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hoop snakes

Danger under the snow…

Take care out there kids, especially if you’re in the NCR. Beaucoup de neige!

These are also the ideal conditions for winter hoop snakes. These critters very much like it around the freezing mark and thrive especially well when the first snow of the season hits. This gives them adequate cover to stealthily sneak up on their prey. Of course, while small animals and occasionally cats are the hoops’ usual victims, they can be deadly to humans as well. So caution should be exercised at all times.

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Hoop snake sighting in Kanata right before Xmas: ain’t that grand?

Warning ! Warning! Warning!

A reader from Kanata, Ontario (just outside Ottawa) sent me this photo of snow hoop snake tracks AND what appears to be a baby hoop.

Hoop snake and baby hoop, Kanata, Ontario: December 20, 2010.

In the lower right, one can see where the baby hoop rolled off its mother and travelled on its own for a while.

Research (1) has indicated that baby hoops, at about 2 weeks of age will bite their tail and roll with the mother hoop… alternating between rolling on it’s own and hitching a ride inside it’s Mom’s hoop. It is very, very rare to see physical evidence of this phenomenon; which is what makes this photo all the more fascinating – and frightening!

This means that they are multiplying, folks!

In spite of the best efforts of many of us in our community, the damned things are proliferating! Thanks a bunch to all those morons at PETA who campaigned successfully against our movement to have these scourges declared a threat to national security and thus ensuring their eventual demise! Fools! All of you!!

So, and pay attention, if you live in south Kanata or Stittsville, PLEASE be careful! You all know what precautions to
take – we learned this back in Grade 2: wear high boots, avoid lingering at the bottom of hills (very important as these snow hoops love the City’s toboggan hills) and always take care when clearing snow off your car as hoops like to lie under the snow on car hoods.

If you have any questions, please ask and I’ll do my best to answer. We don’t want any horrible tragedies at this time of the year, so take care out there!

1. Much of the seminal research in this field was done by Professors Cameron, Lavergne and Fritzsche in the mid 80’s. But subsequent work has been carried out by Herring, Clavet and Vermette (Harvard, 1993), Dewis and Grant (Cornell, 1996), DeLeon and Sawicz (University of Warsaw, 2006). The most recent research was carried out by van Wesenbeeck in 2007 and published posthumously in 2008 after his much publicised demise brought about by falling into a Dutch hoop snake (Farancia abacura) breeding ground.

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Hoop snakes – update!

Those damned Aussies just don’t get it!

The hoop snake is one of the most dangerous critters on the planet – but Downunder, there are those who want to preserve this deadly evolutionary freak!

http://www.facebook.com/search/?q=hoop+snakes&init=quick#!/group.php?gid=13958243734&ref=search&sid=559540430.4234265237..1

For example, there are unconfirmed reports that the coyote problem outside of Ottawa is being exacerbated by winter hoops driving out the coyotes from their natural habitats. The hoop snakes – especially the young ones – roll into a tight hoop and invade the coyotes dens… and devour the young coyotes!

Even more disturbing is his photo sent to me this morning by a hoop watcher in Westboro… they are getting close! Watch out for them – especially around storm grates partially covered by snow!

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UPDATE! UPDATE!

While on a walk down the street this morning, I saw a very, very rare WINTER hoop snake!

While both I and my 6 year old were a little freaked out by this, we were in no imminent danger since the winterhoops cannot move quickly in slushy conditions and we were able to avoid the danger with little trouble.

Nonetheless, if in Canada at this time of the year, beware! And wear high boots and long pants!

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The squid-dude recently posted some scribblings about how, as a child growing up in B.C., he had to be wary of the tree octopus.

It reminded me of the times I was was warned to not tarry to long at the bottom of grassy hills for fear of being attacked by a hoop snake.

Never actually saw one, but my Dad swore that they were common enough to be feared.

whsshp4

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