The Mystery Reptile Eggs


Reptile Eggs! They were buried in the newly turned ground of Yanna’s sweet potato patch. They were egg-shaped, leathery, at least an inch long, and ten in number. We had seen black rat snake eggs before; they were almost cylindrical and usually deposited in mulch piles or tucked into piles of hay. These eggs were buried in the dirt. I thought they had to be snapping turtle eggs. We reburied them in soil in a tank on the porch and kept them moist.

Almost two months later you can imagine our surprise when a rowdy bunch of big-eyed, feisty little snakes with reddish-brown blotches emerged. These little rascals had attitude! Even though they were not as thick as a pencil, they were not afraid to defend themselves by wildly snapping at any perceived threat. They would even strike at each other. In fact when we were trying to hold several of them to photograph, they would grab hold of one another and had to be pried loose.



These were baby black racers, one of the region’s two kinds of black snakes. They won’t develop their black coloration for several years.

For more on black snakes, check out Three Snakes in One—Blacksnake-ology 101 at:

Pick up my DVD with my story of the snake and the egg at a SALE PRICE!

While we are talking snakes, I might mention my one and only DVD, An Evening with Doug Elliott, has almost an hour and a half of my favorite “Stories, Songs, and Lore Celebrating the Natural World” and includes my somewhat famous true story of the snake and the egg. This DVD won a national Storytelling World award and we are celebrating with a half price sale—only $10 till the end of September 2015,  Check out the rest of the selection of books and recordings while you are on my website.