MEET THE MILK SNAKE AND AN OCTOPUS!

There is something beautiful about this snake. We found it dead on the road, sadly. It is a Milk Adder, so called because it was believed that these reptiles could milk a cow! What a wild idea! They have no need for cows or their milk, but can be found around farms where they help the farmer rid his property of unwanted rodents. Ours was too small to consume a mouse, but would have grown to as long as 3 feet, quite capable of eating a rodent.

The mottled design on its back (right drawing) suggests a venomous Timber Rattler or Copperhead, but these snakes are harmless to humans. Lacking venom, does not mean they won't bite if disturbed or threatened. A Milk Snake, has a patterned head that distinguishes it from other spotted snakes. If you are able to observe the underside of this snake, its scales take on a checkerboard design as shown in the drawing on the left.

This is an egg laying snake. Young snakes hatch from eggs in late August and into October. Upon hatching, they are 7 inches in length which is hard to believe, though I have never witnessed a "hatching"! These animals forage at night and prey is killed by constriction.

From snakes, I take you to a remarkable discovery on our shores. We were having the "usual" snorkel at low tide when an explorer handed me a Slipper Shell with something hiding under its "shelf". I poked at it and spiraling legs showed displeasure. Gradually, we coaxed the creature out and were amazed to see something never seen before (by us) in all our years of hunting along the coast. I brought it home and have tentatively identified the creature as an Octopus. I was told by a spokesman at the Darling Marine Laboratory that it is "a rare find, but not unheard of." I kept it for two days in my refrigerator, but let it go when it appeared to be losing its vitality. The picture shows it in motion with arms extended. Usually, it crouched with its 8 arms curled underneath. It was only about an inch in length. According to Roy Waldo Miner's FIELD BOOK OF SEASHORE LIFE, it fits the description of an Octopus biardii. What do you think?!

Ó8/18/02 Ronnie