Katie Burd Drexler

Katie Burd Drexler, the photographer, isn’t lying when she says, “remember to look up.” The huge snake is using the fungus as a ladder.

The black rat snake was recently spotted in Newville, PA. They’re not poisonous and eat rats, mice, and other pests. They will also eat birds and bird eggs when they have the opportunity. Even if you don’t like snakes, you want this docile species around as they out-compete poisonous snakes for food. This is a huge help for keeping copperheads and rattlesnakes out of your yard.

The rat snake averages 4 to 6 feet in length, but that one looks bigger than that to us! They are incredible at climbing trees, and we’re guessing it was going after an easy meal of bird eggs.

Pennlive.com reports the eastern rat snake (Pantherophis alleghaniensis) is the largest snake species in Pennsylvania. It is abundant in meadows, ag areas, and open wooded areas. The upper body is black to dull brown with a trace of black blotches. The belly is white to yellowish-white with a dark checkerboard pattern. The chin, throat, and scales around the mouth are white.

Phipps says black rat snakes are constrictors, which means they kill their prey by constricting (squeezing) them until the prey can’t breathe in and, thus, suffocate.

Remember, they don’t want to be around you any more than you want to be around them. If you see one, just give it space and leave it alone to do its job.

Do you have a cool photo to share? Send it to Cindy@7mountainsmedia.com.