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Eastern Gartersnake (pre-molting/shedding)

Thamnophis sirtalis sirtalis


An Eastern Gartersnake spotted at Huntley Meadows Park. Did you notice the fly (Family Muscidae) perching on the snake’s head, as shown in Photo 1 (of 3)? When I saw the fly through the camera viewfinder my first thought was, “Either pre-molting snakes are vision-impaired/blind or this fly has a death wish!” Turns out I was partly correct. "Blue-to-gray eyes are usually a sign that the snake is about a day away from molting/shedding its skin. When the eyes are blue-gray their vision is impaired — they can still see some movement and light versus dark, but not much detail." Source Credit: Kevin Munroe, Park Manager, Huntley Meadows Park, Fairfax County Park Authority. Special thanks to Kevin Munroe as well as all the BugGuide group (on Facebook) citizen scientists who helped me with this spotting, especially Michael Butler, Jeff Beane, and Aaron Belulz! Related Resource: Muscidae


Huntley Meadows Park, a 1,425 acre wetland area in Fairfax County, Virginia USA. Related Resource:


Copyright © 2013 Walter Sanford. All rights reserved.

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1 Comment

Nathan Kutok
Nathan Kutok 7 years ago

Nice pic

Spotted by

Virginia, USA

Spotted on Sep 27, 2013
Submitted on Dec 17, 2013

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