What Happened to This Snake??

Note the parallel marking on the head scales. I had not noticed these before.

I stumbled across an odd phenomenon today while out walking my dog. On the other side of the fence bordering our landscaped backyard from the rest of the property (a necessary precaution as we are surrounded by forest, coyotes, and hungry herbivores) I spied a small garter snake coiled near a large rock. This in itself was not unusual despite the fact that we had just been through a day and a half of raucous rain storms but it was a bit cool and the sight of one of my favorite wildlife representatives was welcome. I would have simply smiled and walked on but something about the serpent’s head caught my attention; it seemed to be swollen or something. I picked the snake up. It reacted sluggishly. Odd, but not entirely. Upon inspection, however, I noted something I had never seen before – nearly all of the reptile’s entire lower jaw was missing. Outside of that the serpent appeared completely healthy as is evident from the photos. There are no wounds along its entire body on the top or bottom scales, and the animal appears healthy. I am mystified as to what happened to this snake. An unfortunate encounter with some rodent perhaps? The little guy is in my care now and I will do the best I can to nurse it back to health. I’m sure Snake City Simon would approve. If you have any clue or have seen something similar please write me: reganjm@northwestwildlifeonline.com

HOOAH

JACK

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