Thursday, May 12, 2016

Well Hello There





Looks like the resident farm Ratsnake is really beginning to get some size on him these days. Of course he owes his domain and easy life to me although he doesn't know it.

You see for years and years we had one Ratsnake that was over 6 foot long and ruled over his domain secure in the knowledge that he was pretty much at the top of the food pyramid. While dogs, humans and the like were not his prey of course he was pretty secure knowing he was big enough that he wasn't theirs either.

He wasn't afraid of much and would openly slither around the barn, the yard, sun himself on the deck or driveway. In fact that's how we knew how long he was because he once stretched himself out on a six foot 2x4 I had cut and was laying on the porch.

I used to know when he was prowling around the yard because the mocking birds would go bat-shit crazy chasing him and pecking at his tail.

Then one day the old patriarch met something higher on the food chain than himself. The lawn mower. That was about six years ago but after that I began seeing smaller versions of the late king around until one managed to get larger than all the rest and a new king was born.

I been seeing this guy pictured above once a month or so every Spring and Summer for the last three years. He is getting increasingly more bold as he gets some length to him. I am guessing he is about 5 foot now and grew at least a foot since last year. The old king used to really like a small rock wall I have on one side of the driveway but this guy seems to prefer the trees behind my bee hives. Usually that is where I see him although last year I found him on the roof when I went up to take the plastic sheet off the air conditioner we have up there. I haven't come across him in the barn or outbuildings yet but I am sure he goes into them.

In Missouri you don't have a farm unless you got one of these living with you. Despite my dislike of snakes I have learned over the years to co-habitate with these guys once they take up residence and establish their territory. At least you know when they are around that there won't be any worse snakes moving in since the Black Ratsnakes pretty much grow bigger than any other snakes around here. Once you get a good five footer or larger there ain't anything in the snake kingdom going to challenge them.

This one appears to be afraid of lawn mowers though which is why he is up that tree.

I think I will name him George.

Keep Prepping Everyone!!!!


23 comments:

  1. George kills rats I like George

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    1. Bubba - Good to hear from you!!!! I haven't had any rats around here in years and the chickens ran the mice out of the barn. Not sure where George is finding prey now.

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    2. Yeah I'm a lurker now but on the plus side I seem to have become a first class mater grower so I got that going for me.
      I'll keep preppin bro.

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  2. I know this sounds like a dumb question (humour me I'm English) Do they eat rats, mice and rabbits?
    Gill

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    1. Gill - Yes they do. Mice are really their main prey I think. They also eat eggs and baby birds, lizards, other snakes, slugs, moles, voles, baby squirrels. Etc. I have even heard rumors of them eating kittens they caught ungaurded.

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  3. It will eat your eggs, wait until Mrs PP finds it curled up in the nest with an egg in it. I have had them eat chicks or try to eat them only to find them too big but it kills the chick anyway. They get time off of the roost at night. I like these snakes out in the field.

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    1. Sf - Yep. Finding them in the nests and eating eggs is my prime concern. Not sure how I am going to handle that situation yet.

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  4. Every time I go outside I nearly step on a snake these days. They've all been garter snakes so far, though. George is pretty cool, as long as he doesn't decide to fall out of a tree when you're standing under it. :)

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    1. XL - Good to hear from you!!! I used to see a lot of garter snakes around out in the fields. I did find one in the house last Summer too although I never did figure out how it got in. The chickens seem to chase the smaller snakes away now.

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  5. I guess you need to keep an eye out walking under trees. We used to have a black snake living in the foundation of an old homestead on our place that I was kind of find of. I always saw him around but he never was aggressive. Just curious. When we tore down the old homestead he disappeared.

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    1. Lisa - I have never had one get aggressive with me. Usually the older big ones can get almost tame sometimes and will allow themselves to be carried if they are in the way. The smaller ones are usually the most high strung.

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  6. Dont know if I like the idea of a snake as big as me hiding up in the trees, on the ground yes but it sees sneaky being up in the trees

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    1. Dawn - They are only long. Not really all that thick. I have had them fall out of a tree into my kayak back when I did a lot of river running. It's startling to say the least.

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  7. I wish I wasn't petrified of snakes- I know they aren't all bad.

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    1. HG - Even the good ones give me the willies.

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  8. i love George. all we have up here are little garden snakes, i think they are called red-bellies. they are only tiny and they love eating slugs. they seem to like to live in wet muddy stuff so jambaloney always has old ripped tarps rocked down that he lifts up everynow and again to water. we love our little snakes!

    sending love. your friend,
    kymber

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    1. Kymber - We call those mud snakes down here. Rarely see em unless you are turning over old logs and such. Even small snakes creep me out.

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  9. I bring them home & let them crawl into gopher holes when I see them crossing a road.

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    1. MV - I drive around them and hope I never see em again :)

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  10. "Then one day the old patriarch met something higher on the food chain than himself. The lawn mower." From rat snake to SPLAT snake... now THAT had to have been exciting!

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    1. Pete - It was kinda horrible. Took a few seconds for the mower to pull him all the way into the blades and he was thrashing around the whole time. I hated it but figured it was best to just get his death over with when it happened.

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  11. In theory I am a fan of non-venomous snakes. They do a lot of pest reduction. That said, they still freak me out every time I see them...

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  12. We are also in Missouri and while I have seen one of these about 4 foot long on the property, we still have been dealing with a few copperheads. I do not like snakes, big, small, venomous or not. I tend to deal with them by just heading in the other direction. Except when the venomous ones are close to the house. These have a short meeting with a long handled shovel.

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