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Baby Black Rat Snake

October 9th, 2009

On Wednesday evening I found this little guy in our driveway. At first I was very excited, as I’ve never seen a snake here at Chiot’s Run. I’ve always wanted to find a big black snake in my garage, but sadly that has never happened. After looking closer I realized this little guy was dead.
I grabbed him and examined him to see what had happened. I came inside and searched on-line to try and identify what kind of snake it was. After searching I decided it was most likely a baby black rat snake. He was about 15 inches long, which is about how long the baby ones would be this time of year for the reproduction cycle of black rat snakes. The markings on his back & belly are consistent with some photos I found on Flickr. I found this great blogpost about baby black rat snakes, there are even photo of the eggs!
Black rat snakes hatch out at 11-16 inches, which means this little guy was very young. They often nest in tree cavities where other nesting animals have been. Since I could see no visible injuries, I think perhaps it fell out of the big maple tree beside the driveway.
It’s kind of sad to find my first snake and have it be dead. However it’s not really a sad story, a baby snake in the garden means there’s a mama snake around. I think this is good news for my overpopulation of chipmunks! Black rat snakes are considered one of the most beneficial snakes in Ohio. They can live up to 20 years and are prolific eaters of mice, rats, chipmunks, rabbits, other small rodents, birds and eggs.
I put him on a rock in the garden and he’ll probably become food for another small animal. Perhaps I’ll spot mama in the garage someday soon!

What do you think, do you want snakes around or do they give you the heebie jeebies?

30 Comments to “Baby Black Rat Snake”
  1. Judy on October 9, 2009 at 6:52 am

    It’s a little of both. Snakes don’t bother me if I know they’re there, it’s just when they surprise me that I don’t like it. We’ve got snakes here and are glad of it. We had such a rodent problem when we moved in that we’re hoping they help. We have a HUGE garter snake living under our pole barn. We found the skin after he(or she) shed a few weeks ago and it measured 37 inches from tip to tail. That’s a big snake!
    .-= Judy´s last blog ..It’s pretty =-.

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  2. kristin @ going country on October 9, 2009 at 7:52 am

    Both. But I fall more on the side of the snakes now that I live in a place where I know none of them are poisonous.
    .-= kristin @ going country´s last blog ..Johnny On the Spot =-.

    Reply to kristin @ going country's comment

  3. annie avery on October 9, 2009 at 8:05 am

    i have discovered three different snakes on my garden hill. i’m sure they feed on the toads that live there too.

    Reply to annie avery's comment

  4. Dave on October 9, 2009 at 8:28 am

    Too bad he didn’t make it! I’ve never seen a snake here either but would welcome one, as long as it isn’t poisonous. Hopefully the mother and other babies are around somewhere to chow down on chipmunks!
    .-= Dave´s last blog ..Saving Coleus Over Winter =-.

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  5. Chicago Mike on October 9, 2009 at 8:32 am

    Snakes in the garden? Absolutely

    Snakes in the yard? Sure

    Snakes in the house? Not a chance.

    My wife would lose it.
    .-= Chicago Mike´s last blog ..Charantais Melons Surprise Me =-.

    Reply to Chicago Mike's comment

    • Susy on October 9, 2009 at 9:02 am

      We always had pet snakes growing up (and not just small ones either). They were usually boas that my dad caught in the jungle. Once we caught a garter snake and kept it and it laid an egg, we never did get the egg to hatch though.

      Reply to Susy's comment

      • MattK on September 29, 2011 at 8:59 pm

        Cool. Wasn’t a gartersnake though, they have live births rather than laying eggs.

        to MattK's comment

    • Jackie on October 6, 2012 at 10:27 pm

      Have no clue how but just today I’ve spotted 2 black rat snakes in my house, I don’t have a clue how they are getting in.

      Reply to Jackie's comment

  6. Annette on October 9, 2009 at 10:36 am

    Snakes do not bother me, spiders in the house wig me out. Spiders outside are ok.

    Each year I try to lure more beneficial insects to our little plot of heaven.
    .-= Annette´s last blog ..More sweet Hallowe’en giveaways =-.

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  7. Mary on October 9, 2009 at 2:12 pm

    Oh my seeing your snake brought back my July encounter with being bitten by a rattlesnake! I am glad it was not a poisonous snake. I have not been afraid of snakes in the past as we had encountered several but after the ordeal this summer I guess I am not so confident around them or even seeing a picture of one!

    .-= Mary´s last blog ..It’s Going to be a White Fall- =-.

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  8. warren on October 9, 2009 at 2:13 pm

    Oh I dig snakes. I’ve had them in the house and it’s not quite as exciting as you might think…or maybe it’s more exciting. Anyhow, I def like them around. They do control the extra critters. Black rats are especially cool. I have seen an adult one eat too…amazing. They are incredible…
    .-= warren´s last blog ..Got my motor runnin’ =-.

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  9. Seren Dippity on October 9, 2009 at 2:58 pm

    I love snakes. I had them as “pets” as a kid, keeping them in a box for a few days, maybe feeding them a mouse just to watch them eat and then releasing them into the wild. I love the way they feel when they move. I’ve had friends with exotic snakes, and I love playing with them, but I don’t think it is a good idea to keep them as pets.

    I did kind of freak out when I found out that there are tree snakes native to our state. I kind of became retroactively creeped out. Thinking about all the times I camped out and a snake could have fallen on me. I hate things that creep up on me. Spiders are great, just not when they drop down on me when I don’t see them coming.

    I’ve always been cautious when hiking. Using a walking stick to poke ahead and give all snakes a chance to move. Water Moccasins, Copperheads and rattle snakes can be dangerous if you startle them.

    I’ve not seen any snakes on our property but I’m fairly certain there are some back in our ‘wild’ wooded area.

    Reply to Seren Dippity's comment

  10. Sadge on October 9, 2009 at 4:13 pm

    We had Sneaky Snake, a gopher snake, living under our shed for a few years. We’d see him in the Spring, coming in and out from his little den, and then he’d disappear – doing summer snake things, I guess – until the following Spring. I watched for him this past Spring, and didn’t see him – not sure how long they live. I don’t like the startle factor of snakes, but once I’ve seen them I’m ok, and really appreciate the rodent control. Gopher snakes are funny – if threatened, they’ll curl up, flatten their heads, and mimic a rattlesnake rattle by hissing while shaking their naked little tails. It’s a pretty good defense mechanism, actually.

    We get rattlesnakes here every once and a while, and gently relocate them to the field down the street, maybe twice. If they continue to return though, we kill them to protect the cat and dog. We’ve ended up killing one in 20 years, and found another one dead in the street, so I have two rattles in a jar in my window sill.
    .-= Sadge´s last blog ..Brewing Hard Apple Cider =-.

    Reply to Sadge's comment

    • Joy on October 9, 2009 at 4:24 pm

      I have an identical (living) baby snake in a bucket in my kitchen right now- I found it in my living room! It is the second of these baby snakes that we’ve seen here in Oldham County Ky. I was almost certain it was a rat snake, as we have seen an adult snake around earlier in the sunmmer, and a large skin in the crawl space under the house. Am not too thrilled this baby was in our house, but we will dump him back out where he belongs with no harm done.

      Reply to Joy's comment

  11. Sadge on October 9, 2009 at 4:19 pm

    This, however, does give me the willies:
    .-= Sadge´s last blog ..Oh No! Hard Cider Overflow =-.

    Reply to Sadge's comment

    • Susy on October 9, 2009 at 4:57 pm

      That’s amazing!

      Reply to Susy's comment

  12. Teresa O on October 9, 2009 at 4:36 pm

    Yikes! I know snakes are among the predators that can keep the rodent population down and all that, but snakes make my skin crawl. This seems to be the week of the snake. Frances over at Fairegarden told a tale of snakes this week, too.

    I don’t like spiders and snakes…
    .-= Teresa O´s last blog .. =-.

    Reply to Teresa O's comment

  13. Sue Dawson on October 10, 2009 at 8:04 am

    Whether we like snakes or not, we need them as part of the food chain. We have garter snakes in our yard. There are several places they use for shelter. This spring, there were a bunch of them in our evergreen bush in front of the house. Later, we found out they were probably mating. They dispersed after a day or so. I posted photos, and my next door neighbor quit being friendly for awhile. I didn’t know why until I asked her if she was mad at me. She called me a snake lover, and couldn’t believe I was encouraging them, knowing she is so afraid of them, and they have gotten into her basement. I wasn’t able to put that on my blog, because if she saw it, she would either have her feelings hurt or get mad again.

    We have lived here 12 years, and I have come across garter snakes a number of times. I see them when I turn my compost pile. I sometimes get startled, but they are even more anxious to get away from me.

    I’m sorry your rat snake was dead. I hope it has some siblings still on your property. I should add that my son, who is now 31, loved all things reptile and amphibian growing up, and he had some pet store purchased snakes and lizards as pets. He had a couple kinds of rat snakes. These were captive bred, and not as wild. I have mixed feelings about having them as pets, but he actually took them to schools and our local museum, where he volunteered, and educated folks about them. This was when he was a teenager.
    .-= Sue Dawson´s last blog ..A Big Thanks to Larry, Weather Changes, Fall Blooms =-.

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  14. the inadvertent farmer on October 13, 2009 at 12:57 am

    Super cool post! I love snakes…anything that eats our slugs is my very dearest friend! Kim
    .-= the inadvertent farmer´s last blog ..Not Me, I Would Never Shave a Camel! =-.

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  15. annie P on July 20, 2010 at 5:27 pm

    I saw my first black rat snake in the gravel parking lot at work the other day. Lots of maple trees and chipmunks around. But in Little Current, Manitoulin Island, Ontario, it seems a little out of its area?

    Reply to annie P's comment

    • MattK on September 29, 2011 at 9:03 pm

      No Ratsnakes on Manitoulin. It would either have to be an escaped pet or a misidentification (a Northern Watersnake is the only likely candidate if it was big. If it was small there are several possibilities.). If it looked like the snake in the photo above than it was probably an Eastern Milk Snake

      Reply to MattK's comment

  16. Jenna on February 4, 2011 at 7:43 pm

    My dad told me to come by the firestation to pick up an animal today, i thought it would be a dog or cat. Nope! Twas a baby black rat snake. It’s the middle of winter here so he told me put it in a deep plastic box, with some bedding and water. It was all ok until he got out. He was right behind me, and I almost fell backwards when I turned around and saw him. He slides around the perimeter and he makes me SO nervous. HA! I know he’s not poisonous but he’s a fiesty little sucker. Dad wants to keep him warm until spring comes ha! If I wake up and him in my room. His butt’s outside! lol

    Reply to Jenna's comment

  17. Steve on June 7, 2011 at 3:41 pm

    I know juvenile Black Rat snakes have some markings but I’m pretty sure the Y pattern on the back of this guys head indicates it’s an Eastern Milksnake

    Reply to Steve's comment

  18. wildcoyote on June 16, 2011 at 2:21 pm

    It’s too bad that little guy was dead! I made friends with a really big black rat snake at our Conservation Department’s Nature Center. He didn’t have a name, and I guess I never really gave him one. But he was probably about 6 feet long, and was really super chill. I usually leave my snakes alone unless they seem to want to come on out and be friendly, because otherwise they can be pissy as pets. It also takes a lot of time and care, along with a certain degree of patience and emotional investment, to earn a snake’s trust. Generally it helps if you are the one feeding the snake.

    Growing up, one of my dad’s friends had a MASSIVE albino Burmese python named Colby (because he looked like Colby-Jack cheese). He was probably about 9 feet long, and as big around as an athletic, muscular man’s arm. He ate like 3 rats A WEEK.

    I was thinking of trying to get a baby, but I don’t know if the black rat snake is the right one for me. I’ve read they can be temperamental and smelly. Any suggestion?

    Reply to wildcoyote's comment

    • Susy on June 16, 2011 at 3:04 pm

      We always had boas growing up. My dad would catch them in the jungle, or people would bring them to us. We lived in South America so they were plentiful.

      Reply to Susy's comment

  19. carol laughery on September 22, 2011 at 6:03 pm

    my husband just found a baby black rat snake in the middle of the kitchen. ihave been on top of the reffrigerator for a week.

    Reply to carol laughery's comment

  20. Carol Sherwood on October 1, 2011 at 12:16 pm

    We found a dead baby snake on the bike path last week and it looks like a baby Black Rat Snake. It was so pretty that at first I thought it was a piece of jewelry. So tiny, it must have been a hatchling. I put it on my Facebook page but no one has come up with a better ID for it.
    I like snakes but don’t care to keep them as pets…they should be out where they can do some good….eating rodents. Amazing creatures. Being and ‘old’ farm girl I have no fear of small fast creatures…even spiders although I don’t like them on me.

    Reply to Carol Sherwood's comment

  21. Neill on May 14, 2012 at 9:09 pm

    Just found a juvenile black snake in my office. My wife would freak! We have a six footer who roams the exterior and has been keeping us mice free for a few years now. This must be one of her little ones, which means there are more. There are times when my wife won’t go outside. Humm? I wonder what she would do if she knew what I know. Here’s the big one fooling around climbing the side of my house.

    Thanks for the blog.

    Reply to Neill's comment

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This is a daily journal of my efforts to cultivate a more simple life, through local eating, gardening and so many other things. We used to live in a small suburban neighborhood Ohio but moved to 153 acres in Liberty, Maine in 2012.

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