I posted photos on Facebook yesterday, but I thought I’d post them on the blog, too.
Despite the threat of showers, it turned out to be a nice afternoon yesterday. A cool breeze encouraged me to open the back porch door for some cross ventilation. I was ill prepared to see this heading straight for me (well, in my direction):
Once I processed what I was seeing (just wasn’t expecting to see it as I opened the back door) and snapped some photos….
(I didn’t make him/her happy at first, coming right up on it like that for its photo shoot…it did a little posturing (as in “look at me, I’m a vicious cobra” head lift with some “look at me, I’m a dangerous rattler” tail wagging….pretty cool protective mimicry)
….I was glad to recognize it.
It soon could care less about me and resumed its motion of heading towards our house.
Only to slip into a crack of our “foundation” and slither under our house (its tail is just visible beneath the fuel filter there).
I am actually happy to see this snake. It is our rodent control method, and it was quite clear that he/she had found more than a couple to try. See, we have one or two mice hanging about. I think this guy/gal will be a big help to us!
Oh, and just so you know and can relax a little, this beautiful, sleek, probably 6′ long, shiny black snake is NONVENOMOUS…as in NOT dangerous.
Meet and welcome Mickie, our mouser, to the family. An Eastern ratsnake, a species common to Virginia with a statewide distribution.
From the Virginia Herpetological Society website:
|Common Name:||Eastern Ratsnake|
|Scientific Name:||Pantherophis alleghaniensis|
|Genus:||Pantherophis is derived from the Greek words “pan” which means bread, referring to the bread loaf, cross-section shape of the snake, “thero” means a wild beast of summer and “ophis” means snake.|
|Species:||alleghaniensis refers to its habitat in the Allegheny Mountains.|
It is also known as the:
“Alleghany black snake, black chicken snake, black Coluber, black pilot snake, black racer, blue racer, chicken snake, mountain black snake, mountain pilot snake, pilot, racer, rat snake, rusty black snake, scaly black snake”
|Average Length:||42 – 72 in. (106.7-183 cm)|
|Virginia Record Length:||79.8 in. (202.8 cm) *Note: The eastern ratsnake is the only 6+ foot snake found in Virginia|
|Record length:||101 in. (256.5 cm)|