Magazine article Natural History

Overbite

Magazine article Natural History

Overbite

Article excerpt

"There's a snake hanging from my roof. Please come over and get it!" was the desperate plea from a neighbor of mine in Florida. When I arrived shortly thereafter, a medium-sized yellow rat snake was hanging from the roof with a large Cuban tree frog in its jaws. The eastern rat snake, Pantherophis alleghaniensis, is one of the country's largest constrictors, reaching a length of seven-and-a-half feet. It varies in color by region, from almost solid black in the northeastern states to a striking orange in the Everglades. Young individuals in the southeast consume lots of anole lizards and frogs before switching to warm-blooded prey, such as mice, rats, and birds, as they become larger and more powerful.

The Cuban tree frog (Osteopilus septentrionalis) is believed to have arrived in the Florida Keys sometime in the 1920s, and it has now colonized the entire state, with isolated reports from Georgia and South Carolina, too. …

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