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Tuesday, August 26, 2014 at 5:46 pm

A close up view of the Northern water snake

post by JIM NIGRO in animals, nature, outdoors

I was walking along the edge of a meadow last week hoping for pics of butterflies and wildflowers. The last thing I expected to come across was a pair of water snakes. Very large water snakes. Both specimens stretched over 40 inches in length.

Until this day, all water snakes I've encountered were either in the water or at the edge of a lake, stream or pond, their preferred habitat. These two were more than 20 yards from a pond loaded with frogs. A stone's throw in the opposite direction is a narrow, sluggish, alga-covered stream filled with tidbits on the water snake's menu.

Okay, so this pair of snakes was a bit out of their juristiction. No big deal. But a couple of days later I came across them again in the same location. And a third time less than a week later, same thing. Oddly enough, each time I saw them, the smaller snake, if you could call it that, was nearly stretched out while the darker, obviously older snake, was tightly looped, its head hidden in the meadow grass.

Northern water snakes mate around April - June and give birth between August and October. Could the larger of the two have been a female ready to give birth. Was the other the papa or might it have been hanging around hoping for an easy meal? For what it's worth, once the offspring are born there is no nurturing, young are immediately on their own.  

The Northern water snake is active both during the day and night and their prey list quite extensive. Mice, meadow voles, crayfish, frogs, fish, birds and other snakes just to name a few. In turn, the water snake is preyed upon by hawks, owls, herons, fox and possums. On the other hand, given the size of the water snakes pictured here, they may have little or nothing to fear except man.

The meadow and nearby fallow fields, now rife with wildflowers, were teeming with ground nesting bobolinks less than two months ago. I wouldn't be surprised if this pair of well fed serpents took advantage of the nesting season and helped themselves to eggs, fledglings and perhaps adult bobolinks caught off guard. 

This is the larger of the two doing its best to remain concealed. The cloudy  appearance of its eye indicates its getting ready to shed its skin. With age, the water snake's tell-tale markings begin to fade and eventually they will appear dark brown or black.

Though non-venomous, the northern water snake is a feisty sort, it will strike when cornered and bite repeatedly if handled. The bite of large water snake can be painful and its saliva contains an anticoagulant which will cause the bite to bleed profusely. In the South they are often mistaken for copperheads and water moccassins and as a result are sometimes killed on sight.  

Saturday, August 16, 2014 at 6:54 pm

Baxter is Genesee County's Top Dog

post by Howard B. Owens in animals, batavia, pets

When Baxter speaks he doesn't just say "woof." He says, "I love you." That made him Genesee County's Top Dog in the first-ever video dog trick contest sponsored by The Batavian and WBTA.

Baxter is owned by Joyce Zaremski

Here's Baxter's winning video.

Friday, August 15, 2014 at 2:48 pm

Photo: A finch among the sunflowers

post by Howard B. Owens in animals, outdoors

Pulled into my driveway this afternoon and saw a flash of yellow dancing through my sunflowers. There were two yellow birds -- finches, I think, eating seeds. I managed to get a photo of one before they took flight.

Thursday, August 14, 2014 at 9:20 am

UPDATED: Byron couple looking for missing cat, Zoe

post by Howard B. Owens in animals, byron, pets

Stefanie and Kevin are hoping you can help them find Zoe. She's been missing for a week now. This is an older picture. She's put on a little weight since it was taken. Her home is in the Byron area. If you've seen Zoe or have Zoe, call (585) 548-9961.

UPDATE Aug. 15: Zoe is home safe and sound, according to her very happy owners, Stefanie and Kevin!

Thursday, August 7, 2014 at 9:50 am

Owner looking for missing pomeranian, Vixie

post by Howard B. Owens in animals, pets

Vixie is missing and owner Alli Crawford is looking for her. She's a red pomeranian and was groomed recently. When she took off, she still had her leash attached. Alli has only had her about a week or so and she's very timid, Alli said. Vixie went missing in the area of Shepard Road about 2 p.m. yesterday. Alli can be contacted at (940) 368-3899.

UPDATE Thursday, Aug. 7, 6:13 p.m.: Vixie has been found and reunited with her family!

Monday, August 4, 2014 at 9:58 am

Lost dog found on Alibon Road, Oakfield

post by Howard B. Owens in animals, Oakfield, pets

Jeff Allen's daughter found this dog wandering on Albion Road, Oakfield, last night. Jeff said he checked with neighbors and nobody had seen the dog before. It appears to have been at large for some time. The dog has a collar but no tags. If it's your dog, contact Jeff at (585) 356-9705. The owner should be able to describe the collar or present proof of ownership.

UPDATE: All spiffed up:

Saturday, July 26, 2014 at 10:38 pm

Lost dog found in Elba

post by Howard B. Owens in animals, ebla, pets

This dog was found this evening wandering on Mechanic Street in Elba. It has tags, but the village hall is closed until Monday. If it's your dog, call Carol at (585) 757-6856.

Sunday, July 20, 2014 at 10:09 am

Dog reportedly kills 36 chickens in Alexander

post by Howard B. Owens in animals, alexander

A resident on Alexander Road near Stroh Road reports that a neighbor's dog has killed 36 of his chickens.

A deputy is responding.

Friday, July 18, 2014 at 3:14 pm

Photos: 4-H livestock auction at the Genesee County Fair

post by Howard B. Owens in animals, 4-H, agriculture, Genesee County Fair

One of the great annual community events in Genesee County is the 4-H livestock auction at the fair. This year's auction was held last night. The event draws people from throughout Genesee County -- not just farmers and those involved in ag. The event is the culimination of a lot of hard work by 4-H members in raising their sheep, goats, swine and beef. 

Auctioneers from William Kent kept the bids flowing.

To purchase prints, click here.

Monday, July 14, 2014 at 1:17 pm

UPDATED: Dog found in Attica on Friday night - Is your pet missing?

post by Billie Owens in animals, pets

This dog was found in Attica near Dollar General and Thompson Motors. It wandered into Lisa Gautieri's backyard.

"She's super well behaved and great with our two dogs," says Lisa. "I know she has a family that is missing her and worried."

Lisa can be reached at (585) 750-1480.

UPDATE 8:35 p.m.: The dog has been reunited with its family and all is well.

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