Crow’s Nest: Black rat snake

June 21, 2018

By Daniel Barringer, Preserve Manager.

Photo: Daniel Barringer

This beautiful black rat snake (Pantherophis alleghaniensis) was resting on a stump in the back yard. A few hours before there were two of them there, but by the time I got there to take a photo only one remained.

This is the same species that we occasionally find in the barn (see previous post) and after gently urging them out of the barn the other day I can confirm what I’ve read in the literature: they emit a foul smell when disturbed. I have seen this species climb up in shrubs and also vibrate its tail in mimicry of a rattlesnake.

I’m happy to have them around as they help keep the mouse population down, though they also eat many other small animals and also birds’ eggs.