Friday, June 05, 2015

Black Rat Snake

I was working in Columbus, Indiana, exploring the hills and ravines, when I heard something heavy behind me fall. The sound was up in the trees, and whatever it was, it didn't hit the ground. It didn't sound like a squirrel, either. Strange...

I turned around and saw this large Black Rat Snake hanging in the trees, swaying slightly. From below, it looked monstrous. Of course, I had to get a closer look.

Black Rat was very calm and graceful, smoothly sliding up through the Sassafras saplings. It never seemed rushed or worried. I watched from several feet away in rapt fascination. I assume it was patrolling for bird nests or other easy prey. It was obviously an accomplished hunter.

After this picture, I left the snake and got back to work. The snake disappeared in the tree tops and was lost from view. It made me look at branches from a different perspective. We walked further on down before heading back past where we had last seen the snake.

My coworker, Dave, was standing under a Red Cedar tree near where we had last seen the snake. I started to joke, "Wouldn't it be funny if the snake was right above your head?", when I looked up and saw the snake right above Dave's head. Serene as ever, the Black Rat Snake was apparently looking for a route down from the cedar and was gliding towards us. We both got the impression that it would have continued on down his arm if we would have let it. Instead, it took a maple sapling to the ground right next to us, amazingly using tiny branches that didn't look like they would support the weight. It was still chilling right there when we left. It felt very special to be so close to such a beautiful creature.

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