double take. I swear, I'm not crazy!!! I could not make this up if i tried. She strongly resembles my hypo. There's just no way this is one of our classic natives. No way.... guys, please tell me I'm not seeing things here! I even went out and grabbed a male eastern from our woodpile to show you guys what our easterns usually look like! Don't worry, I put him back!

I'm sorry, these pictures are just horrible, but I HAD to take some, even if it was artificial light, in my kitchen... at 10 at night.

Here are some photos of her, and with the male eastern from the woodpile.

No flash

with flash

With the male

Now, compare her to these photos of my original hypo, in this picture she's on the left and you can see the black between the scales very well:

and being courted by a normal male, look at her compared to that male, then look at the new girl compared to that male from out back.

I don't even know what to say about all this!


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>> Next Message:  RE: How is this even possible?! - KevinM, Wed Apr 21 10:58:08 2010
>> Next Message:  RE: How is this even possible?! - leehafley, Wed Apr 21 16:38:24 2010 image in post