After crossing the boardwalk over Lake Worth Lagoon at John D. MacArthur State Park in North Palm Beach, we made it to the beach side. You can either take the handicap ramp up the dune to the beach access, or the multilevel of stairs. We chose the stairs.
I climbed the first set of stairs. Everything was fine. On the next set of stairs, underneath the bottom step something caught my eye.
Finding refuge from the heat, a snake relaxed on the support beam underneath the step!
It was a red rat snake, also known as a corn snake! The Pantherophis guttatus is a common, non-venomous constrictor. According to the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Committee, red rat snakes are the best climbing snakes in Florida, which explains how it got up to its aerial secret spot!
This particular red rat snake was vibrantly colored. Their colors can vary from yellow to tan to orange. They feast on small mammals, lizards, eggs, and sometimes even a bird.
Red rat snakes are known to inhabit mangrove forests, rockland hammocks, and pine rocklands. They are highly adaptable, as they have learned to deal with human expansion by thriving in urbanized environments.
Golden Silk Orb-Weaver Spiders look like they could induce arachnophobia into the fearless, but worry not, these common little Nephila clavipes are basically harmless to humans.
Also known as Banana Spiders, you will definitely run into these gals if you walk along any densely treed pathway, whether it be near the beach or through the mangroves.
Once the heebie jeebies subside, examine the web of one of these creatures. Mature Golden Silk Spiders will weave a web that appears to be made of, you guessed it, golden silk! Their webs are extensive, semi-permanent structures, meaning they will rebuild a piece when it gets destroyed, but they won’t keep making new webs like other spiders do. So watch your heads, tall people, or you may come face to face with one of these beautiful spiders!
Gold Silk Orb Weavers will only bite a human if they are disturbed. The bite will sting, but will not be worse than a bee sting. There will be discomfort, redness, and maybe a mark, but other than that you should be fine. (An allergic reaction could occur, and if there are more severe symptoms, seek medical help immediately.)