When Anne and I walked on the sidewalk near Lake Tsala Apopka here in Florida, a woman cautioned us about a snake on the walkway ahead. When we were on Long Island in New York, we would never be concerned about snakes because there were no poisonous snake even in the wildest of areas. Rattlesnakes were once common there, but bounties put on their rattles destroyed them all by the early 1900’s.
Here in Florida, it is a different story. Rattlesnakes, pygmy rattlesnakes, coral snakes, cottonmouths and copperheads are all venomous snakes that you need to be aware of. So, I was excited to learn that a snake was ahead, not so much my wife. It was a young southern pine snake, about 20 inches in length. Pine snakes grow to a sizeable length of four to six feet or more from eating other snakes, mice, rats, birds, squirrels, rabbits, lizards, and other tasty treats. These snakes can live upwards of 20 years under good conditions.
The snake was so still on the concrete that I thought it might not be alive. After shooting a few photographs of it, I asked Anne to find a long stick so I could poke it to see if it was dead or not. I poked it once and it didn’t move. I poked it a few more times and it then coiled with its head raised in the air. It watched my every move as I walked around it to photograph it. For its safety and the safety of the residents who walk their dogs here, I continued to poke it with the stick to get it to move back into the woodlands. Although I was able to get it to move, it was feisty for its small stature and often coiled and struck the stick. Eventually I was able to coax it off the sidewalk and watched it slither away to the safety of the woodlands.