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Snake caught mid-meal on Bear River embankment

Specialists say snake is most likely Sierra garter snake
By: Amber Marra, Journal Staff Writer
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When Terry Hurley took his son and daughter into the mountains near Colfax on Father's Day, he only expected to get some gold prospecting done.

Instead, he came away with a new appreciation for the intensity of nature.

"To me, this was Mother Nature at its best and worst," Hurley said.

While Hurley and his daughter, Ashley, 17, and son, Alex, 19, were getting down to sifting through the waters of the Bear River, Terry noticed a snake swim by his legs.

This prompted him to scoop the snake up with a shovel, revealing a brown trout clamped tightly in its jaws.

He later shared the photo at auburnjournal.com on June 25.

Terry deduced that the fish was a brown trout, but was not sure what kind of snake it could be.

"I'm no snake aficionado," he said.

Officials at the state Department of Fish and Game initially had some trouble identifying the snake from Terry's pictures because the head was not entirely clear. Janice Mackey, public information officer with the Department of Fish and Game, took Terry's pictures to the amphibian and reptile sector, which said the snake pictured is most likely a Sierra garter snake.

After Terry put the snake back in the river the snake slithered onto the bank tail-first where it began swallowing the fish.

"I showed the people on the beach and said ‘I bet you've never seen anything like that,' and put it in the river," Terry Hurley said.

That's when Ashley snapped the picture of the snake finishing the job on the bank.

Terry said he wasn't frightened by the snake, just surprised at the fish in its mouth.

"I've been around wild life and animals my whole life. I was not scared one bit," he said.

Amber Marra can be reached at amberm@goldcountrymedia.com. Follow her on Twitter @Amber_AJNews.