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October 14, 2014 / Rae Spencer

Northern Black Racer Snake (Ophidiophobia Alert!)

A few weeks ago, when the wren house was invaded by rodents, I half-jokingly said to my husband, “What we need is a snake.”

Snake Oct 14

Apparently the yard was listening.

Snake Oct 14

(My first instinct was to label these photos “Eastern Rat Snake.” A few clicks through the Virginia Herpetological Society’s website changed my mind, and their quick response to my e-mail ID request confirmed that our visitor was a Northern Black Racer.)

Snake Oct 14

I gave the snake an hour or so, to recover from the fright of being photographed by a pajama-clad woman carrying a noisy camera, then I measured the fence with a ruler. Each board in the fence is a little over five inches wide…

Snake Oct 14

…and the snake was about seven boards long.

Snake Oct 14

Perhaps that’s big enough to tackle the wren house rats? Because after we took down the wren house, one of the rats moved into a small pile of branches we keep forgetting to haul away. Today, the snake moved into that same pile of branches.

Snake Oct 14

 The last time we had a rat problem, a hawk solved it. I think a snake is an equally elegant solution.

2 Comments

  1. timelesslady / Oct 20 2014 4:22 PM

    So funny…we also had a rodent problem, and then noticed they were suddenly missing, found a long (5 foot) snakeskin, saw the snake nearby, and now I am happy, but my husband HATES snakes, just like Indiana Jones, and he is horrified. 🙂

    • Rae Spencer / Oct 20 2014 7:42 PM

      My father was terrified of snakes, to the point that he killed or tried to kill the ones he found in the garden, yard, and barn. His snake phobia features in several of our favorite family stories (which my brothers and sisters tell better than I do.) I don’t know how snake phobia works, if it’s learned or innate or a bit of both, but no one else in the family shared our father’s fear. So the stories all have scenes where everyone is laughing, or trying not to laugh, while our father flounders in a snake-induced panic. (Sharing this makes me wonder if my father thought the stories were funny, too, after he had time to recover from his panic. I’ll have to ask one of my siblings…) 🙂

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