The onset of the rainy season here has signalled the start of the snake season. Snake season you may ask; well snakes are around all year but; during the rainy season they’re easier to find because:
- Food items such as frogs, lizards and other snakes are more abundant in the rainy season and therefore so are the snakes that feed on them.
- The snakes are more active searching for mates and food and so you’ll encounter them more often; if you’re looking in the right places.
- Many snakes breed around this time of year to ensure their offspring are born during a period when food is abundant.
During rainy season I go out four or five times a week cruising up and down the small roads and streets that transect the vast open fields and rice paddies in my neighbourhood looking for snakes (roadcruising in herping terms).
When ever I see a snake crossing the road I always stop for a closer look and to usher it across the road if there is a car or motorbike coming. In the case of the rainbow water snakes they are usually quite slow when crossing the roads and sadly many don’t make it accross the roads.
Recently I have been lucky enough to have found quite a few living gravid (pregnant) Rainbow Water Snakes (Enhydris enhydris) crossing the roads. Below is one of these snakes I helped across the road, a large gravid female with green algae streaks across her face from where she’d emerged from her pond.
A few weeks ago I’d been out roadcruising when I spotted a dead snake on the road which sadly was a large gravid female. I looped back to the snake to investigate and was completely shocked at what I saw.
There on the road next to their deceased mother where lots of newborn snakes in various positions across the road; all alive and wriggling.I knew they wouldn’t last long on this busy stretch of road and so I began to round them up. I gently picked each one up and carefully placed them into my bag stopping occasionally to wave cars and motorbikes around the scene.
Once I’d collected all the babies I moved the mothers body off the road and drove home to look over them all in better light.I carefully examined the snakes and all of them appeared to be healthy, a decent size and moving normally
so I placed them in a container with some water from my pond along with some lilly pads for them to rest on or hide under.
After observing the snakes for a while and consulting a few friends I decided I’d take them to a pond near where I’d found them and release them there. I carefully upturned the bag and was happy to see the snakes quickly disappear, sliding effortlessly into the water, under the leaves or wriggling into the muddy banks.Despite the unfortunate circumstances; what a priveledge to have seen so many of these beautiful snakes up close. I hope they are doing well in the pond and growing nicely, who knows maybe I’ll spot one of them next time I’m out herping.