Rath Family Nature Log

Christopher Rath


Over the past few years, I have been noting encounters with snakes and the odd other unusual animal on bits of paper and through photographs.  This log is a consolidation of those notes.  Photographs have been included where they exist.

Observation Notes

Unless otherwise specified, the photos shown are the actual animal we observed.

Unless specifically identified, where this log identifies a Garter Snake, it may either be an Common Garter Snake or an Eastern Ribbon Snake; as I am not always sure myself which type of snake I have in hand.  A helpful guide to telling these two snakes apart is available from GarterSnake.Info.  If I am sure of the specific species observed, I have noted it; otherwise, the term Garter Snake as been generically used.

Related Information

An excellent, and free, journal of herpetology recently began publication: Herpetological Conservation and Biology.  This journal is published via the web and is freely downloadable.  I highly recommend it to anyone interested in nature.

Observation Log

Date Location Animal Size Details
1997-08-04 @ 1000h Lake Dalhousie, ON Garter Snake 71 cm Found dead on Shore Rd. (north shore of lake).
    Garter Snake 74 cm Found dead on lake road at bottom of Toad Hill on 9th Concession B Rd.
1997-08-06 @ 1200h Lake Dalhousie, ON Garter Snake 33 cm Caught near Rath cottage on Sugar Bush Hill Rd. Note, my parents have since sold the cottage.
1997-08-10 @ 1530h McDonald's Corners Dump Garter Snake 46 cm Found dead at dump-site.
1997-08-30 @ midday Near Lac Papineau, QC Garter Snake 58 cm Caught near the Steele's shack at a small lake near Lac Papineau.
    Northern Water Snake <30 cm Sighted in water.
    Garter Snake ~15 cm Two sighted in grass.
    Garter Snake 48 cm Caught at lake shore.
    Garter Snake ~30 cm Sighted near lake.
2003-08-11 @ 1400h Basin Head Provincial Park Maritime Garter Snake ~45 cm Caught along the shore of the stream that empties onto the ocean.
2006-08-19 @ 0730h Orleans, ON Praying Mantis (Unidentified) ~7 cm Praying MantisFound on brick wall at the gas/petrol station 4 blocks from our home. We moved it to our home flower garden; which is where this photo was taken.  Based upon my search of the Internet, this was probably a European Mantis.
2006-09-01 @ 1300h Orleans, ON Cross Spider / Garden Spider ~1.5 cm SpiderThis Garden Spider is one that is lighter in colour than we generally see in our garden.  She has had her web in our flower garden for the past few week.  See the 15 Sept. entry, below, for pictures of her mating dance.
2006-09-02 @ midday Lac Philippe, QC Bumble Bee ~1.5 cm Bumble BeeWe saw hundreds of these bumble bees in a field of goldenrod next to a beaver pond about half a kilometre north of the lake.  Given the devastation Canada's bumble bees have experienced due to mites, this sight was very heartening.
    Monarch Butterfly Caterpillar ~4 cm Monarch CaterpillarWe saw two of these in milkweed next to the road.
    Leopard Frog ~5 cm Leopard FrogLeopard FrogLeopard FrogWe saw many, many of these at the edge of the road and the streams and ponds, north of the lake. They were mostly this size, and only the occasional frog was larger.  We also saw the occasional bull frog.
    Northern Red Bellied Snake ~30 cm Red Belly Snake (back)Red Belly Snake (belly)Found dead on the road north of the lake.
    Turtle (Unidentified) >20 cm Turtle (Unidentified)Observed sunning on a log in a beaver pond north of the lake.
    Caterpillar (Unidentified) ~2 cm Caterpillar (Unidentified)Observed in plant at edge of road north of the lake.
    Milkweed Tussock Moth Caterpillar ~1.2 cm Caterpillar (Unidentified)Caterpillar (Unidentified)Found on ground at road's edge north of the lake.
2006-09-06 @ 1700h Ottawa River Bicycle Path, Ottawa East, ON Snapping Turtle Hatchling ~4 cm Caught on bicycle path.  Dark charcoal in colour (even its belly), the shell was not shiny, about 4 cm in diameter, its tail (which it kept wrapped tightly against itself) extended about 1/5 of the way around the circumference of the shell.
2006-09-07 @ 1600h Ottawa River Bicycle Path, Ottawa East, ON Painted Turtle ~5 cm Caught on bicycle path.
2006-09-08 @ 1530h Ottawa River Bicycle Path, Ottawa East, ON Garter Snake ~30 cm Garter SnakeCaught on bicycle path.  Very aggressive specimen.  Bit me a couple of times and even managed to draw blood.
    Garter Snake ~30 cm Dead Garter SnakeFound dead on bicycle path.
2006-09-15 @ 1300h Our home in Orleans, ON Garden Spider ~1.5 cm Spiders in mating dance (botton)Spiders in mating dance (top)Observed in flower garden.  This pair of spiders did their courtship dance, and then later in the afternoon we observed her (the larger of the two) wrapping and eating her  newly consummated husband.  This is the same specimen observed on 2 Sept. (see above).
    Garden Spider ~0.75 to 1.5 cm Spider (top)Spider (bottom)We have three of these darker brown Garden Spiders (a.k.a. Cross Spider) in our flower garden; the smallest is about 0.75 cm and the largest 1.5 cm.  This one is the largest of the three.
2006-10-17 @ 1700h Our home in Orleans, ON Woodpecker (unidentified) ~30 cm Woodpecker (back)Woodpecker (side)One of the trees in our yard died mid-summer, and a few days before it was removed we observed this woodpecker looking for his dinner.
2011-10-05 @ 1745h Ned Brown Preserve, Schaumburg IL -- near the 7 mile marker of the Busse Woods Bicycle Trail Red Bellied Snake ~20 cm The largest red bellied snake I have ever seen.  It was sunning itself on the paved pathway and would shortly have been road kill (lots of bicycles out that afternoon) if I hadn't moved it back into the forest.
2011-11-12 @ 1100h. Warsaw Caves Conservation Area and Campground Garter Snake ~30 cm Garter Snake (side) Garter Snake (front)It's very late in the season to see a snake, here in Ontario, and this one was caught by Naomi while it sunning itself on a warm fall day.


©Copyright 2006–2011, Christopher & Jean Rath
Telephone: 613-824-4584
Address: 1371 Major Rd., Ottawa, ON, Canada K1E 1H3
Last updated: 2015/02/14 @ 21:34:34 ( )