(September 1, 2017) The creature that is barely discernible in this photo may look like something much larger, but it is actually of that sometimes-cryptic Giant garter snake (GGS) making its way through some surface vegetation on one of the Conservancy’s marsh complexes. See its head on the left middle portion of the photo and a portion of its long body projecting a bit above the water surface on the right middle portion? With the warmer weather (okay, hot weather) we’ve been having, the GGS on the Conservancy’s preserves are quite active. We suspect they are foraging for prey so that when they brumate for the winter (the GGS version of hibernate), they will go into winter fat and happy.
As to surface vegetation, we try to minimize thick and dense aquatic weeds on the marsh complexes, but scientists have advised us that a bit of surface vegetation can be just fine for GGS. In this photo, the surface vegetation is light enough that this aquatic snake has little trouble getting from one place to another.