Tuesday, May 06, 2008

Swampy Snake Slam

There are five species of snakes that can be found in the swamp at the Audubon Center at Francis Beidler Forest. The snakes are the Brown Water Snake (Nerodia taxispilota), the Banded Water Snake (Nerodia fasciata), the Red-bellied Water Snake (Nerodia erythrogaster), the Greenish Rat Snake (Elaphe obsoleta x quadrivittata), and the venomous Eastern Cottonmouth (Agkistrodon piscivorus).

As we guided groups around the 1.75-mile boardwalk, we seldom see all five species on the same walk. Seeing all five species of snakes in the swamp is like hitting for the cycle in baseball. The cycle involves hitting a single, a double, a triple, and a homerun in a single game. Although we have occassionally seen all five species during a single tour, we never had any official recognition for the feat. Now we do (see image).

On Friday, students from the 6th grade at Rollings Middle School of the Arts were the first to receive recognition for completing the Grandslam of Swampy Snakes. The newly-created certificate will be sent once all the students' names have been added. Today, students from the 3rd grade at Fort Dorchester Elementary School got close, but were unable to find a Banded Water Snake.

Any visitor that can provide photographic documentation of all five species as seen from the boardwalk on a single day can also receive a certificate!

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