Western Ratsnake Living Near My Bird Feeder

By | May 15, 2017

I have watched a Western Ratsnake for the past few days here in my yard. When I first saw it, I thought it was just passing through. The next day I saw the same snake and it was hanging around my Bird feeder. I saw it again yesterday while I was sitting in one of my lawn chairs. I went and got my camera and the snake watched me come back to my chair. I thought it would leave the area, but it came over to me and I was able to get a few close up photos. It stayed around for about 30 minutes and then I watched it crawl under a stack of logs. I am thinking this is where it lives. This one was a little over 3 feet long.

Western Ratsnake In My Yard

Western Ratsnake (Arkansas) – Canon 7D2 | Canon EF100-400mm f/4.5-5.6L v2 Lens | @400mm | 1/640 | f/6.3 | ISO 800

Here is a Western Ratsnake I photographed last July: Birds Alerted Me To A Western Rat Snake

Western Ratsnake Facts

  • Adults can become quite large, with a reported typical length of 3 foot 6 inches to 6 foot.
  • When not fully grown, rat snakes are subject to predation by many animals, including other snakes.
  • Once they attain maturity, they are readily preyed on by humans, as well as mammalian carnivores and large birds of prey (especially red-tailed hawks).
  • 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.
  • When cornered or provoked, black snakes are known to stand their ground and can become aggressive.
  • This species is a constrictor, meaning it suffocates its prey, coiling around small animals and tightening its grip until they can no longer draw breath, before eating them.

More Facts about this snake can be found on Wikipedia and Herps of Arkansas.

Author: Steve Creek

An Arkansas-based wildlife photographer specializing in the wildlife found in Arkansas and Oklahoma. Steve’s images are created from his overwhelming passion for being outdoors with cameras in tow.

One thought on “Western Ratsnake Living Near My Bird Feeder

  1. Ruth Byrn

    I like this post. Also: when I lived “out” on some acreage near Paron, a big kingsnake resided somewhere near the house, and it liked people and would come and hang out with me when I was doing something outside. It had good vibes and I still think about it often.


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