messing around with mother nature

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?

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About Marcus

Who me? Introverted, neurotic, self-absorbed, increasingly cynical observer of human nature and part time social critic in hiding. Most of my life spent avoiding growing up. The naive idealistic passions of youth have evolved into the eclectic eccentricities of adulthood. Northeast Florida small-town native, related to people I can't relate to. Simultaneously my own best friend and worst enemy. Politically and spiritually unaffiliated, my personal ideologies put me all over the map or off it completely.
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6 Responses to messing around with mother nature

  1. kajiracad says:

    HUNGRY ??
    While I know your intentions were good, you interrupted a natural food chain moment. That’s a HUGE king snake and he’s likely HUNGRY. Next stop “might” be yours or a neighbor’s dog. I don’t like watching these things either, but I learned (by once Being Hungry and Broke) that “survival of the fittest” is not just a theory. 🙂

    • marcsuttle says:

      Re: HUNGRY ??
      I realized what I was doing as I did it. My hope is that they’ll both survive and help eliminate mice or copperheads that live in this area. As far as size goes, compared to the few King Snakes I’ve seen here and elsewhere, the one I caught today rather small.

      • kajiracad says:

        Re: HUNGRY ??
        Kudos on letting them both go home. I admire anyone who touches reptiles like this. I love watching them, but someone else gets to do any catch & release thing. Mostly “I” have enough wild life with the ‘possum & raccoon visitors to my back porch…and they get a WIDE berth. Even the cats don’t mess around when they’re here.

  2. Oh my. In the fourteen years we’ve lived here, I’ve never even seen a garter snake. Whew!

    • marcsuttle says:

      During my first 32 years living in Florida I saw mostly poisonous snakes. (rattlers, cottonmouths, coral) After moving to NC, non-poisonous snakes are more common and in greater numbers than all the snakes I remember in Fla. Copperheads are the only snakes we have to be wary of now.

  3. n_decisive says:

    Great photos, and what an adventure! Also? BIIIIIG snake!
    We had rat snakes in Texas, and they love brick. One got in between the garage drywall and the exterior brick and had babies. It was interesting to say the least.

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