Wednesday, September 21, 2011

The Final Reptilian Sunbath of Summer

Northern Water Snake
all photos copyrighted by Jonathan Schechter
Crooked Lake - Independence Oaks County Park, Independence Twp, Michigan

On this final day of summer it is time for the reptiles of southern Michigan to soak in rays of
warm sunshine before the days cool, nights chill and daylight shrinks. That is their way.
In a few weeks turtles will be heading for muddy pond bottoms and most snakes will be slithering
 into their hibernaculum.  Our massasauga rattlesnakes will head for moist crayfish burrows and
spend their winter in a state of suspended animation below the frost line. 
It did not take long to find reptiles sunning their day away on my last kayak paddle of summer,
 for without external warmth they can not properly digest their meals.
All the photos are from Crooked Lake with the exception of the rattler. That native pit viper was sunning on the bike path of Indian Springs Metropark (White Lake Twp. Michigan) a month ago.
Northern water snake  Jonathan Schechter photo
Northern water snake - watching, waiting.  Jonathan Schechter photo
A garter snake swimming in crooked lake.  photo by Jonathan Schechter

I encountered a common garter snake swimming across crooked lake during my mid-day paddle.
Only the snake knew the reason; perhaps it was just a wish to get to the more exposed sunnier side.

The snake reached the sunny side and slithered up the first tree with a branch touching water.
And then it was time to streach out and soak in sun on warm tree bark.
A painted turtle found a perfect perch a few feet above the lake to position its shell towards the sun.
Another turtle sunned on a beaver chewed log inches above the water creating a perfect reflection.
Back in August an eastern massasauga rattlesnake soaked up pavement warmth on a bike trail at Indian Springs Metropark in White Lake Township, Michigan about 15 miles from Crooked Lake
photo by Jonathan Schechter


Blogger Sandman said...

Thanks for the excellent photo's. I used to work at Snakes Alive on Dixie Hwy. back in the 50's. That was an odd job for a teenager.

September 22, 2011 at 8:33 AM 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Love the pictures but, just like Indiana Jones, I truly hate snakes.

September 22, 2011 at 8:48 AM 

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