Monday, August 22, 2011

It's a snake-eat-snake world!

My friend Tyler, age 14, called from near the barn "There's a snake", followed by "There are two snakes, and one is eating the other one!" After taking a quick look, I ran for my camera. There was no time to change lenses, so let's ignore the quality and focus on content.

There was a Black King Snake (Lampropeltis getula nigra) swallowing a Smooth Earth Snake (Virginia valeriae). King snakes eat lots of things, but they are famous for eating both venomous and non-venomous snakes. Since they do eat Copperheads and their kin, they're valuable snakes to have around and I was glad to see this one. I would rather he had a Copperhead in his mouth, however. Today's lunch was an uncommon species that feeds on worms, insect larvae, and such. I wouldn't have minded keeping him around, as well, but who is to argue with nature?


  1. Part of me is fascinated by this - but the other part is horrified. Snakes. One reason why I'm glad I live here and not there!
    And re 'Dunnies' - I was pre-preparing a few posts and just clicked the wrong button there - publish, rather than save! Oops. But of course the mistake then shows in people's blog roll. It will get posted, but not for a few days. I am comforted that it's not only me who does this sometimes...

  2. Thanks, Jenny. I've done worse! I'll be looking forward to the post.
    Re: snakes, we actually don't see many and most are harmless, even beneficial. The ecologist in me says I should leave the venomous ones alone, as well, but my Appalachian culture runs deeper, I guess, and I can't tolerate venomous snakes near the house.

  3. It's a jungle out there!
    Eat or be eaten or nature red in tooth and claw.

    Enough already with the cliches, great photo.

  4. Do you have a larger image of this! I think your Black Kingsnake is a Black Racer. The upper labials dont look patterned like a Black King. and the dorsal scales seem a tad dull. I would love to see a slightly larger image. Either way its an AMAZING capture, congratulation!

    J.P. Stephenson