OMG! I am not sure what I would have done if had found this critter on my deck like BoomerTECH Adventures guide Chris did a while back. Chris is an outdoors person so he knew he could stand and admire. I, on the hand, would have yelped and madly been going through what I know about snakes:
- We don’t have poisonous snakes in Maine so I don’t have to run. But…what if the warming climate has enticed less friendly snakes to journey north!?!
- There is something about orange coloration on a snake–is that good or bad?
- Doesn’t look like an escaped python so s/he probably won’t gobble up my pooch, Sammy.
- Can I pet it?
I know, crazy thoughts. And once my heart stopped pounding, I would have pulled out my iPhone and snapped a picture. Then I could have used several search techniques to identify this lovely specimen:
- Search snakes in Maine–accurate results!
- Use Google images where you can either upload an image or snap a picture (images.google.com)–not so accurate )-:
- Use an app called SnapSnake. Unfortunately at this point, it is not good for making quick identifications because they are doing everything manually and are going to email me the answer. It is in “beta” format, meaning it’s still being refined. I suspect it will eventually be a great tool like the other “Snap” apps so stay tuned. Update: I just got an answer from Jason at SnakeSnap–just took 20 minutes!: Thank you for submitting to SnakeSnap! Your snake is a harmless Eastern Milk Snake. These snakes spend a lot of time beneath rocks, logs and other surface debris where they feed on mice, lizards and even other snakes. Cheers!
Chris, of course, immediately identified the critter as a milk snake and knew he was in no danger.
Actually this summer I have had several occasions to use my iPhone to identify flora and fauna. First, let me share another “Snap” app.
- PlantSnap: This cool app will identify plants and seems pretty spot on. Below are two images. #1 is from a plant in my garden and # 2 is the identification screen from the app. I can verify that it is accurate because I have used gardening books to identify it in the past.
- PictureInsect: This fun app helps me learn about insects in my garden. There are all sorts of flying pollinators buzzing around, and I do not have a clue about them. I would like to learn more because of the crisis with our bee population. (https://www.greenandgrowing.org/bee-population-decline-facts/) Below are two images, once again from my garden. #1 is an image of the pollinator and # 2 is the identifying information. I had no idea what this insect is even though they are everywhere in my gardens.
One last story before I end. It was around supper time, and I was reading a good mystery with the pooch stretched out snoozing.
TWEET! I jumped and Sammy jerked his head up and looked around. It sounded like a bird the size of an eagle had tweeted right outside the slider on the deck. Of course, eagles don’t tweet. Two minutes later, TWEET!; only this time it was from the other side of the house. I decide to go outside, and see if I could identify this bird. As I walked along the house, the tweeting got a little frenzied. I thought maybe a fledgling was stranded, and the mother was warning me away. I backed off so as not to further agitate the bird. When I got back inside, Sammy the Pooch, is racing from window to window watching something. I look out and what do I see? A rather large woodchuck peering out from under my garden shed. Huh??? Woodchucks tweet? No, but they whistle. (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Groundhog) Sure enough, she whistled as we watched her. We now have what we call the “woodchuck hour” when Mrs. Woodchuck comes out for appetizers, and Sammy goes crazy trying to get to her through the window. Below is a video of her (or him). Unfortunately I didn’t capture the whistling.
Once again I was able to use my iPhone to increase my knowledge of the natural world that surrounds me. Very cool.
YouTube Channel: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC1rS22ccn11gtOXY2yp1yRw
Free Book: Building-confidence-using-your-iphone.pdf