While out walking this morning, I cut through a seldom used path and came eyeball to eyeball with a snoozing garter snake. He was all curled up in a blackberry bramble.
I was pretty sure he was asleep as he didn't move when I took his photo. When I got back home, I looked it up and sure enough, snakes sleep with their eyes open. Seems they have no eyelids, so they can never close their eyes or blink. Instead of eyelids, they have something called spectacles (or brilles), a thin, clear membrane that covers their corneas. Evidently, they can also close their retinas when they are sleeping.
I'm not a big fan of snakes, but to my knowledge we don't have any poisonous snakes slinking around Farm Dover and in fact, we hardly ever see these harmless garter snakes. Like all snakes, they are carnivores and will eat almost any creature they are capable of overpowering: slugs, earthworms. leeches, lizards, amphibians, ants, crickets, toads, minnows and rodents. Much to my dismay, they also sometimes eat bird eggs.
In turn, they are eaten by large fish, bullfrogs, snapping turtles, milk snakes, crows, hawks, great blue herons, raccoons, foxes, squirrels and shrews.
I left him there in the blackberry bramble, sunning and snoozing. I figure there is room for all creatures here at Farm Dover.