Let your heart be a portal for the songs of the universe.

Sunday, June 9, 2013

Grassland Hunter

My morning trot with Cooper across the Llano Estacado prairie comes to an abrupt halt. Just ahead a Bullsnake winds effortlessly out of a Black-tailed Prairie Dog burrow. The grassland hunter continues its morning quest for prey across prairie straw. My heart still races from the aerobic workout of trail running. I take a few deep breaths to settle down, then cannot resist capturing images of this denizen of the Southern Great Plains biome. Normally a nearly daily event, this encounter is only my second this year. I surmise our deepening drought impacts snake prey opportunities and heretofore cold Spring conditions affect activity levels.
Our colubrid friend quickly assumes a telltale defensive posture--writhing coils, head elevated and cocked in an s-curve, spine-chilling warning hiss, and throaty rattle. The latter mimics a rattlesnake. This colubrid is particularly agitated. Although it's non-venomous I approach with caution.

While I jockey for a good photo angle, Cooper looks on from a respectful distance. Startlingly the snake launches its spring-loaded coils towards me. Several expletives cross my lips. I retreat several feet powered by a jolt of adrenaline. With renewed respect for its striking reach I manage several images and resume observations. My persistence causes the snake to make a hasty retreat into a prairie dog burrow.

- © Ilija Lukić 2013 -

Threat Alert

Warning Hiss

Writhing Serpent

Grassland Hunter (Bullsnake)


  1. Ilija, your gift of photography and storytelling are the best. You make me laugh out loud.

  2. Susan...glad to bring cheer and put a smile on your face. Thank you for your kind words. ILIJA.