A couple of days ago, I had the pleasure of spotting and photographing an Orange-striped Ribbonsnake at the Sequoyah National Wildlife Refuge in Oklahoma. As a wildlife photographer, I’m always thrilled when I get the chance to observe these shy creatures in their natural habitats.
I came across this particular Ribbonsnake in a area dense with vegetation. It was slowly slithering through the brush when I noticed a Green Tree Frog sitting nearby on a leaf. I immediately wondered if the snake would go after the frog and waited with bated breath to see what would happen. The Ribbonsnake edged closer to the frog, flicking its tongue to gather chemical cues from the air. It seemed to be sizing up the frog as its next meal. But then, surprisingly, the snake turned away and continued on its path, leaving the frog in peace.
While I was a bit disappointed not to witness a predator-prey interaction, I was still delighted to watch the Ribbonsnake’s natural behavior as it gracefully navigated through the wild grasses and foliage. Its slender jet-black body was so camouflaged that spotting it felt like discovering hidden treasure. And the vibrant orange-yellow stripes running down its back gave it a truly striking and unforgettable appearance.
Some unique facts about the Orange-striped Ribbonsnake: This relatively small species rarely exceeds two feet in length, allowing it to hunt stealthily among dense vegetation. The snake uses heat-sensing pits on its face to locate warm-blooded prey like frogs and lizards. During breeding season, males engage in combat dances, attempting to push each other over to win access to females. And when threatened, the Ribbonsnake produces a mild musk to deter predators.
Seeing species like the Orange-striped Ribbonsnake thriving in their natural environments is always a reward in itself for me as a wildlife photographer. I feel honored to get fleeting glimpses into the daily lives of these wild creatures. Though I didn’t get the hunting scene I anticipated, just being able to admire this snake’s smooth movements and hidden beauty in its natural habitat was a special wildlife encounter I will always cherish.
- 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 28, 2022 (08:12 A. M.)
- Exposure Mode: Manual
- Aperture: f8.0
- Shutter speed: 1/800 – 1/1250
- ISO: 4000 – 6400 (Auto)
- Focal Length: 500 mm