There’s a small pond near our house called Poplar Pond. It’s part of Long Branch Nature Center, one of three nature centers in Arlington County.
For some reason I’m obsessed with this little pond. I stop there at least once a week, if not more often. I love how the change in seasons affects the pond. Different critters are active at different times of the year and you never know what you’re going to see. I think I’ve taken a bazillion photos there.
Earlier this week I was on my way to the library and I stopped by the pond. I was shocked to see a small snake gliding around on the surface of the water. I hadn’t seen any snakes in the pond before.
As I walked around the pond, I saw several more snakes, including a large one who came out of the water to lay on the platform. (You can see the platform in the two photos above.) Soon she was joined by two smaller snakes and they proceeded to mate. I counted six snakes total.
I went inside the nature center and asked the naturalist about the snakes. He said they were Northern Watersnakes, very common to freshwater here, and that it’s mating season. These particular snakes give birth to live babies, usually between August and October.
This morning I went back to the pond armed with my camera, hoping to see the snakes again. One of them was resting on an exposed log, and there were two others swimming and basking in the sun. I walked all the way around the pond looking at the snakes, American bullfrogs, and Eastern Painted turtles.
One turtle climbed out of the water and walked over the top of the snake who was resting on the log. The snake didn’t seem to mind at all!