Tuesday, June 3, 2014

CA kingsnake ~ 06/03/14 ~ Pinnacles

Ah, man!  The truck ahead of me ran over this gorgeously large snake on the road out of the Pinnacles west entrance.  I had to stop and check it out, because I don't get to see as many snakes as I would like, especially ones this large.  I'm sure some of my more squeamish readers will be glad to know I picked the PG-rated head shot; the other side was a bit gruesome with more blood and a cracked eye, which I found totally fascinating.  So, this is my first CA kingsnake I've ever seen... I think.  Certainly, I didn't know what it was until I got home and looked it up.

checkered underside of California kingsnake

I nudged it a little bit.  Dead.  So, I gingerly picked up its tail to flip it over.  It was still quite flexible.  Wow!  Look at that amazing belly pattern, like a checkerboard, kinda.  The way the curvy head scales transition to the orderly rectangular belly scales is amazing.  Reminds me of what they did to Mystique in the X-Men movies, eh-hem, to keep her modesty.

very large California kingsnake (over 3 1/2 feet?)

This has got to be an old snake to be so big, right?  I'm sad to see it become bird food.  I pulled it over to the side of the road, because we certainly don't need turkey vulture (or heaven forbid, condor) roadkill, too.  Does that happen?

The California Department of Fish and Wildlife has a downloadable .pdf of the CA kingsnake.  To open it up, click here.


John W. Wall said...

I have heard that is does happen, indeed, and have been told it's good to move the roadkill to a safe place. I've even moved dead skunks off the road. Once went to move a dead deer off the road, but it was so boiling with maggots that I could hear the noise they were making, and I chickened out.

Jennifer said...

Poor snake!

Katie (Nature ID) said...

Who knows, maybe with a snake, something would just fly off with it right away. Each time I've driven to the east side this year, there's been a dead wild pig with turkey vultures en masse. It's quite a sight on the road.