DKM/SWLA Turkish sweetgum project June 2016 – river dice snakes

dice snake & fish - Turkey - ink pen -

dice snake & fish – Turkey – ink pen

dice snake, fish & damselflies (detail) - Turkey - gouache - GALIP KURKCU

dice snake, fish & damselflies (detail) – Turkey – gouache

dice snake and pond turtle - Turkey - gouache -

dice snake and pond turtle – Turkey – gouache

Towards the end of our time in Turkey we spent 2 sessions watching dice snakes on a river overhung by sweetgum. Turtles floating alongside them, shoals of small fish clearly visible in clear water and flourescent bright dragonflies in sparking light. I’ve never had a time where I could watch active snakes for prolonged periods. These were barely out of view for more than a few minutes at a time. We’d see them S’ing along the river edges, craning up to dangling vegetation and occasionally effortlessly transferring themselves up onto branches.

The only time we saw them catch something was when Nik and I were packing up and suddenly heard a plopping from a sedge clump right in front of us. First we saw one snake bracing itself amongst the sedges with a fish in its mouth, like a dog with a bone… then we realised there was another snake on the other end of the fish having a tug of war.

dice snake and fish - Turkey - gouache -

dice snake and fish – Turkey – gouache

We never figured out what all the activity was about. Sometimes the snakes would drape themselves over the riverside branches, basking. Maybe it was mating season and they were in search of partners or maybe just hunting frogs. We were sure that we were seeing 5 or so, but with the frequency of sightings it was probably more.