He slithered along the sand, about three feet long, emerging from a crack in the stone wall. Later the small crowd of onlooker were told by the DCR ranger that the Northern Water Snake’s family was probably somewhere close by, (that they tend to stay in family groupings.) He was harmless, the ranger told us, though if he bit you with his curved and retracted teeth, they would leave you with a painful reminder of the experience.
Walden was not his usual habitat, the ranger, a biologist and familiar with the species informed us. Northern Water Snakes usually prefer swamps to Walden’s clean reed-less floor, but given the local swamps have dried up in the drought, this little guy seemed to have found his way into the pond. (Similarly during the spring there was a mass migration of the painted turtle population from the dried up swamp across the road from Walden toward the pond …not all of the little guys made the crossing safely 😦 )
As the crowd grew and we gathered more information about the snake… a male and not yet fully grown. We also learnt about the way the female would nurture her young, producing a thin membrane inside her body in which to lay her eggs where they remained until hatched into live snake babies. (Only one of three species of snakes bear young in this manner.)
Inevitably my phone/camera came out …. so just in case you happen upon this little fella when your visiting walden you’ll know who he is !