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Natural History/Field Observation Field observations of corn snakes, field collecting, or just general topics about the natural environment they are found in.

Rats Snakes are Blooming
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Old 05-21-2018, 06:31 PM   #1
Karl_Mcknight
Rats Snakes are Blooming

It's spring time in Franklin Tennessee and we are enjoying some 85 to 90 degree days right now. Rat Snakes are Blooming everywhere!

This friendly guy came to visit. No, it's not a pet, this is a wild Rat Snake. And we both enjoyed each other's company.
 
Old 05-22-2018, 08:40 PM   #2
Frank Pinello
Cool. Thanks for sharing that experience.
 
Old 05-22-2018, 11:50 PM   #3
Twolunger
In my younger days I was field herping on Harsen's Island in Michigan and caught a Black Rat snake that was 8 feet long. It was the largest rat snake that I had ever seen. The locals told me large ones are quite common on the island, which is dominated by swamps. I can't say it was very friendly, hissing and striking, and I soon let him go.
 
Old 06-01-2018, 01:55 PM   #4
Karl_Mcknight
I've only been bitten maybe a handfull of times in my 40+ years of catching snakes. Most of my bites have come from the local water snakes that will crawl into the canoe with you and then proceed to terrorize. The local rat snakes around here seem more curious than mean, and most of the time are quite chilled out. I usually lift them initially with a hook and hold their tail with my hand. I can tell from that point on if they will cooperate or not. I did not have my snake hook with me for this guy, but I did have my phone. I got quite close to him, but did not attempt to grab him. He looked me over, but acted as if he didn't really care. No hissing, tail rattling, or striking.
 
Old 06-01-2018, 04:28 PM   #5
Twolunger
I can't blame the rat snake for being perturbed. He was resting under an overturned fishing boat and I pulled him out into the open by the tail. I didn't realize how large he was or I may have thought better of it.
 
Old 06-02-2018, 12:03 AM   #6
Rich Z
Quote:
Originally Posted by Twolunger View Post
In my younger days I was field herping on Harsen's Island in Michigan and caught a Black Rat snake that was 8 feet long. It was the largest rat snake that I had ever seen. The locals told me large ones are quite common on the island, which is dominated by swamps. I can't say it was very friendly, hissing and striking, and I soon let him go.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Twolunger View Post
I can't blame the rat snake for being perturbed. He was resting under an overturned fishing boat and I pulled him out into the open by the tail. I didn't realize how large he was or I may have thought better of it.
When I lived in Maryland, I used to find black rat snakes quite common and found that they rarely resented being handled. But I think a lot depends on how you treat them. Get them afraid of you, and anger will soon follow afterwards.

A couple of black rat snake stories.

Back when I first met Connie's family in Delaware, her mom lived on the edge of farmland with a couple of dilapidated buildings nearby. Those buildings would be loaded with black rat snakes. Connie's mom was deathly afraid of them and would kill them every chance she got. So one day when I was over there, I just picked up a pretty large one that just laid loosely in my arms and walked over to her, showing how if you don't scare or anger them, they are perfectly harmless. I don't think I made much headway, but she did ask me about those smoky looking ones she would see with smoke blue eyes. Inspiration hit me and I told her that those were the ghosts of the black snakes she had killed. I think that got her attention! Not sure how she treated them after that, but I certainly did not hear about her killing any more of them.

On a sadder note, when my parents moved out to Fallston, MD, the house was on a slope that lead down to a stream that could easily be jumped over. This stream fed to a larger stream to the right that was not so easily crossed. On the other side of the small stream, up a rocky hillside, an old hunter's cabin had been built there long ago, and certainly long abandoned. Come to find out that a half a dozen really large black rat snakes lived around there and were often to be seen sunning in the tree next to that cabin. I would often go over there and just put my hands in the lower branches and flutter them like birds in distress in the leaves. Invariably the snakes would come down to investigate. Neither they nor I seemed to tire of this game.

But one day when I went over to the cabin, I was shattered to see carcasses of all the black rat snakes laying at the bottom of that tree. Apparently someone went over there and shot each and every one of them. I sometimes took a .22 pistol over there and shot at water bugs on the larger stream, and I must confess, had I stumbled on whoever shot those snakes while I had that .22, well, I might still be in prison today. I still get angry thinking about it.
 
Old 06-02-2018, 12:27 AM   #7
Twolunger
I was visiting a friend in North Carolina and he was befuddled because his pigeon's eggs were disappearing. I asked him if he saw any snakes around his loft, but he said he didn't. I told him I thought a snake was the culprit. Maybe a month later he told me that when he opened the door to his pigeon loft, a big black rat snake fell onto his shoulder. After he stopped shaking he sent me a picture of a nice 6 foot rat snake.
 

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