Most people say, “the only good snake is a dead snake!” But what if there really is a “good” snake? One that is timid and tries to avoid any confrontation. One that controls rodents, like rats, mice and moles. One that is non-venomous and will actually kill the poisonous, harmful snakes. 

I am talking about the black snake. Some people call them rat snakes or chicken snakes, because they eat rats and are found in chicken houses, looking to eat the eggs. Black snakes love to live in woodpiles or under leaf litter. 

It’s frightening to come upon a snake of any kind without warning. Black snakes, however, usually stay quietly coiled in a corner or under a bush. Interrupted by humans, they crawl away if you just leave them alone. 

You can identify a black snake by its glossy black color on top, and bottom with a white throat and chin. Young snakes are patterned with brown or reddish patches on a lighter base of gray. Young snakes will eat once a week; adult snakes will eat only once or twice a month. The female will lay 12-20 eggs that will hatch in 65-70 days. Unlike our skin, snake’s skin cannot stretch and grow, so snakes must shed their skin when they outgrow it. 

Old wives tales say a snake will chase you in the month of May. Snakes shed around the month of May, and the eyes will appear blue, which indicates it is about to shed its skin. Its eyesight is poor, which, in turn, means it will defend itself by lunging or “chasing” any threat to it. 

Another bit of folklore is that hanging a dead snake on a country lane fence would bring much-needed rain. 

I am against killing black snakes, but I do believe we could use some rain right now!

 

Quote of the Day: When at a crossroad, take the road less traveled.