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Posted: Mon May 19, 2008 11:32 pm
Saw my first snake today... A nice western rat snake, about 3 feet or so.
I love snakes, and was excited to handle it... but I wasn't so thrilled about where I found it. It was in a pen with my chickens and stuff. Oddly, it was in the one pen that is FAR more secure than the other. It either REALLY squeezed in there good, or it climbed way up to a spot that was easier to get into.
There was only one hen that was trying to pick on it.
Fortunately it hadn't had anything to eat yet... so, no losses.
I'll have to see if I can figure out just how and where it got in as I'm sure I'll be seeing a lot more of them as it gets warmer out.
For now, I put it in a paper bag and my wife was going to dump it in a field near work. I wonder how that went.
Posted: Tue May 20, 2008 1:44 am
Posted: Tue May 20, 2008 7:28 pm
Posted: Tue May 20, 2008 8:06 pm
like a snake.
The western rat snake out here is often called a black snake, or a black rat snake... though the name western rat snake is the most accurate.
Well... I could post pictures... one of these days.
They're very common here. Lots of people around here, and probably other places, tell stories of "black snakes" breeding with copperheads to make baby snakes that look like rat snakes yet are venomous... well, this isn't even possible. People just want to believe all snakes are bad and they'll use any excuse they can think of to kill them
Posted: Mon May 26, 2008 3:18 pm
Well, I'm finally getting a few pictures up today... So I have a picture of the snake I caught.
My wife sent an email to her mom describing her adventure with the snake... and, I didn't realize how soon the snake got out of the bag. It was just a few minutes after leaving, before she got to work. So, by the time she got to work it was in the back of the van somewhere
Anyway... here is it... a western rat snake:
Posted: Sun Jun 01, 2008 7:51 pm
We have black rat snakes alot around here. I lost a few chicks last year to some and I've found them in nests eating eggs too. I don't mind them if they'll leave my chickens alone.
Posted: Sun Jun 01, 2008 8:18 pm
If enough time, effort, and possibly money is spent, you really can minimize the risk of snakes getting in with your chickens.
I found a site once that had plans for a snake proof fence. Snakes can climb vertical surfaces if there's enough for them to get a hold of. The idea of this fence was to have it slanted outwards giving the snake nothing to hold on to.
Another thing that often helps is 1/2" hardware cloth. The smaller the holes in the wire the better with snakes... and rodents.
I used to have just chicken wire on one of my pens and you wouldn't believe how many rat snakes we had that year. I think I found as many as 7 in the course of a week. I put up some hardware cloth on the lower half of the pen and I stopped seeing them so much. Some didn't take the effort to try and find other ways in.