Help identifying snake ... does he need to go?

Discussion in 'Predators and Pests' started by rizq, May 8, 2009.

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  1. rizq

    rizq Chillin' With My Peeps

    Oct 9, 2008
    Tennessee
    I saw a snake just outside the chicken pen yesterday. Good and bad. Good because at the moment we are having a bad rat problem (I really do love living in the woods). Bad because that snake was 3-4 feet long and I have NO idea what it is. I am concerned that it will eat our baby chicks or poults that our broodies will be hatching in a couple weeks. It is probably big enough to eat a half grown chicken. I poked at it with a stick to make it go away and it was quite aggressive, coiling and striking the stick several times before going on its crabby way. It slithered into a hole just a few feet from the chicken pen.

    I am almost 100% sure that this is NOT a venomous snake. But, like I said, it was quite aggressive and quite possibly large enough to eat our bantam EEs ... I am quite certain it would have little to know problem with the seramas and the chicks would barely be a snack. As much as I want him to eat the rats, Mr. Snake might have to go. I am open to discussion on that, however. How often do snakes take fowl (of any size) when there is an overabundant supply of rats? Am I safe leaving him at least until the rats are under control? After the rats are gone I assume I would have more to worry about, but I do not know how likely snakes are to bother chickens. I know the chickens will eat a snake, but how big of a snake can they handle?

    I am having a devil of a time trying to identify this guy. The back is solid black with an almost flourescent yellow-green belly, tending more toward yellow. The yellow extends about halfway up his sides in numerous, narrow bands. Head is more spade shaped than the average snake with a slightly pointy snout ... kind of like a vipers head, but not nearly as dramatic. I am thinking maybe an oddly marked king or rat snake, but I cannot find any photos of any snake that look quite right with the head shape or the coloring/pattern. I wish I had gotten a picture of him but did not have my camera. The best I could do was draw him in paint to demonstrate the incomplete barring pattern.

    [​IMG]

    I know it is cheesy and pathetic but it was the best I could do. Feel free to laugh ... I am [​IMG]
     
  2. Mahonri

    Mahonri Urban Desert Chicken Enthusiast Premium Member

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    May 14, 2008
    North Phoenix
    My Coop
    I'm saying that pattern of coloring is NOT good. I'd get rid of it.
     
  3. CoyoteMagic

    CoyoteMagic RIP ?-2014

    I would move him out away from your coop. He will surely eat your biddies if he can get to them. Maybe your eggs too.

    I moved a 5footer that was in my nestbox yesterday. Don't think he would hurt my big girls but he was having a good time with my eggs
     
  4. rizq

    rizq Chillin' With My Peeps

    Oct 9, 2008
    Tennessee
    Do you have any idea what he might possibly be? Are you thinking it might be venemous (not supposed to be anything other than cottonmouths, timber rattlers, copperheads, and I think maybe one other rattler here, but who really knows what might have hitchhiked in) or just a nasty aggressive bugger?
     
  5. Punk-Rock_Chicken

    Punk-Rock_Chicken Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Apr 11, 2009
    High Springs, Florida
    Looks like a King Snake...They are very good snakes. They mostly eat other snakes even Rattlers!! If it is... keep him around, as chickens arent on his usual menu.
     
  6. rizq

    rizq Chillin' With My Peeps

    Oct 9, 2008
    Tennessee
    Quote:It could be, but I have never seen one with this narrow of barring and only not going all the way around. There is so much color variation in snakes though.
     
  7. Mahonri

    Mahonri Urban Desert Chicken Enthusiast Premium Member

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    Quote:Yup if that's what he looked like he's OK..., usually orange/red and yellow on snakes spell trouble.
     
  8. TriciaHowe

    TriciaHowe Mother Hen

    Nov 11, 2008
    Trenton, FL
    The only thing I found that matched what you drew was a Mangrove Snake. I don't even know if they are in the US - I found that they are illegal here - but don't know much more. Please let us know if you get a positive ID [​IMG]
     
  9. BorderKelpie

    BorderKelpie Chillin' With My Peeps

    Mar 1, 2009
    outside Dallas
    I looked thru my book on Texas snakes (sorry, I live in TX) :)
    All I could find that resmbled your beastie are king snakes. The nice thing about King snakes is that they can eat other snakes. (any snake with 'king' in the name relishes other snakes.) I would assume that he would be willing to eat eggs and small chickens. King snakes will also musk you should you ever decide to pick them up. Very nasty, foul smelly stuff. If it's a king snake, obviously, it's not venomous. But because we don't know the species for sure, please be careful.
     
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