Wildlife Photography | The Forest, Through His Eyes

Common Garter Snake in Upstate NY

Common Garter Snake | click to enlarge

Last week I mentioned one of my earliest memories as a child encountering the effects of littering on wildlife, specifically a garter snake I found that had died trying to come back out of a pop can. Snakes aren’t one of my favorite things in the world, but after recalling that childhood memory I thought I would go do snakes some justice and photograph some. Not too hard to do, there are several that can be found on my property. I don’t know if that’s a good thing or a bad thing 😉


I love the image above, click on it and enlarge it to the full size and you will see why. You can see the forest reflected through his eyes. The photographer is there too, on my belly and all 🙂


At one point he back up a smidgen as if to hide behind a blade of grass. If I can’t see you, you can’t see me.


Kelley Elizabeth Photography Common Garter Snake in Central NY

In Hiding | click to enlarge


To taste is to know. Well, I guess more appropriately, to smell is to know. At least for the snake. That forked tongue allows snakes to be able to differentiate which direction a smell comes from, to decipher the chemical world we all live in. Now you are probably thinking, “But Kelley, dude they have nostrils too, isn’t that how they smell?” Yes, snakes have an olfactory system too, but the tongue is used as part of the vomeronasal system, so that when it flickers, the receptors detect chemical information that is used complimentary to the olfactory system. The split tongue, the nostrils…it paints the whole picture for the snake concerning the world  in front of him (dinner, threat, potential mate). To speak with a forked tongue, then, tells more truth than what the phrase has come to mean in human culture.

Common garter snake in upstate NY by Kelley Elizabeth Photography

Common Garter Snake | click to enlarge


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