Dekay’s Brownsnake in the Don Valley: October 6, 2020

This little snake (about 17 inches) is named after the New York zoologist James E. Dekay.

Dekay’s Brownsnake

The brownsnake inhabits light woods, clearings, farms, fields and roadsides and prefers some dampness in its environment.

Dekay’s Brownsnake

The inconspicuous small size permits them to live in urban areas.

Dekay’s Brownsnake

The brownsnake restricts itself to a small home range such as a pile of rocks or a wood pile coming out only to sun itself.

Dekay’s Brownsnake

Diet consists of slugs, snails and earthworms.

Brown-lipped Snail
Dekay’s Brownsnake

Brownsnakes usually hibernate together in large numbers.

Dekay’s Brownsnake

The brownsnake is harmless and gentle and never attempts to bite.

Dekay’s Brownsnake

Park views:

Sugar Maple
Sugar Maple

Insects and birds:

Cabbage White Butterfly
Orange Sulphur Butterfly
Mallard (female)

Bird species list: mallard, turkey vulture, red-tailed hawk, hairy woodpecker, downy woodpecker, blue jay, black-capped chickadee, red-breasted nuthatch, American robin, ruby-crowned kinglet, northern cardinal, American goldfinch, song sparrow. (13 species)

Some botany:

Panicled Aster (Symphyotrichum lanceolatum)
Canada Goldenrod (Solidago canadensis)
Teasel (Dipsacus fullonum)
Mugwort (Artemisia vulgaris)
Heath Aster (Symphyotrichum ericoides)
Heath Aster (Symphyotrichum ericoides)
Poison Ivy (Toxicodendron rydbergii)
Staghorn Sumac (Rhus typhina)
Smooth Aster (Symphyotrichum laeve)
Arrow-leaved Aster (Symphyotrichum urophyllum)
Tansy (Tanacetum vulgare)
Canada Thistle (Cirsium pratense)
Butter-and-Eggs (Linaria vulgaris)
Squirrel-tail Grass (Hordeum jubatum)
New England Aster (Symphyotrichum novae-angliae)
Fragrant Sumac (Rhus aromatica)
Choke Cherry (Prunus virginiana)
Red-osier (Cornus sericea)
Black Maple (Acer nigrum)
Black Maple (Acer nigrum)
Crab Apples (Malus)
Japanese Knotweed (Fallopia japonica)
White Snakeroot (Ageratina altissima)

Morning group:

Afternoon group:


Not while the snow-shroud round dead earth is rolled,
And naked branches point to frozen skies.—
When orchards burn their lamps of fiery gold,
The grape glows like a jewel, and the corn
A sea of beauty and abundance lies,
Then the new year is born.                                         – Emma Lazarus (1849–87) 

Miles Hearn

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