|Rough Earth Snake (Virginia striatula)|
|Same snake as above with a quarter for size reference.|
Finding this little guy reminded me of two previous encounters this year with miniscule snakes.
In May when we visited Little River Canyon National Preserve, I found this one on the trail as we hiked our way out of the canyon from an afternoon of fishing.
|Eastern Worm Snake (Carphophis amoenus)|
Back in April, Kelly found this one under the bark of a rotting log at Meeman-Shelby Forest State Park.
|Mississippi Ringneck Snake (Diadophis punctatus stictogenys)|
When Kelly found the Ringneck, I remember saying "I think that's the smallest snake I've ever seen." Little did I know I would soon find two more that would challenge it for the title. This is apparently my year to find tiny snakes.
Although the snakes we found were actually juveniles, these three species are all diminutive as adults. The Ringneck is the giant of the group with the potential to reach a whopping 14". The Earth Snake and the Worm Snake will be adult size at around 7" and may grow to 11".
Just in case you're wondering what such a tiny snake might eat- all three species eat earthworms. The Ringnecks are also known to enjoy a salamander meal occasionally, but most salamanders would be too large for them to eat. There are plenty of salamanders out there that would readily make a meal of the little guy in the photo above.
Sometimes the wonders of nature don't have to be big to be awe inspiring. When I pause to think about the tiny heart, lung (that's right, singular- they only have one fully developed and functional lung), and other organs that are carrying out the same physiological processes in those miniature serpents that are going on in my own body...
I am truly amazed.