Rath Family Nature Log
Over the past few years, I have been noting encounters with snakes and the odd other unusual animal on bits of paper and through photographs. This log is a consolidation of those notes. Photographs have been included where they exist.
Unless otherwise specified, the photos shown are the actual animal we observed.
Unless specifically identified, where this log identifies a Garter Snake, it may either be an Common Garter Snake or an Eastern Ribbon Snake; as I am not always sure myself which type of snake I have in hand. A helpful guide to telling these two snakes apart is available from GarterSnake.Info. If I am sure of the specific species observed, I have noted it; otherwise, the term Garter Snake as been generically used.
An excellent, and free, journal of herpetology recently began publication: Herpetological Conservation and Biology. This journal is published via the web and is freely downloadable. I highly recommend it to anyone interested in nature.
|1997-08-04 @ 1000h||Lake Dalhousie, ON||Garter Snake||71 cm||Found dead on Shore Rd. (north shore of lake).|
|Garter Snake||74 cm||Found dead on lake road at bottom of Toad Hill on 9th Concession B Rd.|
|1997-08-06 @ 1200h||Lake Dalhousie, ON||Garter Snake||33 cm||Caught near Rath cottage on Sugar Bush Hill Rd. Note, my parents have since sold the cottage.|
|1997-08-10 @ 1530h||McDonald's Corners Dump||Garter Snake||46 cm||Found dead at dump-site.|
|1997-08-30 @ midday||Near Lac Papineau, QC||Garter Snake||58 cm||Caught near the Steele's shack at a small lake near Lac Papineau.|
|Northern Water Snake||<30 cm||Sighted in water.|
|Garter Snake||~15 cm||Two sighted in grass.|
|Garter Snake||48 cm||Caught at lake shore.|
|Garter Snake||~30 cm||Sighted near lake.|
|2003-08-11 @ 1400h||Basin Head Provincial Park||Maritime Garter Snake||~45 cm||Caught along the shore of the stream that empties onto the ocean.|
|2006-08-19 @ 0730h||Orleans, ON||Praying Mantis (Unidentified)||~7 cm||Found on brick wall at the gas/petrol station 4 blocks from our home. We moved it to our home flower garden; which is where this photo was taken. Based upon my search of the Internet, this was probably a European Mantis.|
|2006-09-01 @ 1300h||Orleans, ON||Cross Spider / Garden Spider||~1.5 cm||This Garden Spider is one that is lighter in colour than we generally see in our garden. She has had her web in our flower garden for the past few week. See the 15 Sept. entry, below, for pictures of her mating dance.|
|2006-09-02 @ midday||Lac Philippe, QC||Bumble Bee||~1.5 cm||We saw hundreds of these bumble bees in a field of goldenrod next to a beaver pond about half a kilometre north of the lake. Given the devastation Canada's bumble bees have experienced due to mites, this sight was very heartening.|
|Monarch Butterfly Caterpillar||~4 cm||We saw two of these in milkweed next to the road.|
|Leopard Frog||~5 cm||We saw many, many of these at the edge of the road and the streams and ponds, north of the lake. They were mostly this size, and only the occasional frog was larger. We also saw the occasional bull frog.|
|Northern Red Bellied Snake||~30 cm||Found dead on the road north of the lake.|
|Turtle (Unidentified)||>20 cm||Observed sunning on a log in a beaver pond north of the lake.|
|Caterpillar (Unidentified)||~2 cm||Observed in plant at edge of road north of the lake.|
|Milkweed Tussock Moth Caterpillar||~1.2 cm||Found on ground at road's edge north of the lake.|
|2006-09-06 @ 1700h||Ottawa River Bicycle Path, Ottawa East, ON||Snapping Turtle Hatchling||~4 cm||Caught on bicycle path. Dark charcoal in colour (even its belly), the shell was not shiny, about 4 cm in diameter, its tail (which it kept wrapped tightly against itself) extended about 1/5 of the way around the circumference of the shell.|
|2006-09-07 @ 1600h||Ottawa River Bicycle Path, Ottawa East, ON||Painted Turtle||~5 cm||Caught on bicycle path.|
|2006-09-08 @ 1530h||Ottawa River Bicycle Path, Ottawa East, ON||Garter Snake||~30 cm||Caught on bicycle path. Very aggressive specimen. Bit me a couple of times and even managed to draw blood.|
|Garter Snake||~30 cm||Found dead on bicycle path.|
|2006-09-15 @ 1300h||Our home in Orleans, ON||Garden Spider||~1.5 cm||Observed in flower garden. This pair of spiders did their courtship dance, and then later in the afternoon we observed her (the larger of the two) wrapping and eating her newly consummated husband. This is the same specimen observed on 2 Sept. (see above).|
|Garden Spider||~0.75 to 1.5 cm||We have three of these darker brown Garden Spiders (a.k.a. Cross Spider) in our flower garden; the smallest is about 0.75 cm and the largest 1.5 cm. This one is the largest of the three.|
|2006-10-17 @ 1700h||Our home in Orleans, ON||Woodpecker (unidentified)||~30 cm||One of the trees in our yard died mid-summer, and a few days before it was removed we observed this woodpecker looking for his dinner.|
|2011-10-05 @ 1745h||Ned Brown Preserve, Schaumburg IL -- near the 7 mile marker of the Busse Woods Bicycle Trail||Red Bellied Snake||~20 cm||The largest red bellied snake I have ever seen. It was sunning itself on the paved pathway and would shortly have been road kill (lots of bicycles out that afternoon) if I hadn't moved it back into the forest.|
|2011-11-12 @ 1100h.||Warsaw Caves Conservation Area and Campground||Garter Snake||~30 cm||It's very late in the season to see a snake, here in Ontario, and this one was caught by Naomi while it sunning itself on a warm fall day.|