A hoppy meal

Luckily, a snake's stomach is bigger than its eyes. Photo by Mike Lynch.
Luckily, a snake’s stomach is bigger than its eyes. Photo by Mike Lynch.

Mike Lynch, an outdoors writer for the Adirondack Daily Enterprise, took this photo of a garter snake eating a toad near Raquette Falls last week.

On his blog True North,Mike says it took the snake about a half-hour to swallow the amphibian. He posted a later photo on his blog that shows only the toad’s legs dangling out of the snake’s mouth.

One of the northernmost-dwelling snakes in the world, the garter exists throughout New York State and is by far the most common snake found in the Adirondacks. Click here to see distribution maps of all the snakes in the state.

Scientists once believed that the garter was non-poisonous, but recent research shows that it produces a mild neurotoxin, according to Wikipedia. A bite may cause a rash or swelling in humans.  Another website says its saliva is toxic to small animals.

Garter snakes often secrete a foul whitish substance if picked up. I saw this firsthand when my excitable boy of a son, then twelve or so, found a giant garter on Pillsbury Mountain years ago.

About Phil Brown

Phil Brown edited the Adirondack Explorer from 1999 until his retirement in 2018. He continues to explore the park and to write for the publication and website.

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