Young Northern Water Snake, Green Island Wetlands, Iowa ---------

We have seen a steep decline in the number of snakes during recent years, not just here in our woods above the Little Maquoketa River Valley. I have no explanation for that and when I talked to an officer from the DNR a few weeks ago he didn’t know either. We have great habitat for snakes, with wood and rock piles for hiding, and over the years we have recorded five different species here. Unfortunately since about 3 - 4 years we hardly see any. However, at least near the Mississippi River I see occasionally a Northern Water Snake.

This image was made last Friday in the Green Island Wetlands on one of the dykes that I call “snake alley”, just because I have seen snakes there more often than at any other places in the wetlands. This was a very young snake, probably not even two foot long. After a couple clicks from the car I got out and wanted to get low on the ground with the camera. The snake saw obviously its chance to get some shade and squeezed itself behind the left front tire before I was even out of the car. So, what now? I started the engine and moved carefully forward in order not to harm the critter. Well, that worked, when I got out of the car again the young Northern Water Snake was already in the water next to the dyke…