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Florida Scarlet Snake

11.01.2006 - This is a Florida Scarlet Snake - Cemophora coccinea coccinea. They're not terribly common here in central Florida, at least as far as I've seen. This is probably because they're primarily nocturnal and spend most of their time under heavy debris and rocks and other cover. This snake is not to be confused with either the Scarlet Kingsnake or the Coral Snake. Regarding the latter, the venomous one, it's important to realize that the Scarlet Snake is a harmless mimic, and is, in my opinion, very easy to differentiate. Not just with that silly "red touch yellow or red touch black" rhyme, but they look completely different. In fact, the Scarlet Snake pictured and the Scarlet King are more similar looking than either to the Coral. However, I'd say that the Scarlet King does a better job at mimicry, because the body and head shape is more similar. This snake pictured looks nothing like a Coral. It's got a pointed nose, for one thing. It's also got a white belly.

This particular snake had an obnoxious defensive tactic (if you can call it that) of twisting, twisting, twisting. It never stopped twisting. I had to take about 40 photos of it in order to get a few in which it wasn't all twisted up. I don't mean knotted up in a ball, I mean constantly twisting like a corkscrew. I don't know the strategy behind this tactic, but I will say that a friend of mine, as a child, would spin around when he felt frustrated or threatened, and he seems to think that it worked. So I suppose there's something to this strategy. Regardless, I found it annoying, and I was glad to release the snake and watch it corkscrew its way off to freedom. Anyway, if you find one of these snakes, realize that it's harmless, beautiful, possibly rare, and please don't kill it.

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Florida scarlet snake - The Florida scarlet snake is a relatively small, non-venomous snake found in North America. They are usually light in color with scarlet and red markings down their length. They are not the synonymous with scarlet king snakes. These serpents prefer to be active at night, feeding on other snakes and small animals. They commonly spend the daylight hours beneath fallen logs or piles of leaves. When it is time to breed, the scarlet snake will lay 3-8 eggs, and the group will usually hatch in the fall. Like all reptiles, the infant scarlet snakes receive no guidance or nurturing from their mother; they are immediately on their own. While three subspecies of scarlet snakes exist, the Florida scarlet snake can only be found on the Florida peninsula. Nuisance issues with Florida scarlet snakes are rare due to the animalís inclination to be active at night. When captured, they will continually squirm until their attacker gets frustrated and will then let go. This is not always a practical method, but it may prove effective against birds or other animals that might lose a grip on such a wiggly creature.

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