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carole
06-08-2005, 02:51 PM
I met up with a group on the trail (on Mt. Major) looking off to the side at a snake. I have never seen one like it before. The woman said the tail rattled but I didn't see that. It was about 2 feet long and looked like a easten milk snake (http://www.enature.com/fieldguide/showSpeciesLG.asp?familyName=&shapeName=&curFamilyID=623&showType=5&rgnID=961&curGroupID=7&curPageNum=5&recnum=AR0818) more than a common water snake (http://www.enature.com/fieldguide/showSpeciesLG.asp?familyName=&shapeName=&curFamilyID=623&showType=5&rgnID=961&curGroupID=7&curPageNum=7&recnum=AR0821) (and there was no water nearby). Has anyone seen them on the trails? Why don't I have my camera when I need it! :(

GeorgeFitch
06-08-2005, 03:16 PM
Carole,

On Saturday I came across a snake while walking in some rocky woods in N. Chelmsford, MA. I looked in a book when I got home and I am 99% certain that it was a Timber Rattlesnake. The only other snake in the book that looked similar was the Milk Snake, like in your picture. The Milk Snake in your picture has a distinctive marking like a white "Y" on the back of the head or neck that the Timber Rattlesnake doesn't have. When I peered closer it immediately snapped into a coil and let's just say I kind of jumped back!

from National Audubon Society Field Guide to New England:

TIMBER RATTLESNAKE

PIT VIPER FAMILY

3' 9". Body thick. Head thick, triangular. Tail has silvery rattle. Dark phase has black head, dark gray body, black blotches edged in white, black tail. Pale phase yellowish brown, with dark brown blotches, black tail. CAUTION Poisonous; coils before striking. Retreat from rattled warning. HABITAT Wooded hills with rocky outcrops. RANGE From s NH and Lake Champlain south, and east to Blue Hills of e MA (very local).

SAR-EMT40
06-08-2005, 03:17 PM
Could it have been a Rat snake? Look at some of the subspecies on the page. The Grey in particular. I doubt that it had a rattle, whatever it was. You would have heard it. Besides, there are no rattlesnakes in the Whites to my knowledge. No posionous snakes at all in the Whites to my knowledge. At least I have read that over and over. :D

Eastern Rat Snake (http://www.enature.com/fieldguide/showSpeciesGS.asp?sort=1&curGroupID=99&display=1&area=99&searchText=rat+snake&curPageNum=2&recnum=AR0097)

Keith

carole
06-08-2005, 03:48 PM
GeorgeFitch: I immediately thought timber rattlesnake (http://www.enature.com/fieldguide/showSpeciesGS.asp?sort=1&curGroupID=99&display=1&area=99&searchText=snakes&curPageNum=105&recnum=AR0127) when the woman said the tail rattled. But looking it up the picture and description don't really fit. It was stretched out beside the trail cautious of us. The tail was no different in coloring than the body and the head wasn't triangular. We observed it for a bit until it turned toward us - it didn't coil and the tail didn't rattle at that point.

SAR-EMT40: The rat snake doesn't fit either as the Grey isn't local.

Barbarossa
06-08-2005, 06:22 PM
I am still trying to place my 3 year old snake sighting on Rattlesnake Mountain in Rumney, NH. This little guy was 'mean as a rattlesnake', as they say. He coiled up in a flash and showed no intent of backing down. Some snakes do rattle as a warning, even non-poisonous ones.

Maybe I should carry my camera more often.

GeorgeFitch
06-20-2005, 08:39 AM
I saw a milk snake Saturday morning by a stone wall. It was clearly a milk snake because it had the distinctive light colored "Y" mark on the back of its head. Yet, when I got close to it, it waved its tail very rapidly (even fast enough to create a "whirring" sound), just like a rattler would do.

So, I am now thinking that what Carole saw was indeed a milk snake pretending to be a rattlesnake.

Waumbek
06-20-2005, 09:01 AM
I saw a milk snake Saturday morning by a stone wall. It was clearly a milk snake because it had the distinctive light colored "Y" mark on the back of its head. Yet, when I got close to it, it waved its tail very rapidly (even fast enough to create a "whirring" sound), just like a rattler would do. So, I am now thinking that what Carole saw was indeed a milk snake pretending to be a rattlesnake.


Yes, milk snakes do mimic timber rattlers, but there have been extremely rare sightings of real rattlers in NH. Milk snakes are common.

A NH F&G FAQ:
"I think I saw a timber rattlesnake."

"We receive several of these calls throughout the spring and summer. The majority of the time, what individuals actually see is a milk snake. The milk snake is a common species in the state. It is a light-colored snake with copper-brown blotches going down its body. When startled, the milk snake will coil up and vibrate its tail so rapidly that it makes a buzzing noise which is often confused for the rattlesnake. All milk snakes will have a V or a Y shaped blotch on the top of their head just behind the eyes. So, if you should see a snake with blotches or one that is coiled up making a buzzing noise, look for the V or Y shape blotch on its head, which will confirm that it is indeed a milk snake. (Milk snakes are the only snake in New Hampshire that is a constrictor, it wraps around its prey-mice, small birds, and other snakes-and suffocates it. (The milk snake is non-poisonous)."

HikerBob
06-20-2005, 10:02 PM
After I photographed THIS (http://www.bobspics.com/imy/05-05-27/) (pics below the lupin) I I found THIS (http://www.umass.edu/nrec/snake_pit/) great web site. The site is about snakes in Massachusetts but the snakes don't know what state they are in :)

Lots of useful info.

Bob

Bob Kittredge
06-21-2005, 07:07 AM
Thanks for the link to the website, HB.

I was coming down the Red Spot on Monadnock a few years back when I encountered what I later IDed as a juvenile eastern milk snake. Lovely! I got to observe it for a minute or so before it slithered off.

McRat
06-22-2005, 10:02 PM
This one may be easy, but I have no idea what it was.

My daughter and I spotted this beauty in Canaan, NH.

ftp://209.113.253.5/Mystery%20Critters/namethatsnake.JPG

Maybe 20-24" long. Sorry for the large file size, but it should be hi-res enough to zoom in for detail.

NH_Mtn_Hiker
06-22-2005, 10:51 PM
Garter Snake. They are very common. My parents have a bunch of the living in the stone walls along their driveway. They can be a little stinky if you try to handle them, but they're generally non-aggressive. I wouldn't pick one up unless you were certain what it was, but as a kid I handled them all the time.:)


This one may be easy, but I have no idea what it was.

My daughter and I spotted this beauty in Canaan, NH.

ftp://209.113.253.5/Mystery%20Critters/namethatsnake.JPG

Maybe 20-24" long. Sorry for the large file size, but it should be hi-res enough to zoom in for detail.

carole
06-23-2005, 07:16 AM
eNature (http://www.enature.com/localguide/localguide_standard_display.asp?zipcode=03835&neuter=&showType=5&shapeName=&curGroupID=7&curFamilyID=623&curPageNum=2) is a fun site to identify things in your area, just type in your zip code and choose a species.