Can you believe that spring is just around the corner? I don't know about you but I am truly looking forward to the warmer weather and sunny days ahead.
This year, snake season starts for me in mid-March due to the milder weather we have been having. And, this week, I thought I would educate you this week about a very uncommon species of snake known as the mole snake.
The mole snake is related to the prairie kingsnake. The prairie kingsnake is not native to Maryland.
Mole snakes are slender and their pattern varies. They are typically tan, grayish-brown, or yellowish-brown above with brown or green blotches down its back. They have alternating rows of smaller spots on sides.
Additionally, they have a v-shaped or arrow head like pattern on top of their head. As they age, this pattern almost becomes impossible to see. The mole snake is non-venomous.
The female lays five to seventeen eggs, which she lays in a hole in the ground below a soft surface. Eggs are laid June to July, and, after about seven to eleven weeks, the young hatch between August and September. At birth the young are 7 to 11 inches long.
The mole snake is very secretive as it spends most of the day in under rocks or several inches under the soil. They are most frequently seen crossing the road after a rainstorm on warm spring or summer night.
Their habitat consists of open fields, barnyards, pastures and rocky hillside areas. They eat small rodents, birds, frogs, lizards, and, yes, even other snakes. The mole snake can be mild tempered but never attempt to handle any type of snake. If you come upon a snake in the wild while hiking or taking a nice long walk, take a picture and add it to a journal to keep track of the species you have seen. This could be the beginning of a great educational tool.
Research has shown a mole snake in captivity can live for as long as 11 years. But it's very susceptible to predators during its first year. Many fall prey to predators such as hawks and owls. This can be said for all wildlife but it is nature's way
Until next time, don't forget to get out enjoy all that nature has to offer.
Dedicated to my mother Laraine who currently is in a nursing facility recovering from an illness and to my oldest son, James, who I am proud of for taking the steps for a healhier life. I love you both.
Tammy McCormack is a licensed MD snake trapper. You may contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org. She writes a regular online column for fredericknewspost.com.