Pacific Ring-necked Snake Rescue

Mr Wood Rat and I have a custom of splitting a beer after work and relaxing for half an hour in some congenial spot. We went to sit near the pool, and he spotted something in the water - "I think it's a snake," he said, walking backwards. He is not known for his love of snakes, while I really enjoy them. I fished out a beautiful and very tired Diadophis punctatus amabilis, Pacific ring-necked snake. He was a bit thicker than a pencil and maybe 15 inches long. Of course before I let him go, I had to get a picture or 10.

Here's some info from the CaliforniaHerps web site...
The name Diadophis punctatus amabilis comes from the following roots:
Diadophis - Latin - diadema - crown and Greek -ophis - snake -- "generally w/a light ring on the occipital region."
punctatus - Latin - dotted - refers to spotted belly of species
amabilis - Latin - lovely

Amabilis indeed!

When disturbed, coils its tail like a corkscrew, exposing the underside which is usually bright red. It may also smear musk and cloacal contents [hm, interesting euphemism].

Eats slender salamanders and other small salamanders, tadpoles, small frogs, small snakes, lizards, worms, slugs, and insects. The mild venom may help to incapacitate prey.

8-34 inches long, endemic to California, secretive, enjoys moist habitats [like our pool!?], and lays eggs in summer, sometimes in a communal nest.

I can also add that in the past couple of weeks I've seen four or five squished ones on our local roads, so they are more active right now than usual. Maybe recent hatchlings? I'd like to know more about how fast they grow and how old they can live to be.


Town Mouse said…
Oh, how cool is that? And you even got a photo! I had a small hawk fly into our back garden today, but as usual, did not manage to make a photo. Was very excited, though, first time I've seen one that close.

Anyway, great snake, and sorry so many get squished...
Anonymous said…
He (she)?? is beautiful, we once rescued some mating lizards from our pool!
Barbara E said…
Beautiful! What a great find. Thanks for the added info too.
Tatyana said…
I am not a snake lover, but should admit that I'm not a snake hater either, after reading hundreds of snake books with my boys. I have several garden snakes in my garden. Nice to know that they eat slugs... Good. Little frogs.... not good.
Country Mouse said…
Susie - I guess passion in the pool beats lust in the dust!

Thanks for dropping by, folks.

Now I've learned about the photo contest from reading your blogs I'm wondering why I didn't take pictures of the buckeye trees when they were in stunning bloom here - mostly finished now.
It's a cool mix of the darker upper side for camouflage and the bright underbelly to signal warning. Having spent the first few years of my life where many of the snakey things could easily poison or squish you, I have this residual anxiety whenever I come across a snake or even a photo of one. I doubt I would have picked it up, and rescuing it seems like a heroic feat I'd have only been capable of with a long-handled shovel. Hopefully you didn't get too smeared with the clocal contents...