The weather in the month of July was for the biggest part very nice and towards the end of the month Holland had its first official “heat wave”. But even the cooler or cloudy days in July are often good enough for the snakes to remain active.
The first snakes become active in the early hours when the sun starts to shine in the terrarium and often T. sirtalis and T.radix are active the earliest in the morning.
The male T.s.pickeringii was basking at 8.17 AM in the ferns on July 6th.
Twenty minutes later the largest T.radix female was basking on a trunk in the early sun rays, just like the newer male T.radix.
Nerodia sipedon insularum is always later during the day and around 9.45 AM one of the females was basking amidst of the beautiful Campanula flowers. Probably this female had shed her skin recently for the first time.
Also the hybrid between T.s.pickeringii and T. ordinoides had shed her skin for the first time in 2013 and she was basking at 9.45 AM on July 6th.
On warm days with high solar radiation the basking activity of the snakes is limited to the early morning hours and soon it gets too hot for the snakes to bask in the open. The snakes try to maintain their preferred body temperature by hiding in and crawling through the vegetation where they run less risk for predation by birds of prey for instance.
July 13th is a day that is predominantly cloudy and on such days the snakes often remain visible basking in the open though out the day.
The smaller banded female N. sipedon insularum is basking on the ferns at 11.37 AM. She has just shed her skin for the first time after hibernation.
One of the larger female N. sipedon insularum (that recently shed its skin for the first time or is about to do so) is basking around 11.40 AM.
Also the old female N.s.insularum has shed her skin for the first time recently and is basking at 11.40 AM.
The male T. sirtalis pickeringii shows the first signs of a shed the bluish grey (milky…) eyes and dull dorsal colors on July 13th. This will be his second shed of the season.
During warm weeks the snakes have a huge appetite and they empty the platter with smelt every time it is offered. Regardless of the time I offer the food (in the early morning, in the middle of the day or late in the evening).
On July 25th the orange male radix is basking with a full belly at 10 AM (it is still cloudy). The large female radix is basking on his side and she has a dull coloration as a sign of an upcoming shed, the second one of the season.
The male T.s.pickeringii is also basking at 10 AM with a full belly and he has just shed its skin for the second time. He is the first snake of the entire group outside that has shed its skin for the 2nd time this season.
One of the larger female N.s.insularum has shed its skin for the 1st time this year and left her skin floating in the pond as proof.
I also took 2 pictures of basking garter snakes on July 25th: the male radix (the new one with the yellow dorsal stripe) basking with a full belly on a Taxus shrub and the hybrid female pickeringii x ordinoides basking in the ferns with a full belly.