The sharp eye of Animal Keeper Katie caught sight of a black rat snake clinging to a Carolina maple tree trunk in Catch the Wind on Wednesday (3/15/17). It’s not unusual to spot a rat snake here on campus, they’re a common sight. What’s unusual is that the temperature was in the mid-thirties at the time.
It’s tempting to say this snake was caught out in the cold unexpectedly. After all, the entire month of February here in the Carolinas had been well above normal in temperature. But the high for the day on March 15 was 41º with several days previous with lower than average temps. This snake wasn’t caught out in the cold, it chose to come out in the cold.
The earliest I can remember seeing a rat snake locally was March 1, so it’s not unheard of to see one in mid March. It’s just a bit surprising to see one out on such a cold day.
The snake was a little over two feet long. If you look closely you can still see the pattern black rat snakes wear as juveniles.
Good spot, Keeper Katie!