Black Rat Snake

Normally, we consider Black Rat Snakes to be beneficial critters around the farm; they generally provide very valuable rodent control. The above specimen, however, took up residence in the chicken house, ate lots of eggs, and killed an adult broody hen, as described here.

In late August 2011, I found a collection of Black Rat Snake eggs in an old straw pile under some cedar trees. A couple of young dispersed from the area at the time that I initially found the nest, but not all of the eggs had yet hatched. We checked the nest again a couple of times, and found this one poking its head out of the egg in the early evening of August 29.