An identification has been made!

Thanks to Dave the snake expert, the snake skin Ms. Jeannie blogged about the other day has been determined to be a black racer, a common constrictor snake found in the Southern US.

Black Racer Snake. Photo courtesy of GeorgiaInfo

Ms. Jeannie is SO glad she did not see this snake in all its real-life glory!

They can reach up to 60″ inches in length, so Ms. Jeannie’s snake skin was well on its way to being a mature adult at 47″ inches long.

Active during the day, racers got their name because they are fast movers. Similiar snakes are the black snake, the rat snake and the king snake, but the racer is the only one of these grouping who will actively (sometimes aggressively) try to get away from humans while the other snakes will just freeze in their tracks or slowly slink off.

It is believed (although scientifically unproven) that snakes evolved from burrowing lizards over 130 million years ago. Through all these years of evolution, snakes have developed a a very sophisticated sense of smell and the ability to feel vibrations in their environment.

At night the black racers like to curl up in old tree stumps, between boards, or other out of the way places which makes sense that the snake skin was found in the shed.

Hopefully, this will be the end of Ms. Jeannie’s snake blogs!

Thanks again to Dave for the helpful info!


Someone’s Been in the Shed…

Or more accurately, Ms. Jeannie should say, something has been in the shed. Take a look…

A snake skin!  Mr. Jeannie Ology was the one to discover it, wrapped in between the prongs of a pitch fork hanging on the shed wall. Yikes – that would be quite a surprise to happen upon. Here’s a closeup of it’s head…where you can even see the skin covering his eyes…

Snake head.

If there is one creature in the natural world that Ms. Jeannie has an honest to god fear of – it would be snakes.  The South is home to some pretty big ones, so as a gardener, Ms. Jeannie has learned to be cautious about where she goes digging.

This snake skin measures  just over 47″ inches long and at it’s fattest area 1″inch around. Holy moley – that’s a big one!

The fattest part of the snake measures 1″ inch thick!

Snakes shed the outermost layer of their skin as they grow. Unlike humans, as we grow and expand, so does our skin. But as snakes grow, their skin only has so much capacity for extra give. So they shed what no longer fits and moves (or in this case slithers) along in life.

Illustration from The Question and Answer Book of Nature by John Saunders circa 1962. Available for sale in Ms. Jeannie’s shop. Click the photo for more info.

They do this shedding fairly often, more frequently when they are youngsters growing into adults (as much as once a month) but once they reach adulthood their growth slows down quite a bit, so shedding slows down to once every two or three months.   This still seems like a lot to Ms. Jeannie.  At those rates, you would think that we would come across more snake skins then we do.

Funny enough, as mentioned above, their was a small section on snake shedding in the nature book  Ms. Jeannie has for sale in her shop…

The Question and Answer Book of Nature by John Saunders and illustrated by Donald Moss.
Page 20…Why Does a Snake Shed its Skin ?
Complete with illustrations from world renowned illustrator, Donald Moss.

Ms. Jeannie just knew this book would come in handy for both kids and adults! The illustration in the book features a timber rattlesnake, which got Ms. Jeannie to thinking about what kind of snake her skin is from.

While trying to identify the type of skin, Ms. Jeannie discovered a website where you can send in photos of your snake skins for free identification. So she just sent her pictures off.  We’ll see what they say!

Mr. Jeannie Ology’s bet is that it belongs to a black snake. Do you have a guess? If so, comment below and we’ll put your naturalist abilities to test!