Tuesday, July 24, 2007
Black Rat Snake on One of the Farms
Your hero with a Black Rat Snake -- Elaphe obsoleta. It was all I could do not to leap about and yell "What a little ripper," but I managed to contain myself.
This fellow was about five feet long; they get about eight feet according to the books, though seven feet is about the best I have seen. These fellows are constrictors and pretty arboreal, though this one was found in the long grass next to a stream.
As the name suggests, Black Rat Snakes eat rats, mice and chipmunks, as well as eggs and small birds. Black Rat Snakes, in turn, are eaten by Red Fox, Blue Herons and Raccoon (all three of which were encountered this day). Old rotten stumps are a good place to look for them from about the middle of April forward.
This fellow put out a rather noxious smell, as Rat Snakes will when they are handled, and I released it into the water of the creek, about four feet down from the vertical embankment upon which we were standing. Splash! All snakes are great swimmers, and this one was across the creek and into the thick weeds before Brick, the red fell terrier, could dive in after it.