Black Rat Snake

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The Black Rat Snake is common in Maryland.  You may be startled by them sunning themselves in the middle of  the towpath.  An adult snake is anywhere between 4 and 7 feet.  You might see their shed skins hanging from trees.  Although they're big snakes, they're harmless.  They're non-poisonous and much prefer rodents, birds and eggs to you.

One unusual characteristic of the Black Rat Snake is that when it senses danger, it freezes and takes on a rippled posture.  This photo clearly shows that posture, it must have thought I was some sort of threat to it.  Like most big and scary animals, they're usually more afraid of you than you are of it!

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