Wild New Jersey Exclusive: The Kingdom of the Snakes
Photos by David Wheeler and Kayla Halsted, Edison Wetlands Association.
Like a taste of Amazonia brought to Morris County, the Great Swamp is transformed each April into a snake paradise. Wild New Jersey's David Wheeler toured this serpent eden this past weekend, and found snakes draped around branches, swimming through the shallow waters, slithering along the leafy forest floor, and coiled together for warmth - four and five together - on countless tiny mossy tree-islands.
The spectacle is a sight to behold, with scores of snakes visible along a single boardwalk trail. Northern water snakes make up most of the numbers, though garter snakes were also seen regularly. Painted turtles and bullfrogs were joined by a spotted turtle - a state species of special concern - on the island hammocks.
For those of you a bit squeamish about visiting such a place, I have good news - the snakes keep to themselves and steer clear of the elevated boardwalk trails. Click here for many more photos.