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 Post subject: Very Unusual Red Milk Snake Story That Started in 2004!
PostPosted: November 21st, 2017, 1:35 pm 
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Joined: June 7th, 2010, 3:44 pm
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Location: Camden County, Missouri
Would really like some expert opinions on this topic!

In 2004 we found a milk snake with completely brown blotches. I kept her in captivity for 13 years. Posted her pics on this forum at the time. This past August she escaped due to my carelessness. Very sad she was gone but on October 16th she was found again about 300 feet away under tin from the building she was kept. I thought that alone was amazing because she was originally found only about 200 feet from there. The first pic shows the building and the tree line where she was found. She was handled and measured and was there again 3 days later. Had thoughts of keeping her again but decided not to. 31 inches and looked good, so I had no regrets letting her go.

November 13th I opened the inside door to my snake room and THERE SHE WAS! Crawling on top of my bull snake cage!

How could she have found her way back and why? The room was cooling down and about 70 degrees inside that day.

Could it be possible her hibernating instincts to go back to her room were more powerful than to go back to where she was originally found? That's all I can come up with!!!!


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 Post subject: Re: Very Unusual Red Milk Snake Story That Started in 2004!
PostPosted: November 21st, 2017, 2:18 pm 
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Joined: June 7th, 2010, 3:44 pm
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Location: Camden County, Missouri
Having trouble down sizing the pics on my computer!


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 Post subject: Re: Very Unusual Red Milk Snake Story That Started in 2004!
PostPosted: November 21st, 2017, 7:58 pm 
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Joined: October 18th, 2011, 12:03 pm
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Gary I am no expert on telemetry or things like that, I am not going to speculate on homing instincts per hibernaculum, etcetera but I have had a lot of time around snakes and witnessed oddities of behavior that I would be reluctant to post, just because it would be so difficult to convey and convince others that I wasnt reading something into the event that i wanted to see, or that i was exaggerating. Two especially remarkable events of lost snakes returning/ being found come to mind personally, but not at such a distance or as impressive. Another circumstance involving a captive/escaped King Cobra that involved the grown son of an animal dealer in the 70s when he was a kid in Morrocco that was extremely credible - especially since the person was an especially humble and honest individual, and was reluctant to share the story.

The distance the Milk Snake traveled is compelling but doesnt strike an impossible or coincidental note.

I think it would be cool to examine and describe the details of the area. Did factors - a water feature, or other trail of resources or accommodating topography, incline, slope, a series of semi-substantial features lead the snake within recognizable scent range?

These are the things that are striking my matches at your post. Not as an expert but just thinking out loud here.


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 Post subject: Re: Very Unusual Red Milk Snake Story That Started in 2004!
PostPosted: November 21st, 2017, 10:39 pm 
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Joined: June 7th, 2010, 3:44 pm
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Location: Camden County, Missouri
Image

I give up!!!!! Went to windows 10 a couple years ago and my computer hasn't been the same since! Especially my photos, completely changed around and difficult to navigate. Seems no way to down size!

Maybe you can still go to my photobucket and see them.


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 Post subject: Re: Very Unusual Red Milk Snake Story That Started in 2004!
PostPosted: November 21st, 2017, 10:44 pm 
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Joined: June 7th, 2010, 3:44 pm
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Location: Camden County, Missouri
Thanks Kelly for the insight!

As you can see the building was about 300 feet from where the snake was found in October. Found just inside the tree line. The pasture was about 3 feet high in September and then was mowed to about 6 inches. No water barriers or anything that would deter or somehow lead the snake back there. Also there is a 6 x6 room inside that building where the snake was kept all those years.

The snake had many choices on where to go but she came back to where she was kept for 13 years! Can there be any logical explanation?


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 Post subject: Re: Very Unusual Red Milk Snake Story That Started in 2004!
PostPosted: November 21st, 2017, 11:40 pm 
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To be more accurate, im holding a lighter up to the absolute coolness of this event.

:thumb:


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 Post subject: Re: Very Unusual Red Milk Snake Story That Started in 2004!
PostPosted: November 22nd, 2017, 9:51 am 
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Gary I cant help but see this as yet unexplained proof of how acute snakes are, i am sure someone knowledgeable about air currents, even barometric factors and snake travel could have valuable data to share, although it is a good distance it is a fairly intimate range to study.

If I were you I would make it a personal project to pore over every detail, in manageable increments, someone who has done that kind of work could give details on method of that, also or you could research.


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 Post subject: Re: Very Unusual Red Milk Snake Story That Started in 2004!
PostPosted: November 22nd, 2017, 10:12 am 
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Joined: October 18th, 2011, 12:03 pm
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Location: San Francisco, California
Gary2sons wrote:
Thanks Kelly for the insight!

As you can see the building was about 300 feet from where the snake was found in October. Found just inside the tree line. The pasture was about 3 feet high in September and then was mowed to about 6 inches. No water barriers or anything that would deter or somehow lead the snake back there. Also there is a 6 x6 room inside that building where the snake was kept all those years.

The snake had many choices on where to go but she came back to where she was kept for 13 years! Can there be any logical explanation?



I have an untested and perhaps untestable theory about captivity that I have called The Utopia Effect. It has to do with the habituated sense of security fostered in captivity. Simplified, it is an acquired effect of abundant resources + the learned feature of absent predation and perhaps environmental hardship.

Ok that is all for me. I am very honored to share my views in light of your fascinating event.

Thanks Gary and Happy Thanksgiving.

Oh, and you better keep that snake, she has given your care quite a compliment :thumb:

-Kelly

Edit to add/clarify - I do not think all captive keeping methodologies induce what I have described. Or anything pro or con. Just describing an effect that can happen in some situations.


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 Post subject: Re: Very Unusual Red Milk Snake Story That Started in 2004!
PostPosted: November 22nd, 2017, 12:32 pm 
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Joined: June 7th, 2010, 3:44 pm
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Location: Camden County, Missouri
Thanks again for the insight Kelly!

Your Utopia Effect theory is interesting. Have to say I agree but probably only happens in the rarest of circumstances.

I think she did have the best care. Was handled occasionally and that is also a long time to spend in the same cage.

And yes it would be hard to give he up now! Never went through an emotional roller coaster over a pet snake before :lol:


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 Post subject: Re: Very Unusual Red Milk Snake Story That Started in 2004!
PostPosted: November 22nd, 2017, 2:32 pm 
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Joined: October 18th, 2011, 12:03 pm
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Its great you have 2 Sons; what a wonderful family story.

You guys will always remember it. What a beautiful snake as well.


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