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Monday, August 29, 2011

Species Spotlight #2: Black Rat Snake

Well, it’s that time of year again. Hurricane Irene only raised the Falls Lake water level a half inch, and already it’s below that again, which means the mudflats are intact and expanding. Any birder worth his salt is going to be checking these mudflats as often as possible, something I’m very familiar with, as it’s exactly what I did last year. On the way to the flats one day, I discovered this enormous Black Rat Snake sunning himself on the gravel road next to the railroad tracks.

He must've been over five feet long!

As you can see, he was all stretched out along the gravel, and didn’t really mind me taking a couple pictures. He just sat there as I kneeled down beside him to take a couple of macro shot, culminating in this nice one with his tongue flicking out. Lucky he wasn’t an ornery fellow, or he could have easily struck at me, but I guess he was happy enough that I wasn’t manhandling him or anything.

You can't get much closer than this!

After hiking down to the mudflats and back, I crossed the gravel road again and the snake was gone. Looks like he got all the sun he needed, but even so he was a really fantastic snake, and it was so cool to get up-close and personal with this awesome animal!

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