Monday, September 08, 2008

Black Snake Moan

The #1 read story in this week's Washington City Paper is Snakes in the Garden. With a headline like that, you just can't resist. Though after reading it, I 'm left thinking "that was it?" Granted, no one enjoys sitting on a park bench gazing at the flowers and having a big black rat snake brush by your legs, but really does this deserves newsprint and ink? Now in all my visits to Brookside Gardens I have never seen a snake there, but seeing that it is situated as part of Wheaton Regional Park and it is a large nature preserve I would not be surprised to see a few on the paths nor would I care. Too bad that the Brookside staff even had to deal with this phobic crank.

2 comments:

FirePhrase said...

I'm no zoologist, but I'm guessing, based on the name, that perhaps the Black Rat Snake eats, um, rats?

And yes (as noted in the article), snakes don't normally fall to the legislature. This is America. They have to get elected.

WashingtonGardener said...

LOL and yes, black rat snakes (BRSs) place a great service to us -- namely eatting rodents. According to the National Zoo BRS fact sheet: >>Fun Facts
Rat snakes are very useful around barns and in farming communities because they help control pest populations. Their habitat is slowly being reduced due to land development and the cutting of trees. However, they continue to maintain a healthy population. Due to people's lack of knowledge and fear of snakes, rat snakes continue to be the victim of human persecution.<< I'm not sure that is really a "fun" fact per se. You can read more here about rat snakes: http://nationalzoo.si.edu/Animals/ReptilesAmphibians/Facts/FactSheets/Blackratsnake.cfm.

Also, I forgot to give proper credit to the photo from: James Henderson, Gulf South Research Corporation, Bugwood.org. The photo was taken in Somerset County, Pennsylvania. It says it is an adult, but looks small to me. I've seen some rather large BRSs chilling in the trees of local parks.