My father in law sends me the most random and entertaining email forwards. Sometimes they are so entertaining that I have to share them, like this one about This is Why You Don't Kill Black Snakes!
Have you ever heard of a black snake? Otherwise known as a black rat snake or Eastern Indigo Snake, they are a pretty common non venomous snake found in the Southeast that can get pretty dang big.
For those people who are afraid of snakes, I realize that they can be utterly terrifying. However, before you rush off to grab a shovel to bash a black snakes brains in, check this out...
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This is Why You Don't Kill Black Snakes
What is that right in front of the black snake? That is right, it's an Eastern Diamondback rattlesnake. The Eastern Diamondback rattlesnake is an extremely dangerous, venomous snake...
I grew up with parents that were into snakes - our family was members of the Herpetological Society of Florida during my childhood and we ALWAYS had pet snakes. I had pet snakes from the time I was a young child all the way until my 30s.
We had Boa Constrictors, Burmese Pythons, ball pythons, rat snakes - just about anything you can think of, we had it - except for venomous snakes, of course!
An average bite from an Eastern Diamondback Rattlesnake can deliver 400-450 milligrams of venom, with an estimated human lethal dose of only 100-150 milligrams.
Eastern diamondbacks are found throughout the southeastern United States.
And this right here is This is Why You Don't Kill Black Snakes!
Oh wait, what happened there? Do you happen to see what I see? Yep, this is happening! It's really happening!
The black snake is eating the rattlesnake! It is literally eating that rattlesnake like nobody's business.
I always knew that king snakes ate other snakes - as we had a pair when I was a kid and one day...we no longer had a pair, but had one very, very fat male king snake. He ate his mate.
When my father in law sent this email me to, I was literally in AWE! Of course, I love snakes, period - and while I would kill a rattlesnake in my yard if I ever came across one, that just isn't something that we have to deal with in Miami.
Once upon a time, yes - there were actually rattlesnakes in the woods before Miami became so populated.
But those days are long gone. I have not heard of anyone coming across a Rattlesnake of any kind in Miami in decades.
Black snake FTW!!
I am a little surprised the person taking this photo didn't run over and chop off the rattle, to be honest. That would have been my first instinct.
Either way, this black snake is totally #winning
So in a Nutshell, This is Why You Don't Kill Black Snakes - They EAT dangerous snakes!
Eastern rat snakes, formerly known as black rat snakes, are large non-venomous snakes between 3.5 and 7 feet (one and two meters) long. They have shiny black scales on their back and a light colored belly, and their throat and chin are white.
The head of an eastern rat snake is wider than the neck and the rest of the body.
BUT I think that this is actually an Eastern Indigo Snake!
What is an Eastern Indigo Snake?
An Indigo Snake is non-venomous, and, at least as far as its diet goes, it is fond of its fellow snakes, particularly the dangerous venomous kind of other snake.
Eastern Indigo Snake
The eastern indigo snake is an icon of the southern longleaf pine forest and is the longest native snake on the continent. A non-venomous apex predator, it preys upon many species of animals including some venomous snakes, and it plays a critical role in keeping an ecosystem healthy and balanced.
When identifying the eastern indigo, look for the following characteristics:
- bluish black in color, appearing iridescent purple in the light
- orange-red on the chin, sides of the head and throat
- males commonly reach 7–9 feet in length, females are slightly smaller
- new hatchlings are 16-24 inches long
- produces annual clutches of 6–12 eggs, Indigos may travel up to three miles during warmer seasons in search of new habitat and prey.
A daytime hunter, the Indigo Snake was once a common sight throughout Florida, Georgia, southern Alabama and southeastern Mississippi.
I remember seeing Indigo Snakes in the Everglades as a kid - but that was over 30 years ago, and they are not a snake that you see very often in South Florida anymore.
In 1978, eastern indigos were federally listed as a threatened species under the Endangered Species Act. Threats to the snake included loss of habitat, which continues today, and over-collection for the pet trade.
As you probably know if you are local to South Florida, our Everglades are basically destroyed at this point. I rarely even see a bunch of alligators when going across Alligator Alley or Tamiami Trail anymore.
Are you looking for more fun posts about animals?
Check out this post about MERMAIDS!!
Or what about these GIANT Grey Wolves?? Are they real? Is it all photoshop? Read this blog post and weigh in!
Updated to add: I think this is actually a Indigo Snake, NOT a Black Rat Snake...
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