Eel-eater and his kind

From Facebook friends, hot herpetological news. From Reptiles magazine, the story “Rainbow Snake Seen In Florida’s Ocala National Forest For First Time Since 1969” by John Virata on 2/20/20:

quoting from a Fish and Wildlife Research Institute posting from 2/19:

A Rare Sighting! Tracey Cauthen recently reported stumbling upon a ~4 ft Rainbow Snake, Farancia erytrogramma, while hiking in the Ocala National Forest.

The FWRI piece continues:

The Florida Museum of Natural History confirms this is the first record of this species in Marion County since 1969! Our biologists speculate the recent drawdown of Rodman Reservoir had this rainbow snake on the move.

Rainbow snakes are highly-aquatic, spending most of their life hidden amongst aquatic vegetation; seldom seen, even by herpetologists, due to their cryptic habits. Burrowing near creeks, lakes, marshes, and tidal mudflats, rainbow snakes specialize in eating eels, earning the nickname “eel moccasin”.

Photos and information about this special sighting were submitted to the Florida Museum of Natural History. Find out more about this secretive snake:

I was moved to appreciative poetry, of the free-verse variety:

Eel-eater and his kind

Eel-eater flashes his
Rainbow display in
Secret dirty spots

Only others of his kind
Suspect he lurks and

Feeds furtively in
Back-alley burrows

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