The colubrid family is the largest of all the snake families and contains all of Pennsylvania's non-venomous species. The mother lays the eggs in a cluster, all in quick succession. Leaving the den during the spring months, the eastern milk snake immediately begins its search for a mate. Unlike humans, most animals tend to reproduce according to a particular rhythm. It is not a needle-like projection and cannot be used to penetrate the skin of prey, a nearby foe or humans. It seeks cover under flat rocks and logs or might even wriggle beneath the loose bark of a dead oak. In this case, a series of writhing undulations is used in which the sides of the body are pushed against some solid object such as a tree, stone or even the rough surface of the ground. Habitat. The range then splits, jumping the Allegheny Mountains to appear in the southeastern corner, where it extends as far west as Franklin County. Identification. The head is normally as wide as the neck (See Figure VI-13), perhaps a bit more so in some species. The snake usually strikes from a defensive S-curve posture. Keystone State. The young reptiles resemble their parents in appearance, although the juveniles may be a bit darker, and show more contrast in the pattern. Through a better understanding of these reptiles, fears can be overcome, mysteries unraveled and hatred diminished Armed with more knowledge, all of us can respect these animals for the important part they play in helping keep nature in check. These snakes are equipped with long, hollow fangs that actually are modified teeth located near the front of the upper jaw. A new segment is added each time the skin is shed, which could occur several times a year depending on the age of the snake. The ribs in turn are attached with muscle to large scales, or scutes, on the belly. The kingsnake becomes nocturnal during the hottest days of summer, but otherwise it is most active during the daylight hours. Snakes inhabit all the continents except Antarctica. The belly is white or cream-colored with dark more or less square splotches that create a checkerboard effect. As they age, shedding may occur from four to six times a year at first, slowing to only once or twice a year after they reach maturity. The black rat snake has a divided anal plate. 7-10 weeks later, in the height of summer, the hatchlings emerge into the world. At mealtime, the ringneck snake partially constricts its prey before attempting to swallow it. Salamanders are an important part of its diet, but the ringneck snake also takes worms, slugs and lizards. The skin is extremely elastic, and when distended, allows prey to be taken into the stomach where a large bulge shows that the snake has just enjoyed a meal. The head of the black rat snake is clearly defined in relation to the neck and body. Food. Most snakes will hatch in about 60 days. Identification. It is an Endangered Species of special concern. When not in any hurry, a snake uses a caterpillar-like movement called rectilinear locomotion (See Figure VI-1Ia). The hognose snake lays eggs usually in June or July, but sometimes as late as August. They are covered with a moist, glue-like substance that hardens and adheres to the eggs as it dries, becoming slightly yellowish in the process. The Eastern rat snake, like the Eastern racer, is a constrictor. In spite of its scientific name, the black racer is not a constrictor. Usually three rows of smaller and lighter blotches or spots stretch along each side. Different species of snakes employ different methods in obtaining and swallowing food. Snakes do not have movable eyelids and there are no external ear openings. The massasauga breeds primarily during July and August, giving birth to its young between July and early September. They are stationery and vulnerable during the birthing process, so it is important to be somewhere quiet and comfortable! They are hard and shaped like a capsule about 1 1/2 inches long. It is at least semi-aquatic, so one could expect to find the ribbon snake in wet meadows, bogs and marshes. The eastern smooth green snake is small and streamlined in appearance with the body ending in a long, tapered tail. Do not disregard advice from a professional veterinarian because of something you read here. The skin between its scales may be bluish white, yellow, red or orangish, although this coloration is not always evident. Turtle Photos They are elongated and one to two inches long. Seven to 10 inches long at birth, the young copperhead matures in two to three years. Counted in the hundreds, each vertebra is attached to a pair of ribs curving downward and around the body. As they became more slender, internal organs also underwent changes resulting in a less efficient heart and the loss of one lung. Popular Videos If you have recurring problems with pests, here’s what you can do … They are widest across the back, nearly rectangular but may become narrower as they continue down the sides. Some species of snake can store sperm inside their bodies. The belly becomes more slate gray as it approaches the tail. The fertilized eggs begin the process of development and growth in the oviduct. This process has fascinated people for ages because the prey sometimes exceeds the diameter of the snake. For example, the kingsnake lives in a huge range of habitats. It may seek relief from the hottest days of summer by becoming at least partially nocturnal. It's easy to understand how the eastern worm snake got its name. Snakes are fascinating creatures, always with a new surprise in store! This depends hugely on the snake species, and the hide spots its habitat has to offer. It's believed lizards went underground where they escaped the huge appetites of the dinosaurs. Most snakes can produce live young or lay eggs. Identification. Moss, grass, loose soil or sand all provide a buffer zone and protect the eggs from the outside world. Reproduction. The head is blunt and rounded and the tail is short with a sharp tip. 5 Step Pacman Frog Care: Are they good pets? to 15,000 B.C. Check out everything you need to know about snake eggs including some really interesting facts, as well as how to identify them. 6. They are usually off-white like most other eggs, and almost look like large tic tacs. The Jacobson's organ contains sensory cells able to identify chemical particles and transmits these sensations of taste-smell to the brain. This is because, for most snake species, once the eggs are laid, the female does not return to them.