Black rat snake eggs, My story.

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Weda737

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Okay first of all, I've got some experience breeding red rat snakes (more commonly called corn snakes) and wouldn't you know I'd be out for a walk late in the evening with one of my dogs and we made our usual stop at a grave yard down the street. I see this stark black loopy thing at the base of a small tree half buried in the mulch and I knew, I just knew that was a mommy black rat snake coming up from laying her eggs. Nosy me walked over just to have a look, no intentions of pestering her, but then I saw it, as I watched her the mulch in my peripheral vision was moving. Red ants. Everywhere. I called my fiance over to hold the dog (black tricolor Australian shepherd called "Hana") I told him we have to get her out of this and get her eggs up. She was surprisingly calm, I had him take his shirt off and toss it over her head as we dug the last of her body up from her nest, sweeping away the disgruntled ants as we went. It was hard not to be tempted to just pull her out but that would only hurt her. After a minute or so of careful digging we came to the base of her tail and the anxiously anticipated eggs. We picked her up, a good 3 feet of beautiful black shimmering with rainbow colors and the cutest white belly checkerboard belly. She was a very lovely girl and I'll never forget her pretty little face or the seemingly grateful calmness she had as we released her right there in the field only feet from her nest. Now, we had to get the eggs out of this mess or they'd be a banquet for those ants. They were nice and firm, she had been in there all day, resting away the sweltering heat of the mid day sun. As were those ants. Carefully we dug around and lifted each one without tilting it, placing them in my fiance's hat. Up to a total of 9 perfect little ovals. During this whole ordeal churchgoers were coming out to their cars and yelling at the dogs that were getting "hooked up" in the middle of the road. ( I hate irresponsible pet owners that don't spay, neuter, and let them just roam as they please.) I walked up to a couple older ladies, egg-hat in hand, to ask if those dogs were okay, they were squalling and screaming. Of course the subject of the snake came up and you know Christians and snakes don't generally mix, at least, the uneducated ones. (And I don't mean this to offend, please understand I happen to live in a pretty backwoods area, people just don't care about animals here and they're all bible thumping hypocrites, I have no problem with religious people, just the ones that spew the whole "snakes are evil and you will burn in hell" nonsense.) It was rather cute how they were a little freaked out about the eggs, only as we were saying our goodbyes and 'nice to meet you's did we realize my fiace's shirt... A white t shirt with a red devil face and "Muahahaha" printed underneath. Made custom for him from our friends. We gasped and giggled about it as we turned to walk home. Once home I quickly candled the eggs to make sure they stayed upright, and placed them in my makeshift incubator. They have been kept warm and moist and dark, light is detrimental to developing snakes. I never did write down the date... but I know it's been close to 2 months, the eggs are swollen and soon will start to dimple. I'll take pictures as soon as they start piping. All are doing well so far. In hindsight, I hope I left those ladies that day with a little more understanding of snakes, they are just another of God's wonderful creatures. .... and come to think of it, I bet they had cats, and I wonder how they would feel if I told them the story of how Satan told God, "Fine, you may make the Cat, but I will have its head." lol I love cats too. Moving on, now comes the question of what I should do with these babies... would it hurt them to raise them up through the winter and let them go next spring? I'm not selling them, and I'm not keeping them all, though I may keep one... Ugh, I dunno. Can I give them a meal or two and then send them on their way this year? I know it's natural here, but I just can't think of those little babies I raised up getting frozen out in the snow, or just released without at least getting a good tummy full. What to do, what to do...
 

Yvonne G

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Well, I don't like snakes, but I'm glad that you were able to save them from the ants.

What would these babies do if there weren't ants and you left them in the nest? Would they overwinter in the ground?
 

Weda737

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emysemys said:
Well, I don't like snakes, but I'm glad that you were able to save them from the ants.

What would these babies do if there weren't ants and you left them in the nest? Would they overwinter in the ground?
Hmm, I really need to look into that, I was thinking about it today, same thing with little eastern box turtles, I used to see them everywhere as a kid, not so much now, it's really sad.
 

zesty_17

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i don't see anything wrong with hatching the young & letting them go next spring. They were very lucky you came along.
 
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