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    pdermer's Avatar
    pdermer Posts: 7, Reputation: 1
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    #1

    Aug 26, 2013, 12:21 PM
    Please help ID insect or snake
    I saw an insect that was maybe 4-6" long, strikingly banded (cross body) black and red, even band widths - very snake-like coloration, around the thickness of a pencil (maybe smaller?), solid body, hidden in leaves, trying to get back into hole (avoided contact, did not freeze or roll up). Did not see if it had legs (don't think so). Did not notice head or tail. If it was a millipede, it was very round-bodied, without noticeable flattening for legs. If it was a snake, it was very stubby.
    Thank you for help identifying it.
    smoothy's Avatar
    smoothy Posts: 25,495, Reputation: 2853
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    #2

    Aug 26, 2013, 12:30 PM
    Where would this be geographically... Like South Africa, Sberia. an Island in the south Pacific?
    pdermer's Avatar
    pdermer Posts: 7, Reputation: 1
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    #3

    Aug 26, 2013, 12:33 PM
    Quote Originally Posted by smoothy View Post
    Where would this be geographically....Like South Africa, Sberia., an Island in the south Pacific?
    (Oops - I had included that earlier, but lost the info on editing.) This was in leaf litter on a wooded ridge in front of a cabin in Thorn Hill, TN, USA - Appalachian type communities.
    Thanks
    smoothy's Avatar
    smoothy Posts: 25,495, Reputation: 2853
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    #4

    Aug 26, 2013, 12:42 PM
    Thanks THAT will really narrow down possibilities. I'm really curious because I'm in the general part of the country and never saw an insect that large other than a dragonfly or Preying Mantis... neither one fit that description.

    However that does fit the description of a juvenile (as in recently hatched) Scarlet Kingsnake or the Scarletsnake.

    http://www.tn.gov/twra/pdfs/snakesposter.pdf
    pdermer's Avatar
    pdermer Posts: 7, Reputation: 1
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    #5

    Aug 26, 2013, 12:52 PM
    Quote Originally Posted by smoothy View Post
    Thanks THAT will really narrow down possibilities. I'm really curious because I'm in the general part of the country and never was in insect that large other than a dragonfly or Preying Mantis...neither one fit that description.

    Hosever that does fit the description of a juvenile (as in recently hatched) Scarlet Kingsnake or the Scarletsnake.

    http://www.tn.gov/twra/pdfs/snakesposter.pdf
    Thank you. I always thought juvenile snakes would be slender and fairly long for their age rather than just very short and stubby. It somewhat looked more snake-like than anything, but the length vs diameter just seemed more insect-like. And I would have thought the head & tail would have been more noticeable on a snake.
    smoothy's Avatar
    smoothy Posts: 25,495, Reputation: 2853
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    #6

    Aug 26, 2013, 12:54 PM
    Quote Originally Posted by pdermer View Post
    Thank you. I always thought juvenile snakes would be slender and fairly long for their age rather than just very short and stubby. It somewhat looked more snake-like than anything, but the length vs diameter just seemed more insect-like. And I would have thought the head & tail would have been more noticeable on a snake.
    I missed reading it but did you see it in its entirely.. head to tail? It could still be something else.
    pdermer's Avatar
    pdermer Posts: 7, Reputation: 1
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    #7

    Aug 26, 2013, 12:58 PM
    Yes - I tried to manipulate it for better viewing with a small stick. Its movement was more snake-like than millipede-y but it was so short I didn't see much slithering. I didn't get to see it much and I don't carry a camera.
    odinn7's Avatar
    odinn7 Posts: 7,691, Reputation: 1547
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    #8

    Aug 26, 2013, 01:17 PM
    How is this for the coloring and appearance?
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    pdermer's Avatar
    pdermer Posts: 7, Reputation: 1
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    #9

    Aug 26, 2013, 01:34 PM
    Hmmm - an interesting possibility. As I said, I didn't not the head or tail, didn't notice any forward sections, I noticed bands rather than spots and didn't notice a black stripe down the middle, but I'm not the most observant person in the world. The (assumed) size and stubbiness is appropriate. An interesting possibility. I wish I could find the bugger again - we'll be on the lookout. What is this?
    odinn7's Avatar
    odinn7 Posts: 7,691, Reputation: 1547
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    #10

    Aug 26, 2013, 01:38 PM
    It's commonly referred to as a Railroad Worm... pretty common in your area. They average about 3 inches in length.
    pdermer's Avatar
    pdermer Posts: 7, Reputation: 1
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    #11

    Aug 26, 2013, 01:43 PM
    Quote Originally Posted by odinn7 View Post
    It's commonly referred to as a Railroad Worm...pretty common in your area. They average about 3 inches in length.
    Thanks - I will be on the lookout again. I do know that we have glow-worms in the area (though hadn't noticed any close to where this was found). It didn't curl up, but this definitely could have been it. And the fact that they are common makes it more likely that this is what I saw.

    Your help is greatly appreciated.
    odinn7's Avatar
    odinn7 Posts: 7,691, Reputation: 1547
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    #12

    Aug 26, 2013, 01:49 PM
    If you can find one again, I'd love to see a picture if at all possible.

    Take care.
    pdermer's Avatar
    pdermer Posts: 7, Reputation: 1
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    #13

    Aug 26, 2013, 01:53 PM
    I'll coral it next time and get the camera. I realize it would make for much easier (and more accurate!) ID.
    Again, thanks
    Catsmine's Avatar
    Catsmine Posts: 3,827, Reputation: 739
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    #14

    Aug 26, 2013, 03:29 PM
    It may also be one of several scarlet snakes, not just the kingsnake. For Instance, the Florida Scarlet can range as far north as TN.

    Florida Scarlet Snake Information & Facts

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