Monday, April 11, 2011


 I know that spring really is here when I find a grey rat snake stretched out sunning on my walkway. I love, love, love these native constrictors.

I can't resist them when I find them around the place, hence the plethora of grey rat snake(GRS) posts in the archives of Pure Florida.

I suppose this GRS post is not very different from any of those in the past, but I can't help myself.

 I think the GRS's around my place are so used to being swooped up and held whenever I find them that they just grin and bear it.
No need to bite or musk this FC guy with foul smelling exudate, he's just going to hold me while he gets a few photos and then he'll stick me back in the bushes.
This one was very cooperative and never struck at me.
He never musked me either ... a fate much worse than their bite.
I'm glad snakes are deaf so he couldn't hear my girlish shriek of glee when I first found him.
It's embarrassing.
 A place for every scale and a specialized scale shape for every place ... scales of all shapes that fit together like the stones at Macchu Picchu.
It's a beautiful thing.
 Around here, people call GRS's, "Oak Snakes" for obvious reasons once you see one climbing an oak tree in natural light.
I used a flash on this shot to bring out the snake a little better. Their climbing skills are astounding and they do relish a bird egg or two, which gets them in trouble with keepers of chickens.

Just last week one of my students informed that, "We killed a big oak snake in our chicken pen yesterday."


A couple of years ago, I watched one eat egg after egg in my chicken pen.
It was a small miracle, the way that jaw unhinged and a huge egg vanished as the snake worked and worked to swallow the eggs. (yes, there's a post with pics in the archives).

A few eggs seemed a small price to pay to witness the wonder of the snake jaw at work.


lisa said...

That is pretty neat, I love snakes as long as I know that they are not poisonous that is. I went in your archive and looked at the egg eating, pretty awesome!

Anonymous said...

So FC-If a Banana Spider tries to eat me are you going to kill it or document it and chalk it all up to the cycle of life and an awesome post? (Damn I should have asked these questions a few years ago)

Garage Doors said...

Oh my... I cannot believe that you can pick those things up! I would take off running the other direction.

threecollie said...

Beautiful snake!

Lisa at Greenbow said...

What a gorgeous snake. It is a rite of spring to find a Eastern Garter Snake in my garden. One showed up this past week.

Dani said...

GORGEOUS!!!!They just warm my heart.

I'm always warning my snake friends about wondering into the neighbors yard. They get the big chop-chop if they're not careful. *sniff* *sniff*

Miz S said...

I'm glad you linked to that egg-eating post. Those are fantastic pictures.

I think we should make some tshirts with a picture of a gray rat snake and the slogan WWFCD? (What Would FC Do?) Dani can give one to her chop-chop neighbor.

robin andrea said...

Pretty snake you have there, fc.

Funder said...

Adorable teeny weeeny snake!

When I was a kid, I caught one under a chicken eating the eggs she was setting on. (Chickens are such mental midgets.) Of course I grabbed what I could and pulled, so he flung himself around my wrist and bit me. Bad move, because then I could grab his head! Unfortunately for me, he musked me AND coiled around my wrist hard enough to break the eggs he'd eaten... and some of them were rotten. I carried him off a couple miles into the woods with rotten egg goo dripping out of his mouth. Soooo gross.

I still have a soft spot for rat snakes though :)

Floridacracker said...

It IS awesome isn't it?

That sounds like a video to me.

They are sweet things with a gentle disposition ... unless you are a mouse, of course.


I went and looked. Nice shots of a pretty garter snake!

I knew you'd like this fella. :)

Miz S,
THAT is a scary T-shirt concept.

Agreed. Such great camo for our oaks with their lichen patches.

You are giving me warm scalies inside. A tale like that goes a long way to balance the chopchop mentality of so many.
Thank you.

Julie Zickefoose said...

While I find your patterned oak snake very beautiful, I have to confess to having moved more than a few black rat snakes in my time. We very much enjoy having a resident black rat or two in our garage, where they keep the white-footed mice in check, and we appreciate their efforts on the cottontail front, too. Watched one swallow a baby cottontail once. Wow. I share your admiration for that jaw anatomy.

About the only nesting birds in our yard who are strong enough to repel them in their attempts to eat their nestlings are brown thrashers. A pair of brown thrashers fearlessly pecking and pulling scales off a black rat snake can make him turn tail. The others are reduced to fussing and scolding until the Snake Mover comes out of the house.

Floridacracker said...

I hear ya. I do my tweaking of the natural order too.
I figure it all evens out in the end.