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Old 08-22-2011, 08:43 PM   #1
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Default Northern Black Ratsnake

There were two of them resting under brush on the downriver side of the mill dam (arrows in first photo). One immediately spooked and crawled into the dam, the other just kept a watchful eye on me and let me get some pictures. I think it's a juvenile Northern Black Ratsnake (Pantherophis obsoletus), but it could possibly be a Northern Black Racer. The behavior doesn't match as Racers are supposed to very defensively aggresive. The Black Ratsnake is the longest snake found in Canada and one of the longest in the U.S.
Northern Black Ratsnake-river-186a.jpgNorthern Black Ratsnake-river-189.jpgNorthern Black Ratsnake-river-192.jpgNorthern Black Ratsnake-river-202.jpgNorthern Black Ratsnake-river-204.jpg
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Old 08-22-2011, 09:05 PM   #2
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That's a really great photo!!! Great detail in the scales!!! Those scales have a little ridge straight through the middle of them.... they're what's called "keeled" so I'm pretty sure you nailed it the 1st time. You've got a Northern Black Ratsnake. If your photo hadn't been so good.... it woulda been hard to tell for sure what you found.
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Old 08-22-2011, 09:36 PM   #3
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Thanks for confirming my ID. Another species I'd not seen before. I love racking those up!
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Old 08-27-2011, 12:13 PM   #4
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Do you think this is a black rat snake? He/she was hanging out in my garden this morning.
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Northern Black Ratsnake-snake.jpg   Northern Black Ratsnake-snake-2.jpg   Northern Black Ratsnake-snake-3.jpg   Northern Black Ratsnake-snake-4.jpg  
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Old 08-27-2011, 12:26 PM   #5
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Yes, I think so. From what I read, their most obvious characteristic is the bright yellow under the jaw. When in defensive mode, they hold their heads up to display the jaw. Both the yellow and the behavior is shown in your pictures. Good job!
By the way, the Black Racer looks similar, only bigger. Those guys, when put on the defensive, are much more aggressive and will often strike. Of course they're non-venomous, but still...
Do you know what's really cool about this? I didn't know any of this a week ago!
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Old 08-27-2011, 01:04 PM   #6
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Thanks! I think I'll hold off on weeding and mulching that part of the garden, at least until he finds another place to hunt!
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