Wednesday, June 06, 2007

Mud Snake

While cataloging images taken over the last year at the Audubon Center at the Francis Beidler Forest, we ran across our only image of an Eastern Mud Snake (Farancia abacura). The Latin meaning of farancia is unknown, but species name comes from abacus and refers to the alternating red (pink) and black pattern along its body. Last May, the mostly-nocturnal snake was spotted moving across the mud near the boardwalk and the edge of the swamp. It was able to move more rapidly across the mud than was the photographer, so many blurry images were taken along with the one shown here.

The Mud Snake eats mostly the varieties of large, aquatic salamanders, though it will also eat fish and other amphibians. It has a hard, pointed tail that it will often force against its captor thereby earning the nicknames "horn snake" or "stinging snake". Other snakes (Eastern Cottonmouth and Kingsnake) and the alligator are the Mud Snake's principal predators.

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