Wednesday, July 06, 2011

Cute and Not-so-cute

Carole and I see quite a lot of wildlife on our trips. We travel to places where we expect to see a lot of animals, so of course we're always on the lookout for creatures of every type and size. Going through my enormous files of digital photographs (one great thing that technology has brought us is the digital camera--my favorite toy!) I happened upon this trio of images.

One is the Key deer, a sub-species of the common white tailed deer. It's arguable that they're a sub-species at all, and not merely just a typical reduced island version. Limited space and food tells Mr. Evolution to reduce a creature's size (in many cases) to make survival a better bet.

It's breaking a number of laws to feed these very tiny deer. But they must be fed often because they tend to walk up to you if they see you. This group of does and fawns came out of the forest to panhandle. You really have to see these deer. The adults are very small indeed--no taller than a medium sized dog. And the fawns are ridiculously tiny.

The other shots are of the common brown water snake that lives here in the Carolinas. They look intimidating, and are often mistaken for the venomous cottonmouth moccasin. But actually this animal is a classic constrictor with no venomous bite at all. They kill their prey by squeezing it to death.

I saw these water snakes at Landsford's Canal State Park in South Carolina. This one was getting ready to molt. If you enlarge the photo you should be able to see that his eye looks milky. This is because the skin over his body (including his eyes) is almost ready to peel off. His markings are also largely hidden by the process.

Here was another of the same species farther down the river. You can see that since he is not molting his markings are quite evident.

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