Wednesday, April 27, 2011


It is fairly common for a black snake to slither away from me on a run in my Cross Creek, but before Monday I had yet to see any of Florida's colorful snakes in the wild.  There was that one time when a striped little one made its way under my car before an early morning cross country practice, but I never got a good look at it.

Along a somewhat forgotten sandy path in J. B. Starkey Wilderness Park, I had my first trail running encounter with Florida snakes.  The sand was tightly packed after an evening storm and I was enjoying the ease of the motions.  The last time I had really run on these trails was in the winter when the sand was loose and powdery.  After rounding a bend in the path, I jumped to the side of the trail.  This is what I found:

In my head I quickly tried to figure out the venomous/ nonvenomous snake rhyme... red and yellow...kill... something Jack...  Then, I realized that the colorful little guy wasn't moving.  I still had a feeling that he was of the venomous variety, so I snapped a picture and continued down the trail.

Later on, past the powerlines, I decided to venture down a horse trail that I had never explored before.  This is what I love about Starkey.  Even though I have been running these trails for eight years, I can still find new places to explore.  This trail was beautiful- grassy, covered, and cool.  I was taking in the scenery when, again, I came to an abrupt halt.  This bigger guy was stretched out across the path and he was most certainly alive: 

I was thankful that he did not seem too bothered by me, but I could not help but image what he would be like if I had stepped too close or stepped on him.  I took a picture of him in hopes of identifying him when I got home.

I finished the horse trail loop and ran the two miles back to the corral from the powerlines.  It was a beautiful clear morning.  Besides the snakes, I saw a few deer and a wild turkey.


When I got home, I took to Google in the hopes of identifing the snake that left his skin and the one that was alive.  I quickly found the Florida Museum of Natural History Online Guide to Florida Snakes.  The skin was most certainly from a Coral Snake and I believe the other was a Corn Snake
Here is the direct link to the Identification page of the Guide to Florida Snakes in case you need it one day.

Coincidentally, I read this passage from The Creek by J. T. Glisson the day before this run:

"But the Ol' Gal's [Mother Nature's] specialty was snakes.  Since back when she loaned one to the devil, they have terrorized or mesmerised those who came in contact with them regularly.  We assumed snakes could be anyplace at anytime, and we were right.  A lady I knew sat on her chamber pot in the middle of the night once and discovered a snake in it.  Little children were taught before they learned to walk never to put their hands or feet anyplace they could not see."  Page 44.

Good rule to follow.

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