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Sunday, July 8. 2012
I know two places on Cape Cod where you can see these big snakes in numbers on a sandy bank on a warm day in early Spring, trying to warm up from their hibernation by lounging lazily in the sun and looking for mating partners.
When it's still cool, they don't move much and do not display their lightning speed: they just glare at you and maybe twitch their tail.
It is indeed startling to encounter ten of these guys together, some 5-6' long, as you are walking along a sandy trail in early Springtime. They like edges, with some cover nearby, like water nearby whether salt or fresh, and they will climb trees if they feel like it. Entirely harmless (unless you are a small animal or a small snake: like Kronos, they will eat their young), but big - and always a wonder to see a big one and the average wife will jump to you for protection. That's always a good thing.
Subspecies of these handsome snakes are found across America, mainly east of the Rockies. You can read more about the Black Racer here.
We could use some more of them around here to eat the damn Norway Rats, but they'd eat our cute Chipmunks too. I noticed that you can buy them on the internets in case you want some around your place. With a little luck, they will eat the kittens too.
Seen a Black Snake lately? They are daytime hunters and no rat can outrun them. Wonderful critters which usually startle you when you encounter them. Most of the time, you don't see them because they stay out of your way.
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eh hm--sorry BD--I, am of the opinion that the only good snake is a dead snake. Specially after making several trips to the down under--geez louise do THEY HAVE *SNAKE*ISSUES!
I like snakes. Always have.
When I see snakes, I know I'm in a healthy and safe habitat. I will pick 'em up too, say, hello, and put them back.
Would not pick up a venomous one, though. Been bitten plenty of times by irritated non-venomous, especially smaller black racers and water snake. It's no big deal.
I found a beautiful Corn Snake at the farm last summer.
Brain not working. It was a Milk Snake, not a Corn. No Corn Snakes up here.
You sound like my beloved. Out walking up on the place couple of years ago and crossed paths with a 5'bull. Quiet navy guy, now scholar picked it up. Never expected that-it was so quiet and quick, as if the young boy in his soul had taken command. I understood from that time on that the young boy is always just below the surface.
Fishing on the Locksa one time, I came on a guy who had a half skinned timber rattler hanging in a tree, so big around you couldn't put your two hands around it, about ten feet long. Primitive, reptilian, kinda scary.
I like snakes, until they get really huge like that in a poisonous species -- then suddenly I feel that atavistic revulsion that I guess is what most people feel about all snakes all the time.
We have rattlers, cottonmouths, copperheads, and coral snakes here on the Texas Coastal Bend, in addition to a variety of non-poisonous snakes. We never molest any of them. It's common practice to keep all dogs here up to date on rattlesnake vaccine, which works like a charm. With three dogs in the household, we can assume that at least one will get snakebit every few months. We rarely see them, since we don't crash around in the bush at high speed the way the dogs do.
I've seen some big timber rattlers back in Indiana, some as big as black snakes. We always had a lot of copperheads, though they're small. I haven't seen even one snake here, though.
I had a student bring in a boa constrictor to show the class. It was about four feet long and thick. I couldn't get my two hands around it. Naturally, everyone wanted me to hold it which meant draping it around my shoulders and letting its giant head teleport in my 18 inches of private space. I'm not afraid of snakes so I said sure. The kid put it on me and the kids were thrilled. I was fine and then I was not. Suddenly I started sweating - and I don't sweat. Then I disappeared from my body but not before I said, "Take it off." Talk about primitive. I was the primitive one on that kiss with nature. My primal brain usurped my sang froid so fast that that scared me, too.
My buddies put a huge boa on my while I was sleeping once--that kind of freaked me out. A girlfriend threw her ferret into my bath in a similar kind of animal encounter, but that's a different story. (And if you're familiar, I did not kipe this story from the Big Lebowski, I swear).
Good for you Meta--proves your still able to respond in time! A real necessary skill for interacting with "nature".
It's wicked crazy to watch one of those six foot black snakes climb a tree. How their scales manage to cling to the bark...amazing. Watched one climb a good 30 feet up a shagbark hickory (at least on this tree you could see the places it could get a grip) once and another was "perched" forty feet up in an oak tree on the shores of the lake at the boy scout camp at which I worked.
Yes, they can climb. And if they are big enough, they don't have to worry about hawks.
I think they climb to look for eggs in bird's nests.
Any ideas on how to capture and relocate a black racer. I'm in Florida and have seen several of our bird nests emptied by the demons. Don't want to eradicate tham, just relocate them...
Those big black boys are fast. I have seen them in the bluebird boxes. Chipmunks be damned. All snakes are primitive, reptilian, and kinda scary. The really big ones really give me the fear.
When it comes to snakes, I'm with Emily Dickinson
But never met this fellow,
Attended or alone,
Without a tighter breathing,
And zero at the bone.
Few snakes in the NW, but I'm always on the lookout (and even hopeful of seeing one at a distance) when I'm on the eastside of the state.
We have a lot of these here. I accidentally killed two this year because they tried to crawl through the deer mesh I have around the veg garden. They got stuck and died and then the carrion beetles took care of them. Those carrion beetles are as efficient as the vultures.
I like snakes and think it's a blessing whenever I see one. My favorites are the rough green snakes that hang around the berry bushes and trees.
Black racers are great snakes. For many years, we had one who lived under our house. Actually, he probably lived under several houses on our side of the street. He (or they if there were more than one - who knows how many there were) ate mice and other rodents. Then one day, I saw a hawk flying away with a black snake - probably OUR black snake!!! Unfortunately, it was too late to save him. Then I found out another great thing about them...
A few summers ago, our next door neighbor was bit by a copperhead. It was very difficult for her, but I blame that hawk. It turns out that black snakes also eat copperheads! I never want to be without a black snake now. I don't pick them up or anything, but I love them. They are great to have around the house.
Local media in Columbia SC got a shot of a huge black snake, largest on record. No snake could be found, mystery solved when local naturalist determined it was a pair mating.
I have seen only two in my 25 years in the NW. Both were lying in the crack between two 3'x3' concrete sidewalk squares (different times, though). Didn't show up well.
Had a 5' racer climb our deck post after birds nest/eggs. Just wound and climbed 12'.
We have had at least one(about 4') in the yard or garden here in northern WV for years. Stays under the concrete porch. I saw a mating pair outside our attached garage 3 weeks ago. I don't bother them, although my wife was a bit concerned abouit the number of possible progeny.
I am getting ready to set a trap for a mouse in our kitchen. The "love birds" better get back to work.
Here in Gitchie Gumie, we have the Blue Racer (Coluber constrictor foxii) that, like yours, gets to be 5-6' long. Ours are notoriously farsighted, rather, feeling their prey and your approach through vibrations in the ground. Since they "run" towards the vibration thinking it's prey, they can have the appearance of chasing you, when actually, they don't know you from Adam (or a rabbit). They are harmless, unless you are said rabbit, will only bite in self defense, and are otherwise quite shy. Their mainly annoying habit is they tend to sleep in trees where it is cool and, when they fall asleep, sometimes fall out. Just when you're standing there. Scares the living crap out of you, I can tell you that, to have a 5' snake land at your feet when you're standing in the woods minding your own business. :-)