I woke up this morning to a fun game of "What's that smell?" The offending odor smelled not unlike burnt dog hair and there was an unrecognizable hum that I have yet to hear in my first 4 days in this apartment. Anything that smells as if something is aflame rouses me from sleep instantly. Not to worry. It was just the heat kicking on for the first time. Yes it does get cold in southwest Florida. Apparently someone forgot to close the window and it got down to 53 degrees inside overnight.
It's my last day of "vacation" so I decided to get away from the moving boxes and get out into the Florida cold. There's a great little town park called Six-Mile Cypress Slough, a good spot to walk the boardwalks, get back into the sub-tropical wilderness and brush up on my natural history before my first eco-tour into the Everglades on Monday.
It warmed up to 60 degrees, just below average for February in Fort Myers. On a cold, cloudy day, i didn't expect to see this curled up hoping for some sun.
The Water Moccasin or Cottonmouth (Agkistrodon piscivorus) is one of several poisonous snakes found around here. I'm still looking to get confirmation as there are other non-poisonous species that mimic the Cottonmouth. But the large head and alternating light and dark bands suggest that this 2-footer is a juvenile. As an ecto-therm or cold-blooded reptile, snakes need external warmth to warm themselves so this one, although a few feet away, was not in a peppy mood.
On my way out, Mr. Dumbleton (my generic name for any numbskull) and his spawn had broken off Cypress branches and were lookin' to "whack that ugly snake". I'm sure they weren't bright enough or observant enough to spot the beautiful snake, resting on a cypress stump near the boardwalk.
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All Photos © Pete Corradino