I think this is a Rat Snake and I came across it at the Sequoyah National Wildlife Refuge in Oklahoma. It was crossing the road in front of me and when I stopped my pickup so did it. I was able to get a lot of photos before it moved off the road. I was even able to get low for this particular photo and the first thing I thought was that the snake was smiling for the camera. I was also lucky that no other vehicles came by.
Western Ratsnake - 062617-7305Western Ratsnake- Sequoyah National Wildlife Refuge - Oklahoma
Rat Snake Facts
- They are medium to large constrictors and are found throughout much of the Northern Hemisphere.
- They feed primarily on rodents and birds.
- It prefers heavily wooded areas and is known for having excellent climbing ability, including the ability to climb the trunk of large mature trees without the aid of branches.
- This snake is a competent swimmer.
- During winter it hibernates in dens, often with copperheads and timber rattlesnakes.
- When startled, they may freeze and wrinkle themselves into a series of kinks.
- If they feel further threatened, they may flee quickly or tail vibrate (potentially a form of mimicry, which makes them sound like rattlesnakes).
- They are also capable of producing a foul-smelling musk, which they will release onto predators if picked up. They spread the musk with their tails in hopes of deterring the threat.