Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Snakes in a Drain

Did a stream cleanup on Saturday with Arlingtonians for a Clean Environment and Arlington CRM at Four Mile Run through Barcroft Park: Plastic and styrofoam containers are usually among the most common items found. They're thrown on the street or are blown out of trash cans and wash down into the stream: What kills me is that virtually all of the water and soda bottles we found had caps on them. Like the person who bought them said, "I don't care enough to make sure this bottle gets in the trash and stays there. But I'm not careless - I'm keeping the cap on!"

This is the really gross part, though. Get up close to the bank of virtually any Arlington stream and this is what you'll see:
Cigarette butts and tiny bits of styrofoam. After years of doing these cleanups, I've pretty much given up on collecting cigarette butts and styrofoam peanuts. You could spend all day going through it with a fine-toothed comb and never get it all. Gotta focus on the big stuff, and there's plenty of that to keep you busy.

At the end of the cleanup, I went to cross Four Mile Run at a raised concrete ridge, the remnants of the Army Corps of Engineers' efforts to solve Four Mile Run's flooding problems by turning it into a giant storm drain. As I was about to turn onto the ridge, I noticed a snake about a yard away from my ankle, sunning itself in a piece of rebar: I'm not sure who got out of the way faster, me or the snake. But as you can see, it wasn't exactly cowering in terror, just waiting for me to move on:

I turned around and there was another snake in the water, this one much smaller: Any snake experts out there able to identify what kind these may be? The coloration and size seem to match up well with the glossy crayfish snake, but Arlington seems out of their range.

UPDATE: Commenter suggests a plainbelly water snake, what do you think?
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