Snakes :: Summer Nature Study - Eva Varga

August 17, 20105

While we were gold panning along the Sixes River in July, the kiddos managed to discover a young little red racer snake. It appeared as though it had potentially been stepped on accidentally a short time before they’d found it as it had a bit of a kink in its tail.

True to his nature, Buddy was not apprehensive in the least. He just reached out and grabbed the snake. Within a few seconds he exclaimed, “Oooh. He’s biting me! But it doesn’t hurt.” In the photo, you can see the snakes mouth wide open.  I was surprised that MeiLi was willing to hold it after it had bit Buddy… but she proved me wrong!  You go girl! 😀

Yesterday, we met with our Roots & Shoots club for a nature study class along the river in town.  I purposely didn’t plan a focus for our gathering but allowed the kids time to freely explore the area confidant that they would encounter something of interest.  We were not disappointed.

We found a crayfish (whom was very elusive so we had to observe from afar),  mosquito larvae, water striders, a tadpole, a young frog, a tomato horntail caterpillar, & a very amenable western terrestrial garter snake! Such discoveries!  We collected numerous mosquito larvae which we brought home to observe the metamorphosis … as well as the caterpillar.  I’ll post more on these discoveries soon.

We had first observed a snake skin molt so we knew one was likely in the area.  It didn’t take long for one to make an appearance.  The kids were delighted and everyone endeavored to catch it.  Our youngest little naturalist was successful!  Go Megan!  

The snake was very friendly … not once did it try to bite but rather it would wrap its tail around the arm of whomever was holding it.  The kids exclaimed, “Ah! It’s hugging me!”  We were able to look him up in a field guide to learn that it is a Western Terrestrial Garter Snake. The kids must have spent 20 minutes taking turns holding the snake … my little guy was quite smitten with the snake and he didn’t want to share. We eventually released him.

Shortly thereafter, we gathered around a picnic table and journaled our discoveries.  I haven’t yet scanned in their work but will do so soon.


  • Barb-Harmony Art Mom

    August 17, 2010 at 8:11 pm

    Great entry…love the look on your daughter’s face as she holds the snake. I would love to use it as the OHC Photo of the Week. Let me know if that is okay with you.

    We have the garter snake here in our neck of the woods and I love the children’s comment that it was “hugging them”.

    Thanks so much for sharing your entry with the OHC.

  • School for Us

    August 18, 2010 at 2:35 am

    What a great looking snake! And a wonderful discovery.

  • Pebblekeeper

    September 2, 2010 at 5:45 pm

    I must have missed this! Love the photos and story!

  • Hodgepodgemom

    September 2, 2010 at 6:44 pm

    Wow. You all discovered so much! And I love the name of your nature club – to match the book! Brave souls, you are – handling snakes 🙂

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