From a photograph by Solomon D. Butcher of four daughters of rancher Joseph M. Chrisman, at their sod house in Custer County, Nebraska. From left to right, Harriet, Elizabeth, Lucie, and Ruth. Photographed in 1886.

Monday, May 07, 2007

A Little Worm Snake

Life in Christian County, KY... More About Birds and Animals...



Isaac and I had an odd experience last night when we went for a walk.

The first part of the road descends for a quarter mile from the top of a fairly big hill to a low valley with a little creek. We were walking down this long slope when we saw a dead snake lying in the road.

We had paused to glance at it when I noticed another curious thing. A reddish-brown worm about six inches long was crawling uphill a few feet from us. He was moving along just like a snake over the gravel, and I said to Isaac, "Is that a big nightcrawler, or is it a little snake?!"

Isaac thought it was a worm, and he decided he'd move the little fellow over to the grass where the earth would be soft enough for him to burrow in. He bent over to pick it up, and the worm did a rapid squiggle and completely dodged him. It was amazing. We were both shocked. We had another discussion about whether it was a worm or a snake.

Then I tried to pick the little guy up and I didn't get him either. I did notice that he was strong for his size and that his skin was tender and a little tacky.

We were afraid we were going to hurt him, so we decided to let him go on his way. Later we told Dennis about it. He was positive that it was a little snake, and in retrospect, I agree.

Our little creature didn't have a belly band like earthworms and nightcrawlers do, nor did his S style of movement look like an earthworm's locomotion. And, as Isaac commented, his bottom side was lighter than his top side.

I'm sure that little snake's ability to squirm around so quickly helps him evade a hungry bird or anything else that decides to eat him.

I think he was a worm snake. They are 3 to 4 inches in length when hatched, and the adults are only a foot long. Their range includes most of Kentucky, and there are several Kentucky photos of the worm snake on the internet. I had never heard of this snake before!

Image of worm snake, Carphophis amoenusWorm snake, Carphophis amoenus. Image courtesy
of U.S. Dept. of Energy (Brookhaven National Laboratory)

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CONTENTMENT: Keep your heart free from hate, your mind from worry, live simply, expect little, give much, sing often, pray always, forget self, think of others and their feelings, fill your heart with love, scatter sunshine. These are the tried links in the golden chain of contentment.
(Author unknown)

IT IS STILL BEST to be honest and truthful; to make the most of what we have; to be happy with simple pleasure; and to be cheerful and have courage when things go wrong.
(Laura Ingalls Wilder, 1867-1957)

Thanks for reading.