A New Hunter In My Forest

Hello Friends! Tonight’s Feature Image is titled “Eastern Rat Snake 51621a” and is available for purchase by clicking the thumbnail and reaching out to me on the contact page.

The May sun is cooler than normal this year. I have been wondering if resident rat snake had made it through the winter. He lives in my sheds and we’ve learned to tolerate each other to a degree. Often I find him resting in some part of my lawn tractor and so that chore begins with a careful inspection of the moving parts to ensure that my natural pest control is safe from damage. If you missed last year’s post about rat snakes let me catch you up. The snake isn’t a pet. He’s a wild animal just like my songbirds and other wildlife on the property. However, He’s the only non-animal that regularly allows me to pick him up and so I gave him a name. I call him Decon because he deals with the mice. But he also disappears for long periods. We do also have a resident hawk and I’ve begun to wonder if Decon met his natural fate with the hawk. So when I saw the dark shape stretched out in driveway I thought that Decon had returned.

Image Titled “Eastern Rat Snake 51621b”. All photos found on my website are my original work and are available for purchase by clicking the thumbnail and reaching out to me on the contact page.

However, as I approach the snake it started to display it’s kicking posture. Something that Decon never did. It’s believed that this posture is an attempt to mimic a dead stick lying on the ground and thus is a form of camouflage. After all, a rat snake has only two defenses. Hide is one and stink is the other. It has absolutely no venom and it’s teeth are rather small and barb like. It still hadn’t dawned on me that this is not the same rat snake I’ve known over the past years. It wasn’t until I got closer and eye level with my lens that noticed the differences.

Image Titled “Eastern Rat Snake 51621c”.

This snake has more white on it’s face and a beautiful brown undertone in it’s coloration. I could be wrong but I think it’s also younger than Decon. It seems to have freshly molted as well revealing patterns in it’s skin.

Some people think that these patterns are the result of cross breeding with pit vipers. Nothing could be further from the truth. Rat Snakes lay eggs and pit vipers have live birth. I’m not sure but I also think that the chromosome count is wrong for cross breeding. Not to mention that rat snakes like king snakes will eat pit vipers. Which is another big reason why I allow rat snakes to have space in my sheds. The two species have been known to hole up together in winter but generally speaking pit vipers avoid areas with rat snakes. And since they have such a keen sense of smell they can tell where each other is living.

Image Titled “Eastern Rat Snake 51621d”.

And so I step a little easier knowing that these non venomous and non-aggressive Rat snakes are patrolling my yard. However, this newcomer is a little too close to the door. In my sheds he’s fine but the house and walkways are out of bounds. He wins a free ride in a bucket to the forest edges where there’s plenty of hunting and some large exposed rocks to sun on. And judging from his reaction to meeting a real live human he’d prefer to return to the forest. And so he did.

Announcement 2.0

For those who have been following me on Facebook and know of the struggle content providers have to get circulation from big tech I’ve been recommending for people to adopt MeWe as a social media platform. One of the problems I’ve run into on MeWe is that people don’t know how to navigate the platform. So to help with that I’ve created a permanent page on my website as a basic Basic Beginner’s Guide To MeWe I’ve tried to anticipate all basic questions there and You can bookmark the page to have as a reference and if you have any questions or suggestions don’t hesitate to contact me. I do still have a day job and I help admin several pages on both platforms so replies might be a little slow but I will answer you.

We also have the Lloyd’s Lens Photography Discussion Group on MeWe that is set up as a fully functional community. There you’ll not only be able to see and connect with me but you can also make your own posts and interact with each other.

I want you to join my group on MeWe: https://mewe.com/join/lloydslensphotographydiscussiongroup

Click the link below to jump to the Basic Beginner’s Guide To MeWe.https://lloydslensphotographyllc.com/guide-to-mewe/embed/#?secret=GJGnIQEVHc

Hey Friends! Just a quick reminder that Lloyds Lens Photography is available for portraits!

To book me simply reach out using the Contact Page and we’ll set a date. If you’re within a 50 mile radius of Summersville West Virginia all travel fees are waived.

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Have you checked out the Zazzle Store?

I’m now using Zazzle to fulfil orders. What this means for you is a secure way to place an order, discount codes & a broader product selection! Simply use the contact form on my websiteand tell me which image you want and I’ll reply with a direct link to where you can place the order.

Clicking on the photo takes you tohttps://www.zazzle.com/lloydslensphotos?rf=238248269630914251Lastly, all of the photos and writings are my original work unless otherwise specified and are not to be copied or reproduced without expressed written permission from the photographerThank you again for your support of my page!♥️

The Eastern Rat Snake, A Barn Companion

Hello Friends! Tonight’s feature image is titled “Eastern Rat Snake 52620a” and is available for purchase by the instructions at the bottom of the article.

Like most boys I was always fascinated by snakes as a kid. Scientifically of course. But I was also taught to never get close to them. I suppose that my parents feared that I would become too comfortable with the harmless varieties and accidentally get too close to the dangerous ones and get the “hurt juice”. So thus began my young adventures into the library. The internet was just science fiction and the most powerful computer one planet earth was the size of a building and belonged to NASA. So the next best thing was Encyclopedia Britannica in the School system. If you’re lucky they have a version that was updated in the 1850s and contained the sum knowledge of mankind. The encyclopedia had a lot of information. There’s even pictures of a snakes skeleton and a chart that points to different snake body parts.

The forked tongue seen in tonight’s feature image is what gives them their ability to track. It tells them what direction the smell is coming from.

Image Titled “Eastern Rat Snake 52620b” showing the round pupil.

Here in North America we only have a handful of venomous snakes to worry about and even less in West Virginia since we’re to far outside of the Coral Snake’s range. ( The coral snake is actually a member of the cobra family. ) here we only worry about the Pit Vipers. The Rattlesnakes and Copperhead. There’s unconfirmed reports of the Cottonmouth here but officially they’re not found here either. All of the put vipers have slit shaped pupils like a cat. In the previous image you can see that the rat snakes have round pupils. You can also see that he has a nostril but no heat sensitive pit.

Image Titled “Eastern Rat Snake 52620c”

As for snakes that were not in a book or on T.V. they were not quite as fascinating. In fact until I was about 16 years old they terrified me. It was a conditioned reflex. A behavior that I wasn’t really born with. Learning to overcome that involved me taking every opportunity to not just expose myself to the live snakes but to actually get to know them. As it turns out, the Eastern Rat Snake is pretty docile under most circumstances. This one in particular is downright friendly. He even has a name. I call him “De-Con”. That’s right. Same as the pest control product. And for the same reason. This one is a resident on my property. His job is to hang out in and around my sheds and eat as many mice as he wants. We have actually formed a loose relationship. I was able to get tonight’s photos because De-Con allowed me to stretch out in the grass with him and invade his personal space with the camera. I do occasionally have to remove him from the lawn tractor before I start it because he likes to curl up on the mowing deck. I have not tried to pick him up with my hand. He has no venom and isn’t aggressive but there’s a bit of a trick to picking up a snake without causing it pain or throwing it into panic. De-Con is a wild animal with a primitive mind that only understands that if something picks you up its probably trying to eat you. So instead I have a stick with a crude hook that I move him with. It really doesn’t take much and he’s learned that when I start messing with the mower it’s time to slip under the shed until the ground stops shaking. Today though I caught him just out sunning himself in the grass. It looks like he’s just finished shedding his skin because he’s so shiny and iridescent.

Image Titled “Iridescent Scales 52620a”

Finally, De-Con decided that he’d given the photographer plenty of poses and calmly made his way into the tall weeds on the edge of the forest. I was fairly satisfied with the encounter since it’s not every day that we actually see each other. In spite of the fact that he’s living in my sheds I only see him a few times a year. It’s in his nature to avoid contact with any human.

Hey Friends! Just a quick reminder that Lloyds Lens Photography is available for portraits!

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To book me simply reach out using the Contact Page and we’ll set a date. If you’re within a 50 mile radius of Summersville West Virginia all travel fees are waived.

Hello Friends and thank you for your support of my page. If you have enjoyed the photos or the writings please let me know by commenting and sharing my work on your social media. I also want to invite you to Follow Lloyds Lens Photography on Facebook

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If you’re enjoying my blog and don’t want to miss a post then you can sign up for email alerts on my website.

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Did you know that I also do portraits by appointment? If you’re interested in a portrait session either message me on Facebook or Use the Contact form. The YouTube link below takes you one of my slideshows.

https://youtu.be/FDcrY6w8oY8

Have you checked out the Zazzle Store?

I’m now using Zazzle to fulfil orders. What this means for you is a secure way to place an order, discount codes & a broader product selection! Simplymessage me on Facebookoruse the contact form on my websiteand tell me which image you want and I’ll reply with a direct link to where you can place the order.

Clicking on the photo takes you tohttps://www.zazzle.com/lloydslensphotos?rf=238248269630914251

Lastly, all of the photos and writings are my original work unless otherwise specified and are not to be copied or reproduced without expressed written permission from the photographer.

Thank you again for your support of my page! ❤