The last reptiles and amphibians of the year seen this month, along with the changing colors of Autumn leaves.
The Ohio Erie Canal Towpath is a very popular destination for hikers and bikers. A decent variety and quantity of reptiles and amphibians can be found in the canal, Cuyahoga River, and surrounding areas. Here’s a Black Rat Snake that I saw crossing the Towpath this morning.
The Black Rat is not only Ohio’s largest snake, it is also my favorite snake. Occasionally reaching over 8 feet in length, it is typically about half that size.
When first encountered, a Black Rat Snake tends to freeze and remain motionless. Though if it feels threatened, the snake adopts a “stand up and fight” stance, with its forebody raised up and head drawn back in an S-curve.
This is essentially a forest-loving snake, often found in clearings or at the edge of where wooded areas meet fields. It is an accomplished climber and can sometimes be found high in trees.
The Black Rat Snake, a constrictor, is perhaps Ohio’s most beneficial snake to man in regards to the role it plays in controlling destructive rodents.