Thursday, October 17, 2013

Juvenile Bull Snake

After a successful morning of bush-wacking, and adventuring to new virgin territories. I stopped by my car for a bit of a pre-lunch (a banana and granola bar, if you were wondering). I quick changed into some shorts and my Merrell Trail Glove trail running shoes. These Bareform shoes are the lightest, quietest shoes my feet have ever have the pleasure of inhabiting. I bounced off to the next trail head feeling like my feet had wings.
This afternoon, I planned a quick 3 mile trail run before I would leave the park. Over-pass Trail was the habitat of focus for this trail run. A steep up hill switchback led to a mile stretch across the bluff ridge which over looked the great Missouri River, before the trail ducked back into the woods. The trail was pleasantly littered with walnuts and acorns, and I could feel every bump or root in the trail through the Vibram soles of my Trail Gloves. It was a perfect 73 degrees afternoon.
This little Bull snake was trying to warm up in the afternoon
sun, on the hiking trail.
As I was scanning the trail for any roots or tree branches that might trip me up, I noticed a familiar tan form with black blotches down the length of his slender body. A Bull snake!!! What a marvelous find! He was only a juvenile, I wouldn't put him past 3 years old, in my opinion. Bull snakes at this age can be great filming subjects, because they haven't experienced many human interactions yet.
So I methodically set down my pack and began setting up my filming gear. It's important to remember, snakes react to fast, sudden movements. Snakes can sense your foot step vibrations through specialized sensor organs in their bellies. So generally a snake knows your presences before you are aware for theirs. Yet snakes will often times just stay still; this is because they know they are relatively camouflaged and if they moved they would give away their position. Therefore, by using slow, normal movements, you act like you haven't noticed the snake, and he feels unthreatened and content with staying put. But once you leave the area, you can bet the snake will give up his camo position and find a safer place to chill.  
Here the little champ is trying to act big and mean by hissing.
This little Bull snake posed for a few pictures like a stud, and was generally docile for filming. He even mustered up a few tail rattles and hisses for some awesome talking points in the video. I released the little champ, snapped a few final pictures, and was on my way down the rest of the trail. Check out the YouTube video here  It turned out pretty good, besides the sun glare.
Filled with a sense of enrichment and satisfaction which only the wilderness can provide, I returned to my car and bid Ponca State Park "Good bye." Until I return next year, my wilderness adventures will continue on, and hopefully I can share my adventures with all who are interested via Wildimpact!!!

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