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Chilly Snakes

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Rags View Drop Down
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    Posted: 14 Feb 2016 at 6:43pm
Since the previous reptile sightings on the 10th of this month it's been far too cold and damp for any self respecting reptiles to show themselves. Today there was heavy cloud cover for a good part of the day and a really chill wind. My wife and I decided to go out for a walk anyway hoping maybe to find some amphibian action (how our Valentines Days have changed!).

Walking past the spot where the Adders were basking last week, we were surprised to find two coiled together on the side of the bank. I believe these two were possibly the same snakes who were basking a few inches apart during the warmer afternoon on the 10th. This time they were coiled on top of each other.

From the 10th.


From today.


Another, well marked Adder was out on the top of the bank nearby.


Walking a short distance further we noticed two snakes coiled together. This time an Adder and a small Grass Snake.
 Before I took the photo the Grass Snake was coiled underneath the Adder and moved out onto the top. Unfortunately I think it sensed us watching and after about a minute slipped off into the undergrowth.


The Adder remains on it's own.


Pleased with our unexpected reptile activity on such a cold day we carried on. 50 yards along the bank two more snakes coiled together. Once again an Adder with a young Grass Snake.


Watching from a distance, the two snakes remained coiled together with the Grass Snake more active, moving around and through the coils of the unmoving adder.

A total of six Adders were seen. 2 coiled together, 2 coiled with Grass Snakes and 2 'basking' alone.

I have flipped both species under the same ground cover but not witnessed this behavior before. On our previous visit during warmer weather no snakes were actually intertwined. Are the snakes simply trying to find the best, warmest and least windy spot which happens to be already occupied by another snake. Or, are the snakes benefiting from any heat held by it's partner's coils? I guess when there is more direct sunlight it is beneficial for the snakes to be exposing as much of themselves to the rays as possible and better to bask alone.

Anybody else seen this behavior or have any thoughts, I'd be interested to hear?
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will View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote will Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 17 Feb 2016 at 3:43pm
Hi Ray - not sure I believe you about Valentine's Day having changed over the yearsWink  fantastic observations - especially the grassy and adder entwined.  For what it's worth, I think they naturally aggregate in the best basking microhabitats and then for sure gain warmth from pre-warmed snakes through conduction of heat.  I have seen a 'tower' of three or four adders coiled up with the lowest one crawling up to the top every so often, dislodging the upper ones so the whole thing collapses (like that childhood game of 'one potato' before the internet robbed kids of such simple pleasures...).
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Suzy Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 17 Feb 2016 at 5:43pm
Will a bit like penguins shuffling round so they all get a turn in the warmer centre.

Suz
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Liz Heard Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 17 Feb 2016 at 7:14pm
Great post - thanks Rags. Not seen any reptiles yet myself. Hasn't stopped me from having a very optimistic look for slow worms tho!
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Tom Omlette View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Tom Omlette Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 17 Feb 2016 at 9:25pm
great observations and pics. thanks for sharing.

tim

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Suzy Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 18 Feb 2016 at 8:35pm
Also meant to say, great pix.
After being ridiculously mild most of the winter, we now seem to be in a cold snap. Ice on ponds most days.
No sign of any of my slowies.
Suz
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Rags Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 19 Feb 2016 at 8:55am
Thanks for the comments.

Went back yesterday (18th) as the weather was perfect, nothing. What do I know?


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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Rags Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 19 Feb 2016 at 9:01am
       "not sure I believe you about Valentine's Day having changed over the yearsWink"

Thanks Will. Whatever Sue tells you is to be treated with suspicion. I used to be very romantic. We used to hold hands whilst searching for reptiles!
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will View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote will Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 19 Feb 2016 at 5:34pm
...sounds like a novel way to improve your chances (if you know what I mean)Wink
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