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Monday, June 22. 2015
Seen in a friend's driveway in CT this weekend. I always love to see snakes, even the poisonous ones we have around these parts - Copperheads and Rattlers. But this guy isn't that.
My Dad had good snake eyes. He once found us a baby Timber Rattler about 8" long.
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Looks like some sort of rat snake, but I'm not familiar with the snakes in your part of the country. I'm pretty sure it's non poisonous.
I say Eastern Milk Snake with a high degree of confidence. Don't expect the next one you see to look exactly the same, they're highly variable and to confuse the issue the young of a few other snakes you have in Conn look very much like milk snakes but mature to very different colorations.
I would say a corn snake which is a rat snake but I am not sure they live that far north. Milk snakes are in your area and some of them are easily confused with coral snakes. A milk snake is a king snake. Milk or corn, they are good guys to have around and non-venomous. They are on the do not kill list.
James, Atlantic coastal rat snakes mature into what most folks call simply black snakes. The young seldom have as much color as BD's snake, mostly just dark and light grays and tans, the same with Black Racers. Juvenile Northern Water Snakes can look much like that one but there's the question of habitat. And a water snake probably would have been trying to eat the photographer.
To confuse the issue, I had a large Hognose this spring that looked like the snake in the pic until it spread its head when I reached for it.
To further complicate the id, assuming that's a nominal 4x4 the snake could be a juvenile rat or racer. But I say Milk.
"[The Hog-nosed snake] is perfectly harmless, but he pretends to be a deadly african Puff Adder. Then he wonders why people kill him."
- Will Cuppy, The Great Bustard
I agree. It's a milk snake, very common here in Connecticut, just not as common as the Connecticut political snake, which seldom shows its true colors.
In the deepest South, that would be a night crawler, or maybe an extra large red worm.
Eastern milk snake
One was on our driveway right where my sister and I would get off the school bus in rural upstate NY.
This was the early seventies, so I was 11-12ish, with my sister 2 years younger.
Stepped off schoolbus nearly onto Mr. Snake.
Yelled to my sister to run.
Smashed him with one of the big rocks at the edge of the driveway culvert.
Afterwards, the old man and I got out the snake book and determined that he was a non-venomous one.
Scared the crap out of me, but proved the effectiveness of what the old man had taught me when we lived out West.
Keep your eyes open, and if in doubt, kill him.
Too large for the Scarlet Kingsnake. Eastern Milksnake (which is a species of Kingsnake) could be this large, though.
As a rule, we don't kill snakes here at the Tex99 wildlife preserve, not even venomous ones. But we do have a mid-sized mutt who was struck by a cottonmouth a few years back and carries a grudge. He has killed three cottonmouths in the last three months, all without getting bit himself.
Two thumbs up. We got 'em too. Ours are blind and usually hiding under rocks or feeding at union halls.
Looks like the corn snakes I'm familiar with in central Mississippi. I don't know what snakes they have in NE, though.
We've probably beaten that snake enough but . the deer flies, in swarms of biblical or sci-fi movie proportions, have driven me inside so I'll revise and extend my remarks.
I'm not a snake pro, just a guy who lives, works and recreates in the Jersey Pine Barrens. But I've worked with many herpetologists on environmental impact statements and studies and tagged along on transects and den visits to learn a few tricks of the trade. One thing I noticed is they aren't quick to judge at a glance, not all individual snakes are exactly as the books describe, especially juveniles, so they look closely, sometimes at the scales or in the mouth with a magnifying glass before giving it a positive id.
I believe Scarlets are rare as hen's teeth in Conn and Corns are seldom seen, preferring instead to stay not just hidden but underground. I couldn't see it in the pic but a Milk should have an easily noticeable Y or V near its head. But not every one. They're a common barnyard snake that eats mice and rats and do quite well in suburbia living in foundation plantings eating those cute chipmunks and keeping voles and moles under control.
For some reason I don't understand some people prefer to think that common snake in their yard must be one that's rare or deadly. Maybe it's akin to wanting to see a UFO or believing a mountain lion lives in that patch of woods around the retention basin behind the cul-de-sac in their development. We have plenty of rattlers but not where those folks claim to see them and and any snake that's color can be called copperish is automatically a copperhead. We have zero here but don't bother trying to tell them that.
Yep, a scarlet king snake. Good to have around. Eats bugs and whatever rodents are small enough for it to swallow.
red touches yellow -- kills a fellow
red touches black -- venom lack
I wonder if I could talk My Better Two-Thirds into letting me get a couple Milk snakes for the yard? If they eat moles and voles and "those cute little chipmunks" (or gophers or whatever they are) they're my kinda snake. Been waging war with those little bastids for years now.
Coral snakes are very small, rare, and nowhere in the northern US.
Yes, Milk snake. Downeast we call them Barn Snakes too. Until we had our very old farm house remodeled including a foundation under an old sun porch we had lots of snakes of this look breed there. Find the babies in the house in spring and fall. They came up around the plumbing through holes in the floor. Very aggressive when cornered, but pretty much harmless. We keep a snake net to collect them up and take them outside to a rock wall. Biggest one we had in the house was about 40+ inches long. During construction. No sightings since the remodel.