It was a sunny August morning as I strolled along the paved asphalt trail (Sandtown Trail) in Sequoyah National Wildlife Refuge, camera in hand. I hoped to spot some interesting wildlife, but never expected the small creature I came across that day. Blending perfectly with the gray asphalt was what looked like a twig, but on closer inspection turned out to be a DeKay’s Brownsnake!
Finding this tiny, docile snake in such an unlikely habitat was a surprise. We tend to think of snakes living in more natural environments, yet here was one that adapted to an unusual manmade setting. It reminded me that nature can sometimes reveal its marvels in unexpected places if we pay close attention.
A Closer Look at the DeKay’s Brownsnake
Reaching only 9-13 inches in length, the brown or reddish-brown DeKay’s Brownsnake is a master of camouflage with its earthy skin adorned with dark spots or bands. This allows it to hide in plain sight among the leaf litter and vegetation of its native North American habitats. While small, it plays an important ecological role by feeding on slugs, snails, and other invertebrates, helping control populations of these sometimes pesky species.
Despite being harmless to humans due to its non-venomous nature, habitat loss threatens the future of these snakes. As their woodland and wetland homes disappear due to urbanization and agriculture, so too do their food sources and breeding grounds.
Appreciating Nature’s Hidden Marvels
My brief encounter with such an elusive creature was a good reminder to appreciate the small wonders that surround us. The natural world is full of adaptability and resilience if we observe closely, even in the most unexpected of places. Keep an eye out on your own journeys; you never know what hidden gems you might spot!
Steve Creek – Wildlife Photographer
- Camera: Canon EOS R5
- Lens: RF100-500 mm F4.5-7.1 L IS USM
- Location: Sequoyah National Wildlife Refuge (Oklahoma)
- Date and Time Taken: August 2, 2022 (08:34 A. M.)
- Exposure Mode: Manual
- Aperture: f8
- Shutter speed: 1/500
- ISO: 8000 (Auto)
- Exposure Compensation: +0.7
- Focal Length: 500 mm