My experience encountering eastern black rat snakes has mostly been uneventuful. Most of the time I am able to walk right up to them and pick them up without any issue. But on occaision they can show defensive posturing and even strike if you violate their personal space. In this short vid taken at a Fairfax County Park Trail partner Mike Gregory experiences one of those moments when its not a good idea to try and pick up Virginia’s largest snake. check out this exciting encounter
Above Marbled Salamander found by Mike during a an early morning walk along a wetland area within a Regional Park. Also found were a spotted salamander (below) in the same vacinity. Both species belong to a group of salamanders known as mole salamanders simply because they burrow after their done with their breeding season. The two often utilize the same vernal pools but breed at different times of the year and lay their eggs differently. Spots breed in late winter or early spring and lay their eggs in water. Marbled breed earlier on usually in the Fall and their eggs are laid in depressions on land near water where the eggs can be washed into vernal pools with the later fall of early winter rains.
Mike’s trail takes us to Pennsylvania where he discovers a couple of new animals for the species list and as an additional bonus some interesting snake courtship and mating behavior. Shown in this video are multiple male garter snakes trying to court and mate with a single female. Nothing unusual about this behavior in the snake world but to someone who is either weary of snakes could be quite an unexpected shock if theywere to stumble upon such an event.
Picture of American Redstart and Black Bear.
On a return trip to Skyline Drive, I came across this Black Bear
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on the trail to Pocosin Cabin. This young bear (less than 100 lbs) was
probably born last year. Shenandoah Park has one of the highest
densities of bears in the country.
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