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Thursday, September 8, 2011

Black Snakes/ Adults and Babies

Last summer I spotted this adult black snake crawling across the yard. It looks as though it just finished a good meal. Last summer I didn't know anything about this snake except that it was black and non-poisonous. It left me alone and I would leave it alone.
Snakes are really such misunderstood creatures.......
Sometimes I feel we have a lot in common. ;)
They don't bother anyone, as a matter of fact snakes are just as scared of us as we are of them. To them we are the predators, well I suppose we ARE the predators, as most people kill them rather eagerly. A couple of months ago I was weeding around some plants and noticed a slight movement.... this one really scared me because it caught me off guard. I just let it stay there and I went on my way..... Can you see it? (picture below) you can click on the pictures for larger viewing.
Then today, after gardening all day around this bush, something caught my eye. I thought it was a piece of dead knotty branch and when I got closer to remove it, I realized it was a snake! Had it been there all day?!? I ran to get my camera so I could identify it. Then I thought it would be better to catch it in a glass jar and bring it to the computer with me for better ID.
I searched for what seemed an hour or more. There just isn't a lot of photos or information on baby snakes. I surfed from site to site, Utube videos, blogs, etc. then I stumbled upon two really great blog sites and that's how I knew beyond a doubt that this is a baby black rat snake! I then remembered the adult black snakes I had seen in the yard.
At first it was a toss up because it looked like it could be an Eastern milk snake...or a King I was really glad to get a positive ID.

I would like to thank the authors and photographers of the sites, they were so helpful! Their pics were wonderful and clear.
Check them out sometime!

I learned a lot about these black snakes today....I have rodents here that are becoming a pest for me and these snakes are here because they are hungry and the food is plentiful. They eat moles, voles, frogs, lizards (I wasn't to happy about that one) and other snakes, even the poison ones. So to me they are keepers and are welcome in my yard!
They are like any predator (in the natural world) they only kill what they can eat, no waste and no gluttons.
The baby snakes have marks on their underside, except for the upper inch or so, it's plain white.
This one is a little over a foot and as round as a pencil. It looks bigger in the pics but it is very tiny!
After identifying it I took it back to the bush where I found it and released it. I'll be looking out for it when I go out there from now on! ;)
Black snakes can lay up to 30 small eggs, in a woody area, but very few make it. I have lots of birds here and a few chickens so I'm sure they have a hard time living here.

I couldn't help myself from taking so many pictures of this tiny helpless creature. It stayed up in the bush for about an hour then it slithered down and on across my small compost pile.......

where it disappeared between the tarp. I'll make extra sure I'm careful out here from now on. You can click on the pics to make them larger.
I also learned something else about them, the pupils of their eyes are round not slatted meaning again non poisonous.
Please before you grab a hoe or shovel to kill something....look it up, identify it......after all, it has just as much of a right to live as you do!! Even if it is "just a snake"! Snakes are very beneficial to our environment.
I think we have thrown our planet life out of "kilter" by being so uninformed and afraid of things. We kill too many helpful things and suffer because of it. THEN pesticides and poisons have to come into the picture....GEEZE!!! Just let nature take care of itself, the rewards will be greater than our harmful efforts!
Until next time!


  1. I am glad you love snakes enough to save them! I couldnt get close enough to one to kill it or put it in a jar!! We have not had any here until the last few weeks, now they are everywhere!! I am just careful where I step!

  2. I'm so glad I saw this post this morning - just the other morning I was feeding a neighbor's horse while they are out of town, and Christian, Debra, and mama were waiting by the gate when Christian almost stepped on a snake that looked exactly like that! We have so many black snakes around here, but that is the first baby I think I've ever seen and I didn't know it was a black snake until I saw this blog and those pictures. We watched it for a while, and it slithered into the pasture. I'm glad to know it was a black snake and nothing venomous. XXXOOO

  3. Mckee, they are crawling right now looking for a place to bed down for the winter...they feel it in the air ;0) Love ya!

    Penny, I am so glad they didn't freak and kill it ;) You probably have so many because of the fields. They love rats and mice also. They even eat other snakes, not that I like that part because I'm really hoping they haven't eaten my glass snakes!!!
    Love ya! XXXOOO