Sunday, April 28, 2013

Y is for Yellow Rat Snake

Snakes are cool and pretty and few of them are better looking than the sleek yellow rat snake which is a medium sized constrictor found in the northern hemisphere.



This ice cool, smoking boy could slither into a mellow jazz club and, ala the Fast Show, the night would be great, wonderful..



Rat snakes come in lots of different colors and shades. While our old friend the angler fish comes in lots of shades of ugly, that rat snake comes in many hues of pretty. The Mandarin Rat Snake and the Red Tailed Green Rat Snake are just two of them.

Rat snakes make good pets. Somewhat importantly they aren't very venomous. Rat snakes were for a long time thought to be completely nonvenomous, but recent studies have shown that some Old World species do possess small amounts of venom, although the levels are negligible for humans. Indeed one type of rat snake - the corn snake - is the most popular reptilian pet in the world. In other words you will have a lot more trouble with a Jack Russell, believe me you will.

Not all snakes make good pets. There is always the risk of owner consumption or mortality among some species, although snakes generally get a bad rap. There are many more non venomous species than venomous ones. Snakes are found on all continents of the world. Curiously, there are some islands that are snake free including New Zealand and Ireland. Saint Patrick is said to have banished all snakes from Ireland but, in reality, there is no evidence any ever lived here. The reference is said to have referred to pagans.

Snakes are lizards that lost their legs some time ago. It doesn't seem to have impeded them much. Many species have skulls with many more joints than their lizard ancestors, enabling them to devour prey much larger than their heads with highly mobile jaws. Even unfortunate humans have been found in the bellies of big pythons. Due to their their narrow bodies, snakes' paired organs (such as kidneys) appear one in front of the other instead of side by side, and many of them have just one functioning lung.

Three snakes feature in a recent list of the 25 most dangerous animals in the world with the carpet viper taking the much coveted number 7 slot.

The most dangerous snake in the world uses a hemotoxin that disables blood clotting. Sadly, most of the bites occur in areas that lack modern medical facilities so the victims slowly bleed to death over the course of several weeks.

Snakes are not actually slimy, despite the popular misconception. They have dry, scaly skin which they shed up to four times a year. Snakes' eyes are covered by scales and are always open.

The phobia of snakes is widespread. As many as a third of all adults are freaked out by them. It's called ophiophobia. I'm not freaked out by snakes the way I am by spiders, which is just as well as I often seem to encounter snakes; most recently after reading the Beware of the Cottonmouths signs in a state park, and saying 'what are the chances of seeing one? before almost stepping on one in the middle of the main drag.

If you suffer from ophiophobia you might not want to watch this video. Just saying.



Snakes have held a mystical place in literature, folklore and religion for a long time. In ancient Egypt  the snake played a key role and the Nile Cobra adorned the crown of the pharaoh in ancient time. Cleopatra is said to have died by inducing a deadly cobra to bite her.

India is often described as the land of snakes and is steeped in tradition regarding snakes.They are worshipped as gods even today in some parts of India with some women pouring milk on snake pits, even though serpents are not partial to milk, not even a milk snake.

Useless Fact About the Yellow Rat Snake

Yellow Rat Snakes will spend much of their lives underground searching for rodents but will climb as high as 60 feet up trees in search of a tasty bird.

What Not To Say to a Yellow Rat Snakes

Who gives a rats?



26 comments:

  1. I have ophiophobia! I couldn't scroll through that pic you posted fast enough. My hair stands on end even now. @___@

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    1. wow Dee that was a nice snake compared to some, snigger..

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  2. If I can just quote Indiana Jones here, "snakes...why'd it have to be snakes..." Not a fan. I could never ever buy fuzzy little creatures to feed to one either.

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    1. hmm you raise a good point re buying them rats for lunch JoJo

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  3. Eek! Just stopping by for the A-Z Challenge. Please check us out and sign up to follow if you like what you see. Juliet atCity Muse Country Muse

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    1. thanks for stopping by Juliet. Am a bit behind in commenting but will check out your blog shortly.

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  4. I'm so freaked out by snakes that the top picture gave me the willies as soon as I opened the post. I'm with Indiana Jones on this one.

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    1. hmmm a lot of snake phobia out there I fear Julie.

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  5. Snakes are SO cool! I love their cool skin covering those agile, muscled bodies. I held my first snake in 4th grade. My classmate brought one for show-and-tell. I've been fascinated ever since.

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    1. Great Mary - mind you, looks like you are in the minority here.

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  6. Snakes tend to creep me out a little, but not enough that I won't approach them. Held one at a zoo last year and I swear it tried to cop a feel! XD

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    1. ooo one rude snake for real Patricia :)

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  7. I freaking love snakes, though I wouldn't make a very good snake mommy since I could never deal with their food source. I'd be so squicked-out having to keep the pre-killed rodents in the freezer, and then having to thaw them and put them into the snake's terrarium with tongs. But they are nice to admire in zoos, the wild, children's museums, and other people's homes. A couple of snakes, like garter and garden snakes, are even relatively friendly towards people, by snake standards.

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    1. I know Carrie-Anne - wouldn't it be easier if they could eat pop tarts.

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  8. Blarg! Snakes! Not a fan. They're pretty behind glass, not so much slithering unexpectly over my foot. I'll stick with my Jack Russel thank you very much. :)

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    1. they can nip tho eh Jean - hmm fortunately snakes seem to keep their distance.

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  9. I quite like snakes, they don't freak me out. I couldn't have one as a pet because I wouldn't be able to feed it. Happy to hold one though....you interviewed Hugh Jackman! Wow, can I have a job with you please :)

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    1. Hmm yes the food seems to be a recurring theme Rowena - long time ago re Hugh I'm afraid.

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  10. Ahhhh creepy! Snakes, eesh.

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  11. Yikes! The snake in the video is HUGE! Even knowing most snakes I might encounter won't harm me, I still like to keep a good distance between them and me.

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    1. I know Daisy - and rather offputting when the camera person gets attacked.

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  12. I could not have a snake for a pet. No amount of saying how wonderful they are as pets would ever convince me. lol

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    1. people do seem to be rather polarized when it comes to snakes Karen :)

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  13. Nice. Sorry had to get the Fast show in there. I actually like snakes. Rather play with one of those than a spider any day of the week. :)

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    1. snakes are niiiiice Juliette - apart from the nasty ones...

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