Vertebrate Incursion


Brazen chappy gives me the eye…

When walking in the river valley in spring, I often come across Garter snakes, but they usually notice me first and disappear into the undergrowth before I have a chance to take a photograph. This day was different. We were walking the trail above Highlands golf course when one slithered across our path and into the undergrowth. Yuet continued walking, but I stood still for a moment to watch it disappear. Then it also stopped and raised its head to look back at me. There was a gap in the undergrowth, so I slowly went down on my knees and moved forward into that space. The snake still did not move, just occasionally testing the air with its tongue.


…and then sticks tongue out at me.  (Click to animate)

My camera was ready with the flash set, but without a diffuser, so I was able to lean forward, supporting myself with one arm while holding the camera with the other hand. I managed to take a few shots, and still the snake did not move. I chanced putting on the diffuser, moving slowly so as not to startle it. This done, I gradually leaned forward again, this time resting on my elbows. I was able to take a few more shots before it finally snapped out of its reverie and slowly slithered out of sight.

Thanks for your patience, little snake.


This entry was posted in Alberta, Canada, close-up, Edmonton, photography, Season, Spring and tagged , , , , .


  1. Charles Bird 1 June, 2015 at 9:46 AM #

    Great images of a Wandering Garter Snake (Thamnophis elegans). See pages 104-106 and the image on page 137 of Tony Russell and Aaron Bauer’s, 2000 (2nd ed.), “The Amphibians and Reptiles of Alberta” (University of Calgary Press).

    • Adrian 1 June, 2015 at 10:26 AM #

      Thanks for the full ID, Charles! Just realized I failed to do that.

  2. Marolin Watson 3 June, 2015 at 6:26 AM #

    Brilliant photos, Adrian. What a beauty!

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