Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Say "Hello" to Bertha

Bertha in the Holly

Say "Hello" to Bertha,

She is a Black Rat Snake who makes her home in our basement shop and adjoining crawl space and rafters.  Bertha takes care of all our mice and small critter issues when we have them.  She occasionally comes out to let us know she is still around and we have seen babies a couple of times.  As far as we know she has been here for at least 7 years.  She is quite large as you can see as she lounges on the pine tree branch. 
Elaphe obsoleta- Rat Snake is one of our largest and most abundant snakes (42 to 85in.  Adults have a black or dark brown dorsum and a venter mottled with gray and white.  Juveniles have conspicuous gray and brown blotches on a lighter ground color and some adults have traces of the blotched pattern.  The dorsal scales are weakly keeled.  Rat Snakes range throughout Virginia and the Carolinas up to 1,350 m elevation.  

Favorite habitats include upland hardwood forests, pocosins, river swamps, and lowlands, fields, barns and other buildings.

Because rats and mice constitute a major portion of the diet, Rat Snakes are largely beneficial to man. These snakes are excellent climbers and frequently live in tree hollows.
denise p

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