It was just about a month ago that I first wrote of our sighting of the Black Rat Snake in our garage. At that time, I said I would post more later. Well, it's now later. I was hoping that I could post that we had successfully captured the snake to relocate him to the bottom of the yard where he wouldn't bother us, but we have not seen him since that first day.
You see, my husband and father in law had built a special snake catching device and we wanted a chance to try it out and see if it worked better than our method of herding the snake into a large garbage can to transport him to his new home. We have used the herding method several times with great success, but if the snake is not in a good position this is a bit difficult to do. As you can see in the pictures below, this snake catching device is quite simple. It's a pole with a string looped through it. Just get the snake's head inside the loop and pull tight. Now don't strangle him, just transport him to your trash can for relocation. I was hoping to have a picture of the snake caught in the device. Oh well, I guess he was camera shy and decided our garage wasn't the place to be.
I do want to share some information about my friend though, and that is exactly what he is, a friend, not a foe. Many people misunderstand snakes and their fear and lack of knowledge cause snakes to continue to be the victim of human persecution.
The Black Rat Snake may look menacing, but he is generally shy and does not like confrontation. His diet includes primarily rodents, although he may dine on small lizards or the occasional frog. Rodents, meaning rats, mice, voles, chipmunks. It is because of this rodent diet that they are very useful on farms and in your garden. They use constriction to kill their prey (just in case you were wondering).
The Black Rat Snake can be found from New England south through Georgia and west across the northern parts of Alabama, Mississippi, and Louisiana, and north through Oklahoma to southern Wisconsin. There is also an isolated population in southern Canada and northern New York.
Rat Snakes are egg layers. The female lays 12 to 20 eggs. The eggs are laid in a hidden area, under hollow logs or leaves, or in abandoned burrows. The eggs hatch 65 to 70 days later.
Take precautions so that snakes don't enter your home. You can do this by sealing cracks and openings around your house. Keep your yard free of debris and if you have a wood pile, keep it away from the house.
I hope that if you encounter a snake, you will not kill it out of fear. If it is not near your home either let it exist naturally or relocate it. The Black Rat Snake is definitely a friend.