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Hello Little Friend

May 5th, 2012

Ever since we moved in here I’ve been hoping to spot a snake or two in the garden. A few years ago I found a dead baby black rat snake laying on the back deck, but I haven’t spotted a live snake until now. Yesterday, I rescued this little beauty from the outdoor cat.

I grew up around snakes and don’t fear them. We had pet boa constrictors almost my entire youth. Here you can see my dad when he was in high school with a big snake. We even had a pet snake that laid an egg once, which was super exciting for us kids.

I’m very excited to see this little guy in the garden. Sadly, many people are scared of snakes and kill them if they see them. Snakes are very beneficial to have around because they control pests. If they’re small they eat insects, slugs and other small prey, if they’re larger they can be of great help in controlling rodents. It’s important to learn about the snakes in your particular area, any that are venomous and the ones that are harmless. You should also find out if there are endangered snakes in your area. Educating yourself will go a long way in doing away with some of the fear you may have of them.

For years I’ve been building snake habitat in my garden. I figured I had snakes around and just hadn’t spotted one. I’m happy that I spotted this little guy and rescued him from the cat, luckily it wasn’t injured. Hopefully he/she will live a long healthy life here at Chiot’s Run!

How do you feel about snakes in the garden?

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?

Reading & Watching

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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.