Sometimes You Win...

I have mentioned before I used to be the 'on call' guy for the local police and sheriff's departments for removing problem reptiles from folks houses. Oddly enough, that talent also got me one of the more interesting jobs of my younger days- after removing a tiny blacksnake from a local radio stations transmitter, I got to work the summer helping with setting up remotes and live broadcasts, and even worked for a couple of years as the overnight person on the FM station. Well, it seems that they never forgot me, and I got a frantic phone call late the other night begging me to come and coral a terrifying watercoppermossicanhead or the dreaded diamondbackrattlerhead.... and luckily this time, I was able to find and pick up the scary thing:






(click on image to enlarge)



The station owner was sure this harmless little fellow was a 'copperhead.' It isn't, obviously, or I'd not be holding it bare handed. Ok, boys and girls, here's your chance to show how smart you are: anyone who hasn't been through my snake identification class, let me hear your best guess on what we have here. I'll post the correct identification as soon as I get a correct guess, or in a few days if no one guesses correctly.


DING DING DING! WE HAVE A WINNER!
As noted in the comments section below, 'anonymous' correctly guessed our little patterned friend will soon be a large, solid black, 'black rat snake.' (Elaphe obsoleta)

Like the spots on a fawn, that give way to a solid color on an adult deer, the beautiful pattern on the baby snake will give way to a solid color as it grows into adulthood. (The timing varies greatly, depending mainly on how much food is available and other conditions related to growth.)

Also known as a blacksnake, rat snake, black racer (incorrectly) and a few other common names, this harmless fellow is the greatest mouse trap ever created by God. They will literally eat mice and small rats until they are so full they can't move properly, and will find a nice sunny rock to warm up on, and digest food, getting ready for a long winter. If you find one around your house, by all means, don't panic- just leave 'em alone and soon you won't have any mice problems, and they will wander off in search of a meal elsewhere.

Thanks to everyone who posted a comment or guess, and hopefully this will help you learn just a little about the many critters you find out in the woods.

Below is an adult male black rat snake I pulled out of a nice ladies garage. He was not a bit happy when this picture was taken, hence the gloves. (He was missing several inches of tail where someone had tried to kill him with a hoe, which would tend to make anyone a bit testy.)

8 comments:

Common American garden snake. ROTFLMAO.

September 14, 2009 at 6:46 PM  

Sorry, it's not a garden, or garder, snake... next?

September 14, 2009 at 8:59 PM  

wasn't paying attention to the reticulations. (garders are striped not reticulated) I stand corrected. I would hazard a guess that you have a free ranging Ball python or Royal python by some names based on the reticulation but I thought that the python family had more of a viper shape to the head than that. (its been a long while since I handled snakes and the memory is foggy)

September 15, 2009 at 8:46 PM  

No, none of the above... big hint here: one of the most common snakes in North America, and very much native to every state in the Southeast. And it does not have that patern long- only from birth to around 1 or 2 years, depending on how fast they grow.

If I don't get a correct response, I'll post the correct name soon.

September 15, 2009 at 8:51 PM  

Black snake...

September 16, 2009 at 7:55 AM  

Northern Watersnake?
http://www.herpsofnc.org/herps_of_NC/snakes/Nersip/Ner_sip.html

September 16, 2009 at 2:15 PM  

Congratulations Anonymous! You are correct sir, and may justly brag to all your co-workers from this day forward that you got the correct response first!

September 16, 2009 at 5:46 PM  

I have been informed that 'anonymous' was a 'she' and not a 'he.' So, apologies on the mistake and let's hear it for the knowledgeable ladies out there!

September 21, 2009 at 10:33 PM  

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