Western Ratsnake Moving Through Pine Needles

By | June 18, 2019

I photographed this Western Ratsnake crawling through pine needles on my property located near the Ouachita National Forest here in Arkansas. This is the most common snake I see in this area. They prefer heavily wooded areas and are known for their great climbing ability. I have spotted them in a cedar tree that I have near my cabin many times.

Western Rat Snake
A Western Ratsnake crawling through pine needles here in Arkansas.

The most interesting thing I have read about these snakes is that during winter they will sometimes hibernate in dens with Copperheads and Timber Rattlesnakes.

Western Ratsnake Facts

  • They are a large snake with a total length of 6 foot. The record total length is 8 foot 5 inches.
  • This snake is a constrictor, meaning they crush their prey by coiling around them and tightening its grip until they can no longer draw breath, before eating them.
  • They will eat other snakes (including both those of their own and other species), frogs, lizards, chipmunks, squirrels, juvenile rabbits, juvenile opossums, songbirds, and bird eggs. Bird eggs is what I see them after most in my area.
  • Mating takes place in late May and early June. The young hatch in the fall and are 10-16 inches at birth. Clutch Size: 5-20 eggs.

How I Got The Shot – Western Ratsnake

I go for walks around my property and this is how I spot most of the snakes in this area. I spotted this one moving through the pine needles. It was easy to spot because of its size and color.

I was hand holding my Canon EOS 7D Mark II camera with the Canon EF 100 – 400 mm f/4.5-5.6L IS II lens. I was shooting in aperture priority mode (AV) with a shutter speed of 1/640 of a second at f6.3 and the ISO at 800. I also had a -0.7 exposure value. White Balance set on auto. I was using single point, continuous auto focus with evaluative metering.

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