Photo of the Week – May 9, 2013

A red-sided garter snake (Thamnophis sirtalis).  The Nature Conservancy's Platte River Prairies, Nebraska

A red-sided garter snake (Thamnophis sirtalis). The Nature Conservancy’s Platte River Prairies, Nebraska.  Click on this or other photos for a larger, sharper image.

I ran across this beautiful garter snake in our Platte River Prairies yesterday.  Interestingly, it was almost exactly a year ago that I photographed a mating ball of red-sided garter snakes just a 1/2 mile from where I found this one.  This one may have been looking for love too, but I interrupted it just long enough to get a few photos.

I know snakes evoke strong emotions from many people – and not necessarily in a positive way.  It’s too bad, because if you can stand to look at them up close, they are really beautiful creatures.  I love to study the patterns of scales, especially on the head.  The scales look as if they might have been put together by a master stone mason.