Nope, that’s not a rubber snake!

20 05 2011

A few of my friends (Carmen and Gina, in particular) are so afraid of snakes that I can’t even say the word in front of them. I have been instructed to refer to them as “s’s.” I, on the other hand, have no fear of them—unless, of course, it’s a snake that is: a) bigger than me, b) coming at me, or c) rattling at me.

So Carmen and Gina—Avert your eyes! Avert your eyes! (I suppose I really shouldn’t tell them that a female Black Rat Snake lays about 12-20 eggs in early summer!)

I was walking down a trail near the visitor’s center at Meadowlark Botanical Gardens this afternoon and glanced over at a bank of shrubs and immediately saw this little critter—a Black Rat Snake (Elaphe obsoleta). I’ve seen plenty of snakes in my lifetime, but I’ve never seen one sunning itself on a shrub, so I thought at first it was a rubber snake some kid left there. Nope—he was the real deal, and he didn’t seem to mind being my subject for several frames. He was no bigger than one inch around, but can grow up to eight feet long—making it the largest snake in Virginia. In my research, I learned that they are excellent climbers and competent swimmers. I already knew that they were non-venomous.

And regarding snakes—I have a huge pet peeve when people automatically want to kill any snake, regardless of how tiny it is or what type it is. If it’s not attacking you or the family pet—why kill it? If I found one in my home, I would capture it (taking extra care if I couldn’t identify it and didn’t know if it was venomous or not) and release it into the wild. If I couldn’t capture it myself or it was a venomous or particularly aggressive species, I would get outside help—but not from someone who would exterminate it. What can I say? I’m a self-appointed steward to all animals!

© Cindy Dyer. All rights reserved.

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4 responses

20 05 2011
smileonlife

Wow! How beautiful and lucky you were to find it. It’s a great photo. I totally agree with you about not killing snakes. Here in Australia it’s actually against the law as they are a protected species and we have some of the most venemous snakes in the world.

20 05 2011
cindydyer

Well, maybe I should live in Australia, then! 😉 I’ve heard that your country does have a lot of deadly snakes. Do you have a blog, Samantha? I’ve looked at your photos on your redbubble site (beautiful work, by the way; I especially love the black & white scenics), but wondered if you have a blog, too.

20 05 2011
smileonlife

🙂 They do seem to have a great respect for animals here.

I do have a blog, it’s http://smileonlife.wordpress.com/ the last photo I took, which was yesterday is a bit different to the rest…you’ll see when you look. I am doing a 365 project. If you click on the archive tab, you’ll see my photos in one or two pages per month if that helps.

21 05 2011
London Caller

What a beautiful snake!
It looks so tame.

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