This page last edited on

01 August, 2008

Local Wildlife:  Page 4


When I walked out on my back patio and saw this peninsula ribbon snake right under the glass sliding door I was not only surprised but extremely excited that I had this fabulous zoo visitor!  The picture came out a little blurry and I was disappointed that it slithered away so fast and I couldn't photograph it again.  I followed it into the yard but it disappeared in the ground mostly because Herodeus was chasing it!  But...I was more than delighted when it came back about two weeks later, and in almost the same spot!


  The snake was on the other side of the lattice fence surrounding the patio, just one foot away from where it was on the patio in the photo above.  The snake stayed in this pose for quite a while before I got too close and caused it to move. I wasn't sure what snake it was until I looked carefully at my photos and video.  I knew it was probably a type of ribbon snake because I've had other ribbon snakes in the zoo yard before and they all have the same slender, long body, just different color patterns.  They are good to have around here because they eat insects like termites which I'm sure live around the zoo house! 







  What a great photo of this snake's head! I am so impressed with the Konica Minolta camera I have!!  Here the snake was in the hibiscus tree by the patio.  It was amazing to see how he slithered up the tree as well as moving up and down on the petunias.  Who says snakes can't climb?  I've actually seen ribbon snakes climb up my 4 foot lattice fence in the courtyard and sun themselves. Its really a treat to watch if you are lucky enough to witness it. 






  This is the same photo above, just farther out. You can tell how the snake is extended out from the hibiscus tree limbs, literally "out on a limb."  If you look closely, you can see the body of the snake above the head hanging in between two branches.  The snake was watching me as intently as I was watching it. Surprisingly it was not too alarmed by my presence nor did it make any attempts to get away from me when I approached it up close to photograph and videotape it.  But ribbon snakes are well mannered reptiles so I would expect them to be congenial for the Wild Zookeeper!









  Can you spot the toad in this photograph? The reason its hard to find is because he blends into the surroundings, camouflaged so he won't be detected by predators except the harmless snooping Wild Zookeeper!! This particular toad was resting near the back pond. Actually I have a whole population of toads near that pond. I see them in all the ponds occasionally during the day but mostly at night. And usually I hear them at night and once in a while they are so loud they either wake me up or keep me from falling asleep.  Nonetheless, I love to have them around and I believe that they are an asset to the zoo! Toads eat insects which is good and they also create a lot of life in my ponds.






  Likewise, can you find the toad in the old bathtub pond in this photo? He came to visit when I had the water hyacinth in the pond. The amount of tadpoles they create is amazing! I rarely don't have any tadpoles in the ponds and I have most thoroughly enjoyed watching them develop. I often see them mating in the ponds at night and in the early morning after sunrise they are still in the water.  They seem to be stuck together for hours and hours. After I see them mating I always look for the evidence and I always find it!









  And this is the evidence!  Toads lay their eggs in a clear mucous sac, usually a long string like seen in this photo. Sometimes you find eggs in small clumps of the sac though. I took the liberty to photograph the sac on the patio table so that it could be seen better.





  This is a close up of the sac.  The eggs look like chocolate chips don't they? They are oval in shape more than round and are somewhat flat. It is simply nothing short of amazing that these little specks have life in them and that the life is awakened within days! After one or two days you begin to notice that the eggs "twitch." This lasts for about one or two days and then they actually begin to swim, their long tails moving wildly, projecting them through the water. 





  Here you can see the tadpoles at week 2. They have a clearly defined body with a tail. There are literally hundreds of them after hatching. Notice the goldfish in the photo and how huge they are compared to the tiny tadpoles. I have seen the tadpoles swim onto the fish and take a ride! The fish don't seem to mind but they do eat a fair share of the tadpoles when they begin hatching. After about a week or so I don't see them eating them much. It does not bother me that they get eaten because its the natural cycle of nature. It gives food to the fish and keeps the tadpole population from exploding. Believe me, they lay so many eggs and so often that they can't possibly all be sustained. The turtles eat almost all of the tadpoles so I don't see many of them emerge as toads. 





 This is a close up of an approximate two week old tadpole. They are so small and move so fast that its hard to get a clear image of them but you can definitely see the body and the tail. As the tadpoles age, the body shape begins to take on a more toad like appearance.  The photo below is a tadpole at 3 weeks.






  At about 3 weeks to a month, you begin to see the two hind legs forming. Notice in the photos to the right and left you can see the eyes beginning to form.  If you watch them long enough you'll be impressed with the activity level. Its almost like they are all swimming to something important and they are late! Its fun to watch them go all over the pond and find something to eat. When they all congregate in one place they "chum" like sharks do at the surface of the water. At least thats what it reminds me of.









  This photo really shows the tadpoles off well don't you think?  The tails are still long but since the legs have emerged the tails will begin to disappear.  As they develop their oval body shape begins to show that they will one day soon emerge as full fledged toads.















  Finally the tadpoles emerged from the pond! It took about 4 weeks but they did it. YEAH!  After a thunderstorm I came out and noticed that the tadpoles were now hopping all over the edge of the pond. Some still had a part of their tail yet but others did not. Now all of a sudden I had literally dozens of tiny frogs or toads all over the place! Several days later I noticed them in every part of the yard so they had really spread out. 









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DISCLAIMER:  This website was set up to SHARE my OWN experience with my reptiles, guinea pigs, ponds/fish, gardens and local wildlife and to post pictures and video of them. It was NOT SET UP to offer my opinion or expertise on ANY QUESTION that I am asked and what I post on this website should not be taken as "EXPERT ADVISE" or how to take care of reptiles, guinea pigs, ponds/fish, gardens or local wildlife. I AM NOT A REPTILE RESCUE GROUP, GUINEA PIG RESCUE GROUP, VETERINARIAN, REPTILE EXPERT, GUINEA PIG EXPERT, PONDS/FISH EXPERT, GARDEN EXPERT OR WILDLIFE REHABILITATOR! I have limited experience with reptiles, guinea pigs, local wildlife, ponds/fish and gardens, therefore, I am NOT QUALIFIED to give out advise or answer questions and you, as a visitor to this website, should not take anything on this website as expert advise or accurate information.  I present this website for fun and fun only - NOT as a reference website to instruct anyone on how to properly take care of reptiles, guinea pigs, local wildlife, ponds/fish or gardens.  I share how I DO THINGS for my reptiles, guinea pigs, local wildlife, ponds/fish and gardens and this is not intended for others to take as expert advise or to mimic. Furthermore, my political views are my own and not intended to offend, annoy, hurt or demean any person, entity or organization. I express my views as an American who has the right to free speech under the Constitution of the United States of America. Please feel free to set up your own website and express your views, post your pictures and video and share with the rest of us in cyberspace what your little corner of the world is like. Thank you very much for your kind understanding in appreciating the value and contents of this website.


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