I photographed this Western Ratsnake crossing the asphalt section of the tour road at the Sequoyah National Wildlife Refuge in Oklahoma back in June 2017.

This Ratsnake is smiling for my camera!

Western Ratsnake
Western Ratsnake Smiling – Sequoyah National Wildlife Refuge – Oklahoma

How I Got The Shot – Western Ratsnake

I spotted this Ratsnake while driving, and I was able to stop and get out of my pickup to get the shot. I was able to get prone with my camera resting on the asphalt.

I use a Canon EOS 7D Mark II camera with a 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 1/320 of a second at f6.3 and the ISO at 800. I also had a -0.3 exposure value. White Balance on auto. I was using single point, continuous auto focus with evaluative metering.

Western Ratsnake Facts

  • Other common names include: chicken snake, mountain black snake, mountain pilot snake, rat snake, cow snake, and white-throated racer.
  • They may freeze and wrinkle into a series of kinks when surprised.
  • 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 able to produce a foul-smelling musk which, if picked up, will be released.