Hardy Palm and Subtropical Board
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There was -- maybe still is -- a major LPGA tournament held just outside Wilmington (Delaware) every year. Back in the 80s or 90s, one of the lady pros said she saw a water moccasin on the course. A local person said, "You must be mistaken. Water moccasins aren't found this far north." The lady, being from Dixie, replied, "I know what they look like, and THAT was a water moccasin!" So I guess you never know.
A stone's throw from the country club is an area called Alapocas Woods, where, it is said, copperheads abound. So, was it a copperhead? Was it a Northern Water Snake? Was it indeed a cottonmouth? Guess we'll never know.
Reptiles occur far further north than here. However, what seems to be a limiting factor is size. LARGE reptiles are very, very, very rare at this latitude east of the Rockies. This leads me to believe that small reptiles can get themselves into sheltering nooks and crannies to spend winter where it might be several degrees above the ambient air temperature. Northern snakes are known to conceal themselves in and around human dwellings in order to stay warm through winter. You can go the whole season and never know they're there!
Jim, Wilmington, DE, 7a
Last 30 Years Avg. Winter Low: 7.50F
Last 20 Years Avg. Winter Low: 8.35F
Last 10 Years Avg. Winter Low: 8.40F
Favorite Palms: Species: Phoenix Canariensis / Genus: Sabal