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Season of the (Red) Snake

It’s apparently the season of the red snake. We just encountered our first Corn Snake / Red Rat Snake (oddly enough, for its commonality) — and most recently, on a brief excursion to photograph butterflies in the northern section of the Everglades, I nearly stepped on this lovely young Orange Rat Snake at dusk. He was none too happy with our presence, and my undivided attention to his colorful mug.

Also known as the Everglades Rat Snake or Glades Rat Snake, this species is known for its calm nature (in captivity) and wide array of bright colors, making it another favorite with snake keepers. While many areas are host to the Everglades Rat Snake, Florida has a particularly high concentration — the species derives its name from the Everglades region in South Florida, where it’s said to have originated. Although prone to aggression if feeling cornered or threatened (like many animals, unsurprisingly), they are NOT dangerous, and spend much of their time in hiding — in crevices, tucked into knotholes, burrowing into holes, on trees (including palms), or on treetops (they’re great climbers). Like many Florida snakes, they’ll quickly flee to the water should they sense danger on land. They can reach lengths of 4 – 6 feet, although a few have been reported up to 7 feet — making it one of the longest snakes in North America. A single clutch can include between 7 – 27 eggs, hatching in July or September. As the snakes mature, they change from a blotchy grey to orange or sometimes red, with four standard stripes resembling their background color — with striking red eyes and a matching red tongue (the red eye can be seen in this picture). Their natural habitats are grasslands, wetlands, and swamps.

Whenever we see snakes around our home, they’re usually non-venemous; and we ensure that they’re protected from lawnmowers and the like. Snakes keep rodent populations down — and if you live anywhere near water, you realize how large water rats can become. Snakes are our friends! If you or someone you know is afraid of them, gently relocate the snake and / or its nest. We once had a large Brown Snake manage its way into our inside closet (how, we’ll never know). Believe me, I’d — and by “I,” I mean the male — would rather have relocated that Brown Snake than a water rat.

Everglades Rat Snake, or Orange Rat Snake in the Florida Everglades

16 Comments Post a comment
  1. This is one great shot =)

    May 21, 2012
    • Thanks so much! It was a bit tricky, getting on his level — and being as temperamental as he was, after nearly being stepped on. I’m happy he was non-venemous. 🙂

      May 21, 2012
  2. marialla #

    Well, I would say that – though I can not consider myself a huge fans of snakes though I did have one around my neck some years ago and thought the experience was pretty good (of course, the fact that it was a controlled situation did help) – this snake purposely put himself in your path to get your attention so that he could pose for you. I mean really, how many people do you know that would go out looking for a snake to take a picture of let alone hope that one comes upon their to pose for them. Most people would be long gone before the snake had a chance to propose a photo shoot session. Good going there Miss Feygirl!!! Keep up the good work and seeking those too shy to ask to be part of your blog but secretly wishing that they could find you or you them!!!

    May 21, 2012
  3. Hahahah! I LOVE that idea — that he put himself in my path to pose for me!! Why else, otherwise? I’m just SO HAPPY I saw him at the last second, especially with it being dusk, and in my “butterfly-zombie” frame of mind, where I see nothing but butterflies! I would have been absolutely devastated if I hurt him… And you’re right; I was talking to him as I was crawling down to get to his level to shoot him — as if I could soothe him into staying there, like a snake charmer? Heh! You’re so kind, thanks so much for your always sweet words!! ♥

    May 21, 2012
  4. What an amazing colour. Such a beautiful snake.

    May 21, 2012
    • Isn’t he gorgeous? He seemed all that brighter too, in the dimming light of the setting sun….

      May 21, 2012
  5. What a goodlooking fella. Who can resist such bright red colors. I’m a bit freak out with snakes unlike my son who seems to be curious about anything that moves. I must had been educated wrong as a kid which led to worng fears. It’s a great think that you share a post that let people ovecome their fears. Thanks.

    May 28, 2012
    • That’s a wonderful compliment (helping people overcome their fears) — thanks so very much! Believe me, I’m very cautious when I see them as well…. One never knows if they’re venemous or not, until you get a GOOD LOOK! 🙂 But they’re so helpful to our ecosystem.

      May 29, 2012
  6. Nice picture!! I would like to see one in person 🙂

    January 20, 2013
    • Amazing colors in nature… I can’t believe it took me so long to see one down here. 🙂

      January 20, 2013
  7. wow…that is a striking colour!

    January 30, 2013
    • Isn’t he gorgeous?? I couldn’t believe he was the first I had seen… Very shy guy, non-poisonous. I was belly-to-belly with him. 🙂

      January 30, 2013
      • Oh yes he is! 🙂
        Snakes are charming creatures and normally try to stay away from humans…they are also misunderstood quite a bit.
        “belly to belly”…you must really love snakes.

        January 30, 2013
      • You’re absolutely right… So highly misunderstood, and highly valuable members of EVERY ecosystem!

        Ah, I was entranced by his color. Besides, I was far enough away that he couldn’t bite me! 🙂 Even though he wasn’t venomous, I didn’t want to scare him into lashing out at me.

        January 30, 2013
  8. You can’t miss that snake with his or her garnet red skin.

    December 13, 2013
    • Isn’t she just lovely? Totally harmless, but just stunning. I was entranced! I know I was spooking her, but I was enthralled.

      January 28, 2014

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