We try walk about 1-3 times in a weekend. Well in our typical weekend walk yesterday, in one of our local National Recreation Areas, dh was running ahead to catch up to little S, and M and I were walking enjoying the views. M was on my right, and out of the side of my eye I caught a glimpse of a long black stick...something in my strange brain triggered me to yank M to the left of me and I stepped weirdly to the left as well, in some strange fluid dance like motion! I paused and looked back and yelled "Hey did you see the dead snake?" To which dh and S came running back to look. Its body was all lumpy and bumpy which suggested to me it was newly dead.
M and I began to study it from a distance, using the things we had learned from other "Caged" snake encounters, and her Brownie Try it book. I looked for a rattle, and note-able danger markings, keeping far enough away from it ... M noted that it had a tiny "NON SPADE" like head which suggested it was non-venomous. We had no idea what kind of snake it was - it looked all black with no note-able markings. So I assumed it was a Black Rat Snake.
We stood looking at this funky looking snake that looked dead as its body had shriveled up and it was all lumpy - but again my brain said, 'wait a sec, its head is up... and there is no rock for it to rest on.... its not dead - its playing dead.' So I said that aloud and dh curiously agreed. We watched it for a sec, dh moved in for a closer look, camera in hand of course.... and we watched. Sure enough in a split second it flicked its tongue. Slowly the lumpy-bumpy -ness of the body smoothed out and it slowly slithered away into the underbrush of leaves and ground debris.
You can't really see in the above picture the details but we did get a close look at. Its body had large spots when it stretched out, a light underside. It was about 2-2.5 ft long, so it was still quite young. As M says a teen.
I discovered that it was likely a Black Rat Snake in its juvenile state as it still had the markings of a Gray Rat Snake.
It was an interesting life science lesson - that we hadn't even planned to have! LOL!