A uncommon rainbow snake was noticed slithering by means of a Florida forest final week, marking the primary time in 50 years the multicolored serpent has been seen within the space, specialists stated.
Tracey Cauthen stumbled upon the 4-foot rainbow snake (farancia erytrogramma) throughout a hike at Ocala Nationwide Forest in Marion County, the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Fee’s (FWC) analysis institute wrote on Fb.
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Footage present the reptile’s iridescent blue-black scales with stripes of crimson and pink alongside its sides and yellow streaks nearer to its stomach.
Cauthen’s discover marked the primary recorded sighting of the snake in Marion County since 1969, the Florida Museum of Pure Historical past confirmed to the FWC.
The nonvenomous species is a highly-aquatic snake, and can be known as an “eel moccasin” after its penchant for consuming eel, the company stated. The serpents stay a lot of their lives hidden underneath floating vegetation and burrowing close to creeks, lakes, marshes and tidal flats.
This subterranean conduct makes the species an unusual sight, even for herpetologists, those that research amphibians and reptiles, the company stated.
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FWC biologists imagine this snake made a uncommon look as a result of a current drawdown of the Rodman Reservoir pressured it out of its regular habitat.
Grownup rainbow snakes can develop between 40 to 50 inches, in keeping with the Florida Museum of Pure Historical past. If captured, the snake would possibly retaliate utilizing its pointed tail. However specialists say the tail is innocent and can’t break the pores and skin on a human hand.
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Whereas the snake might be discovered alongside the coast from Louisiana to Maryland, most sightings in Florida happen all through the Panhandle and northern peninsula, in keeping with the museum.