Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Mystery Snake

The other day we found a little black snake basking among the boulders in Cave Creek...the actual creek, not the town.  Turns out this might be a rare snake, the Mexican Garter, not seen in the area for decades. The black eyes and pale blue pinstripes are unique, not matching any of the common garters known in Arizona. Next week I'll join the ranger at the conservation area to scope out the habitat where we found the snake. There are preliminary plans to reintroduce the Mexican Garter there, but maybe they won't need to! 

Alas, our little herp turned out to be a young black-necked garter, very common in the area, but no less exciting. Watching this creature glide gracefully across the perennial pools among the cottonwoods in Cave Creek was as rare a sight as any in this dry desert on a cool November day. Along with the snake, we watched leopard frogs, dragonflies, water striders and hundreds of little minnows called longfin dace thriving in the spring-fed pools. Cattails and bulrushes grow thick there in contrast to the spiny cacti that cover the rocky slopes just a dozen feet above the creek.

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