Natural Litter

SnakeSkin_1595At right is a piece of litter I love to find when I am walking, running or hiking. This is the first time that I found a snake shed in the wild. This one was coiled tightly almost in a ball and abandoned on the Riverwalk Greenway this morning. It is from a very large snake. I assume that it is probably from a Northern water snake, as the Harpeth River runs along the greenway. Northern water snakes are plentiful in the area and can grow to be quite large.

Since everything natural has a purpose, I wonder what other animals do with snake sheds. Box turtle shells become homes for smaller animals and calcium supplements for larger animals. How are snake sheds re-used in the wild? I am certain that they are a warning signal to other animals that snakes are present. But do birds use them for nests? Does any animal eat them?

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