For those curious about snakes...

Discussion in 'Predators and Pests' started by Spydrworks, Aug 1, 2007.

  1. Spydrworks

    Spydrworks Out Of The Brooder

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    Mar 18, 2007
    So. California
    Most basic descriptions fail people. Generally because the encounter with a snake is usually seconds long. They'd rather take off when they sense you coming near them or if they do strike, do so very fast. You cannot always go by markings and you may not be close enough to see if the snake has facial pits and you don’t want to get close enough to determine how the head is off from the neck in case it is a venomous species.

    The most distinctive characteristic with most venomous snakes in the US and pit vipers elsewhere is a very triangular shaped head. This shape is due to the venom sacs, which are located above the jaw and behind the eyes of the snake. This is typical of pit vipers such as the Western and Eastern diamondback rattlers, Mojave rattler and Pacific rattlers. Note: Pacific rattlers are too small to take on an adult chicken. Only larger adults of the other species mentioned can. Timber rattlers live in the Northeastern part of the states and are federally protected under the endangered species act.

    For those of you in California: California kingsnakes EAT rattlers. You WANT THEM AROUND!! So many people kill them just because they are snakes, but they can be your best friend in rattler country. Rattlers are their top prey…first on the menu.

    Most snakes here in the states are going to be too small to take on at least a grown chicken. Some can take on unattended chicks. Cribos in Texas can obtain a length of 9 feet…the longest US snake with the Indigo, also a 9 footer, but lives in the southeastern states. These are not poisonous, but might pose a threat to young chicks. Corn and rat snakes generally get about 6 feet, but rarely take on even little chicks. They are more interested in mice, but large adults might. However…Indigo and corn snakes are federally protected. You can serve a hefty fine if caught capturing or killing any of them. They are more highly prized by agriculture farmers, because they reduce grain loss by preying on rodents.

    Any other snakes here in the US are pretty much harmless to even day old chicks like ribbons, garters, ringnecks, watersnakes, even the little coral snake, which is highly venomous, but too tiny of a mouth…lol. These little guys would be really lucky to get a fang into a pinkie toe, much less chicken feathers. Still don’t want to tango with them. Remember, if yellow touches black, venom lack. If red touches yellow, kill a fellow. IMO, if you’re unsure, stay back. Adult cottonmouths might be able to get a hold of a young chick.

    Australia has 9 out of the 10 top most venomous snake species in the world, however, pose little threat to people given most are small like the Death Adder or just simply stay away from human encounters. There are more people in Australia (as well as in the states) who die from bee stings than snake bites. Those who do end up getting bit are the ones trying to catch these snakes. So best to just leave them well enough alone. It would still be a good idea to become familiar with these snakes if you live there.

    For anyone wishing to become familiar with the snakes native to their area, look up a herpetology organization for information. Some good advice…don’t go by a Google image search. Most such searches on Google will show animals not properly identified. Always look for websites with .gov, .org or .edu for reliable information.

    For those of you wondering, I'm a reptile buff and know my snakes [​IMG]
     
  2. chickiepoo

    chickiepoo Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Jun 28, 2007
    coastal South Carolina
    We have kingsnakes here in South Carolina also. Are they different from yours? I mean coloring. Ours definitely eat rattlesnakes, and it is the first snake I teach my children to recognize. ALL know not the kill a kingsnake. Once saw what seemed to be a coral kingsnake. Huge. Unfortunately it was already dead. Beautiful snake.
     
  3. Spydrworks

    Spydrworks Out Of The Brooder

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    Quote:We have quite a few kingsnakes here and they differ in coloring as much as the few kings found where you're at. Also, there are lots of milksnakes and they are kingsnakes too. You might have seen a scarlet king. They are red, black and white...the red is a broader band. Black is more like a trim.

    We have the mountain kingsnake (protected under CITES), which is similar in color, but all the bands have a more even width and the bands are thin. The California king has two color variations. Thick even bands of black and white are in the high deserts. Thick even black and yellow bands are in areas more Medaterrainean like where I'm at (close to San Diego). SC does have the Eastern king, which is colored the same as the high desert California king, but the black bands on the Eastern are super thick with thin bands of white, rather than even width bands like the Cali king.

    Kings are one of the most beautiful snakes next to corns and rat snakes (they can cross breed too...cross breeders named them jungle corns). They come in all sorts of natural colors...and a spectacular rainbow displays of captive bred specimens. From orange on black to ultra lilac on glowy white.

    One distinct difference between eastern (as of location, not species) and western kings is that eastern kings get much larger. Our kings here may reach 4 feet (Cali kings), but most are 3 feet or less (the mountain kings and the milksnakes). There? 6 feet is of the norm.
     
  4. Bubba

    Bubba Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Jun 18, 2007
    Rosy Boas will kill chickens [​IMG]

    I love them to so don't flip out like im killing them please. I don't even kill Mojave Greens when I run across them. I used to catch Pacific rattlers, Red Diamonds, Panamints, Mojaves, Speckleds, Sidewinders(Pretty sure it was the Mojave kind) as a kid, barehanded no less. (Regardless of where they say they are found on maps, they range MUCH further then thought.) In fact most rattlesnakes are becoming few and far between in most of so cal atm.

    For those of you in Florida you do need to worry about boas and pythons.... They aren't venomous but they will kill and eat a bird. Remember just because an animal isn't native to your area does not mean that they don't live there now.

    Bubba
     
  5. devora

    devora Chillin' With My Peeps

    Spydrworks:

    Thank you fot posting the snake info. Yesterday my beautiful Turken was bitten by a rattler, don't know what kind. The hen may live, but is has changed my attitude towards rattlers. My DH used to relocate them, never kill them.

    I can't imagine allowing one to hang around here now.
     
  6. CoyoteMagic

    CoyoteMagic RIP ?-2014

    I used to work for the National Park Service. We were not allowed to kill any kind of snake. The summer I worked out at Montezuma's Castle & Well up in Camp Verde, AZ was a record year for rattlers. We even had a little girl bitten by a baby diamondback the weekend of Memorial day.

    Part of my job was to go "wrangle" snakes that were out where the visitors were. Fun job, especially when you have loads of non-english speaking tourists trying to take pictures as you are trying to get an 7 ft Timber Rattler into a 5 gallon bucket!!

    Dri dollar fer auto=$3 per car load!!
     
  7. Spydrworks

    Spydrworks Out Of The Brooder

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    Mar 18, 2007
    So. California
    You're lucky. Working at vets I use to see dogs come in all the time with their faces poofed out from tangoing with rattlers. Most survive treatment and recover well...and sometimes they end up coming back to the vet because they just didn't learn the first time to keep their nose out of a hole in a rock...lol. One dog came in with two bites on his face. Took a little longer to heal up, but did well. I can't imagine a chicken getting a full on bite and surviving though. Lucky chicken. though because chicken feathers are hard for a snake to pierce (unless they have super huge fangs like gibbon vipers...they're in Africa or South America), usually the strike is benign and if in defense rather than for food, may even have been a dry bite (or at least not injected...perhaps residual from a previous strike). They would rather save the venom for dinner. That's when they need it and when ever they do inject, it takes time for the venom sacs to replenish. So they can be pecarious when it comes to what they inject, when and what for. Doesn't mean it's fool proof, but dry bites in defense is common. It's also possible the snake may have eaten shortly before biting, which means the venom sacs would be very low in fire power.

    Rattlers are pretty amazing though and they do all they can to let you know they are there. They don't want to get stepped on as much as you don't want to get bit...LOL. It's too bad chickens aren't as predator smart as we'd like them to be.
     
  8. Spydrworks

    Spydrworks Out Of The Brooder

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    Mar 18, 2007
    So. California
    Quote:Yeah...just don't get distracted...LOL...
     
  9. Bubba

    Bubba Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Jun 18, 2007
    Quote:That little girl is lucky. One venom affects children much more than an adult. Two babys are the most dangerous, they don't always control how much venom they pump in. Alot of times they just pump it all in at once. Adults conserve what they use, they usually save it for prey. Most snake bites from rattlers are dry bites around here. I had a friend in grade school that stepped into a mohave green nest. Had some 30 plus snakes in it. She lost her leg and was in the hospital forever...

    Bubba
     
  10. silkiechicken

    silkiechicken Staff PhD Premium Member

    Quote:Yeah, really. Just think, if they saw a dog or hawk, instead of running crazy and trying to hide in easy to get places, if they all ran and shoved themselves under a low car or a place that the predator won't fit. Or, even better, went up to the house and knocked or pressed the ringer to let us know!
     

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