The dogs barking in one corner of our yard at the fence alerted me we had a visitor. Walked over to investigate and looked down to discover two snakes locked in combat. It was sort of a one-sided battle as the much larger King Snake –
was holding this much smaller immature Black Rat Snake-
(yes their color changes when they age – assuming they live that long)
in what would have surely been a death grip had I not stepped in. After a few tense minutes I was able to open the King Snake’s jaws just enough to free the Rat Snake. My wife squeamishly brought me the camera and I took these shots before dropping the two foes in separate areas outside our fence and told them to behave themselves.
This is only the second King Snake I’ve seen in the almost 18 years we’ve lived here. Rat Snakes are far more common and I’ve caught several in order to protect them from the dogs or prevent them from getting into our house (they are quite good at crawling up brick walls). As adults the Rat Snakes are more aggressive than King Snakes and I usually have to wear gloves to protect my fingers from being gnawed on by their sharp little teeth. The King Snake though had perfect manners but I was surprised that after I let him go he immediately climbed up a small sprouting pine tree then over toward our fence-
to be continued?