Nature clicks #176 - Black Rat Snake

Black Rat Snake 1  

In my last post about the House Wrens that raised their offspring in two nest boxes around our house, I talked about another predator beside the raccoon that is a threat for the life of the young wrens. I was reading on the porch when my attention was drawn away by the very loud and nervous chatter of the male wren. The cause was a Black Rat Snake that had climbed the trellis at the side of our porch only a few feet away from me. According to the DNR brochure about snakes in Iowa, Black Rat Snakes are rare, except for a few locations. Well, we must live in such a location because we have seen this species here before numerous times. It seems during some years they are more abundant than during others. Black Rat Snakes are up to 72 inches (183 cm) but this one was maybe about 5 foot (153 cm) long. They are adapted to a life in the forest and climb trees. This snake consumes rodents, like mice, but would not hesitate to go for birds, especially young ones. These powerful black constructors prefer relatively undisturbed forest areas and this may tell you much about the habitat we are blessed to have here above the valley of the Little Maquoketa River.


Black Rat Snake 2


After inspecting the trellis at our porch the snake slid to the ground and moved back into the woods. The wrens calmed down and life went on. After my return from a business trip last Friday night both nest boxes were empty and we now can hear the wrens chatter in the woods. The males started courtship again and hopefully we may have a second brood growing up here soon...