Friday, July 11, 2014

Caught on camera

August 31. 2013 11:37PM

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Since this feature kicked off last October, readers have sent in pictures of mammals, birds and even bugs. About the only thing we haven’t featured are reptiles.

Until now.

With summer winding down, now is the perfect time to run a few snake photos sent in by readers. Each set of images are perfect examples of how voracious a snake’s appetite is. The photos of the Eastern milk snake were sent in by Bob Stiff. He shot them in Jackson Township in the summer of 2009, and they are amazing images of the milk snake attempting to swallow a garter snake of equal size. Note the un-hinged jaw in the first photo and the vivid color pattern of the milk snake, evidence that it had recently shed its skin.Unfortunately, Stiff reports that both snakes perished during the ordeal as the garter snake was simply too big for the milk snake to consume.

Eastern hognose snakes love to feast on frogs and toads, as does this one photographed by Leonard Reggie, who found the snake on his driveway in Kingston Township on July 13. The enormous toad simply looks too big for the hognose to swallow, and Reggie doesn’t know if the snake was successful. Considering the toad is at least three times the size of the snake’s head, it doesn’t seem possible. But the hognose is an expert at devouring a toad, so I wouldn’t bet against it. An interesting note, the non-venomous hognose snake isn’t too common and are considered a species of special concern in Pennsylvania.

And while we’re on the subject of predators and prey, Dave Powell sent this photo of a praying mantis feasting on another insect. Notice how it uses the spines on its front legs to hold the insect with a vice-like grip. Powell came upon the mantis eating its meal in his Plains Township backyard last summer.

Capture anything interesting on your handheld or trail camera? A nice buck, bear, coyote or anything unique? We’d love to see it. Each week, we’ll run photos from a reader’s trail camera on the Sunday Outdoors page. Email your photo, along with date and area it was taken (township is fine), and any other details to


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