The great outdoors can produce baffling mysteries. MVTimes Wild Side columnist Matt Pelikan tries his best to solve them. Got a question for the Wild Side? Send it to firstname.lastname@example.org.
This, from our Tisbury columnist:
“By the way, have you seen a large black snake recently? Black racers (Coluber constrictor) are important predators in grasslands, shrublands, and forest edges, all part of the Vineyard landscape. They are harmless to humans but control rodent populations, including the white-footed mice that host deer ticks (and Lyme disease). The Vineyard Conservation Society is helping to collect data on these snakes.”
So, the question is, do you know any more than this? Should we be rooting for these snakes?
Yes, we should be rooting for them, and it’s been quite a while since I’ve seen a black racer. I wrote a column on what I perceive to be the steady decline in snake numbers about a year ago. I think racers are especially challenged because they move around a great deal, which makes them vulnerable to getting road-killed.
The Vineyard Conservation Society web site asks: If you have a black racer sighting to share, please contact BiodiversityWorks via email with any information, such as the location of the sighting, the date (or month and year), the number of times you saw it in that area, and any photos you may have of the snake. Email biodiversityworksLiz@gmail.com with any info.
Found this on my grill cover last month. It’s disappeared since, so I wasn’t able to observe it for long. It reminded me of something you’d find under the sea. This is a close-up; the entire thing was about a half-inch long. Do you know what deposited this interesting cluster?
It’s a cluster of insect eggs, likely something in the stinkbug branch of the business, but that’s the best I can do.