Snakes and broody hens?

Discussion in 'Predators and Pests' started by chickenwoods, Apr 28, 2008.

  1. chickenwoods

    chickenwoods Chillin' With My Peeps

    302
    1
    149
    Apr 29, 2007
    **||OKLAHOMA||**
    Will a broody hen be able to defend her eggs from a puff atter snake??

    I had one in the barn tonight,it was pitch black and i was shuffling a jug of eggs,a spotllight and a sharpshooter and i was not able to get him..:mad: I candled about 10 out of about 15 of her eggs and all of them showed a chick moving about!!

    I couldnt stand a loss of one of her eggs,can she defend her eggs?
     
  2. Dawn419

    Dawn419 Lost in the Woods

    3,367
    34
    238
    Apr 16, 2007
    Evening Shade, AR
    I'd move her and the eggs to a snake-proof area. If you don't have such an area, I think you should make one as we have puff adders here and they are proving to be relentless...found one lurking in a cooped off area where the Silkies are all broody (3 girls), so they aren't laying, they are in "chicken jail" to break them of the broody, and the snake was there anyways.


    Dawn
     
  3. clawmute

    clawmute Out Of The Brooder

    They're not called snakes for nothing. I've seen hens sitting on a large, coiled up black snake. The snake eats the eggs and then the chicken makes a nice warm blanket while he sleeps off his meal. SNEAKY eh?
     
  4. shaky

    shaky Chillin' With My Peeps

    59
    1
    106
    Apr 15, 2008
    Austin
    #1 There are absolutely no puff adders in the United States

    #2 If the snake you saw was "puffing up", it was a hognose snake, which eats toads

    #3 If it was in the henhouse actually eating eggs and chicks, it was most likely a ratsnake, which can get pretty long, but are harmless to humans. Sometimes the ratsnake will come into the coop after the mice or rats that leave scent trails, and then follow the bird smell to its source.

    Yes, these snakes can damage your flock, but they are also beneficial to rodent control, so be aware, if you kill the snakes, the rats will flourish. You could contact the nearest herpetological society (reptiles and amphibians) to come catch or identify the snakes.
     
  5. chickenwoods

    chickenwoods Chillin' With My Peeps

    302
    1
    149
    Apr 29, 2007
    **||OKLAHOMA||**
    Well, it was a blackish greenish top with whitesh greenesh bottom about 3 1/2 foot long,and was rattlin its tail like a rattlesnake but definatly was not a rattler.and its head flattend out when it struck ,very aggressive snake.

    this same breed of snake was here last year that had one of my chicks in his mouth,and came back for an egg days later.
    i just thought that it was a puff atter, .guess not
     
  6. Cara

    Cara Chillin' With My Peeps

    Aug 30, 2007
    NM
    It sounds like a Bull Snake to me. Did it have a checkerboard pattern?
     
  7. Cetawin

    Cetawin Chicken Beader

    13,752
    58
    333
    Mar 20, 2008
    NW Kentucky
    There are only two puff adders in the world...the African and the Somali. Both extremely venomous....this is a picture of one...

    [​IMG]


    Possibilities for what you saw....

    #1: Bull Snake...found all throughout North American especially from the mississippi west...Oklahoma is loaded with them...non-venomous constrictor that acts like a rattler when threatened. Not prevalent for "flattening" or "puffing" the head however.

    a picture of one:

    [​IMG]


    Info on them:

    Diet:

    Bull snakes eat small mammals, such as rabbits, gophers, rodents, as well as ground nesting birds, lizards, and the young of other snakes. Juvenile bull snakes depend on insects and small lizards.

    (The idea that bull snakes occasionally eat rattlesnakes is sometimes touted as a reason for humans not to harm bull snakes when encountering them in the wild, although a better reason is the bull snake's role in controlling warm-blooded vermin such as rodents. Note that many snakes have evolved a natural immunity to venom, just as rattlesnakes themselves are immune to their own.)


    Behavior:

    Most bull snakes are quite docile, and can easily be handled with open hands, or worn as bracelets or necklaces. In contrast, some bull snakes are quite bad-tempered, and if captured or cornered will bite anyone who comes near.

    When threatened by anything as large as a human, a bull snake's primary defense is to flee, if possible.

    As another defense mechanism, bull snakes mimic rattlesnakes. This starts with coloration, which generally follows the "diamondback" pattern. When angry or threatened, bull snakes often will elevate their tail and rapidly vibrate it, the way a rattler would. They also hiss, making a rattle-like sound. All in all, this can be convincing to someone not familiar with the details. If cornered, they assume a rattlesnake-like coiled posture, from which they can lunge far and fast to bite an opponent. The long, thin teeth are unlikely to do lasting damage to humans.

    They customarily kill their prey by constriction before eating it.

    #2: Western Hognose (Heterodon)...this is the most likely candidate for what you saw.

    A pic of one: (The colors can vary from whiteish, yellowish, brown, black and even reddish markings.)

    [​IMG]

    Some info on it.

    Hognose snakes are rear-fanged and technically venomous, but the venom they excrete is not considered to be dangerous to humans and they will never bite in defense (as the only way to get bitten by a hognose snake is to smell like their prey). There has been some debate whether or not hognose are venomous, but there is evidence that their saliva has some toxicity to smaller prey items, such as toads and frogs.

    Behavior:

    When threatened, hognose snakes will flatten their necks and raise their heads off the ground, not unlike a cobra, and hiss. They may sometimes feign strikes, but are not apt to bite. This behaviour has earned them several nicknames, such as "puff adder", "blowing adder", "flathead", "spreading adder" or "hissing adder". Note, though, the nickname "puff adder" is only a nickname, and is not scientifically correct. There is a highly venomous viper from Africa called the puff adder, Bitis arietans. pictured top of post.

    If this threat display does not work to deter a would-be predator, hognose snakes will often roll onto their back and play dead, going so far as to emit a foul musk and fecal matter from their cloaca and let their tongue hang out of their mouth, sometimes accompanied by small droplets of blood. If they are rolled upright while in this state, they will often roll back as if insisting they really are dead. It has been observed that the snake, while appearing to be dead, will still watch the animal that caused the death pose. The snake will 'resurrect' sooner if the threat is looking away from it than if the threat is looking at the snake.

    Diet:

    Heterodon are diurnal active foragers that typically consume their prey live without any constriction or body pinning.

    For most hog nose snakes the bulk of their diet is made up by rodents, and lizards. H. platyrhinos is an exception, and specializes in feeding on toads although other food items such as eggs, insects and mice can make up as much as 50% of their diet.


    Good luck with this. I would move mama and eggs for sure. Check out the snake and see if you want it around...sometimes having a particular snake around is a blessing.

    example: I have a kingsnake about 6' long that suns in my yard. I allow him to stay around because (unlike the lady across the street from me) I do not have rattlesnakes in my yard. [​IMG] I will let the kingsnake stay and eat all the rattlesnakes he wants. [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: May 1, 2008
  8. Dawn419

    Dawn419 Lost in the Woods

    3,367
    34
    238
    Apr 16, 2007
    Evening Shade, AR
    Okay, my bad! [​IMG]

    Just using the name that the locals/native TN's go by...[​IMG]

    Off to find a pic of what they call "Puff Adders" here....

    Getting frustrated as I'm not finding what I'm looking for by way of Google so here's the pic that I took..

    [​IMG]


    Dawn
     
    Last edited: May 1, 2008
  9. Cara

    Cara Chillin' With My Peeps

    Aug 30, 2007
    NM
    Most bull snakes are quite docile, and can easily be handled with open hands, or worn as bracelets or necklaces.

    All I can say is WHAT???!!! :eek:

    Bull snakes are one of the most aggressive species we have out here. Touching any wild snake is not advisable!​
     

BackYard Chickens is proudly sponsored by