The Predator and the Prey #OBX

When I was a little kid, I used to watch all of those nature shows. I believe that I did cringe when the predator would snare the prey; I know I would definitely now. One thing I remember is seeing a coiled snake and how it seemed like serendipity that their dinner would suddenly appear and they’d snatch it up.

On a recent visit to Southern Shores, NC–my particular destination of choice in OBX–I firsthand witnessed a completely different scenario unfold: snake as stalker.

Black Racer, 8/14/21, Southern Shores, NC ©Sascha Darlington

I had just finished reading a chapter and got up to walk around the pool (Pool, I wish I were there now!), when I looked up and went “Oh,” because I am definitely one to over-react. Heh. On the pool deck, near the far end of the pool, a black racer snake was coiled and his head was up as you would imagine a cobra’s to be, his tongue tasting the air. A foot away from me was a five-lined skink.

Here is a picture of the skink from that afternoon:

Southeastern Five-lined Skink, 8/9/21, Southern Shores, NC ©Sascha Darlington .

On that particular day, 8/9, I didn’t get a picture of the snake but the way he held his head can be seen in this image. Mr. Black Racer snake understood that the skink was closer to me than him and that his afternoon snack would have to wait another day.

A few days later as I was again at the pool, a fat little skink kept running around the chair where I was sitting. Immediately my thoughts conjured up the black racer that had been chasing a skink a few days earlier. Lo and behold, I looked over toward the house steps and there he was: Mr. Black Racer snake. This time I did have a chance to catch a few pictures. The one up above and the one below.

Black Racer seeking escape, 8/14/21, Southern Shores, NC ©Sascha Darlington

Note: By the way, in none of these photos of the snake am I that close. My wonderful little Canon P&S is known for its excellent zoom lens.

The little (actually quite fat; he must have just eaten but the picture angle was obviously good for him/her 😉 ) skink who got to live another few hours (at least) is pictured below:

Southeastern Five-lined Skink, 8/9/21, Southern Shores, NC ©Sascha Darlington

I had several take-aways from this experience.

  • The old adage: a snake is more afraid of you than you are of him was definitely true for this black racer. When he heard my voice, he retreated. He forgot about his luscious lizard meal and skedaddled.
  • Snakes do stalk their prey.
  • Each house I stay at in Southern Shores, despite being yards from each other, presents different wildlife viewing (I have more to come in the way of photos).
  • Finally, just writing about it, makes me realize again how Southern Shores is my happy place. 💖

And one observation:

When retelling this story, I will–subconsciously–use an inordinate number of “s” words for that very sibilant alliteration.

For more information:

About black racer snakes in NC

About the southeastern five-striped skink

16 replies »

    • I’ve gotten to be more fascinated as I’ve gotten older and any type of built-in prejudices have been reasoned away. I do try to give all animals a healthy distance. 🙂

      On a different note, any luck finding a dog?

      • Not yet. We’ve checked some rescue sites but some are a little iffy wanting money upfront which is non refundable, and ‘buying’ from a photo.

      • We also read where if ‘your dog’ missed the truck, you were expected to pay additional boarding fees until the next one was available.
        These are for rescues abroad though. Local centres have nothing at the moment. There’s one for us somewhere, but the dog has to choose us, of that we are adamant.

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