I don’t think I would have seen this Western Rat Snake if a couple of Eastern Phoebes hadn’t alerted me to its location. I was sitting on my deck when I heard a couple of alarmed Eastern Phoebes. I looked around trying to see what they were upset about. I didn’t see anything at first. One of the birds kept flying to a cedar tree and when I took a closer look I saw a Western Rat Snake in this cedar tree. It was slowly crawling through the branches. I didn’t have my camera, so I was unable to get a photo of it in the tree.
It was cool watching this large snake moving through the tree branches. I decided to watch it instead of going into my house for my camera. The birds kept getting closer to it and I think the snake decided it was time to move to the ground.
I went and got my camera after it slid to the ground and I began photographing it as it moved through the woods. In the first photo above, I thought the Rat Snake was going to climb another tree, but it just slid along the bottom of the trunk before it moved into an area where I couldn’t follow.
I did check out the cedar tree trying to discover why this snake was crawling through the branches, but I didn’t find anything.
Western Rat Snake Facts
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. This association gave rise to one of its common names, pilot black snake, and the superstition that this nonvenomous species led the venomous ones to the den. (Wikipedia)