One drizzly Sunday afternoon in June, I was walking along the beach with my dog in tow and I started to head up to our cottage. I noticed some plastic garbage on the dune grasses and I bent down to pick up it up and right beside the trash was an enormous snake! I thought it was an Eastern Fox Snake – or for you scientific types a Pantherophis gloydi – but then it rattled! I was confused because I didn’t think Fox snakes had a rattle, so then I wondered if it was a Rattlesnake? Hmmm. Gingerly, I stepped away and called in an expert.
I took my pup back up to the cottage, called the Visitors Centre and told them of my discovery. The naturalist, Kevin Gevaert, came to meet me and he assured me it was a Fox Snake and that they do rattle if they feel threatened: the dog. Kevin gathered up the snake quite efficiently and put it in a bag (but not before letting me pet it and take some photos). He said they will check if it is tagged yet or not and will track it. Kevin said the Fox snake was one of the largest specimens he has seen in the park and thanked me for contacting them. I affectionately called the snake Buttons!
The next weekend, I biked down to the Visitors Centre to check on Buttons and there she was, warm and cozy in the tank. Lucky for me, Kevin was working that day and told me she was pregnant! How exciting! The vet told the park that he would be able to safely insert the tracking device into the snake and not disturb her unborn babies and then release her back into the woods. This way she can give birth in the wild like she should. (Kevin said they named her Andromeda. Such a lofty moniker!).
So, Andromeda is now in her natural habitat, being tracked by the park for her safety and for the protection of the species, and being a mom to her baby “buttons”!
- by Elizabeth Cooper, Website Editor