Elaphe obsoleta quadrivittata

Elaphe obsoleta quadrivittata

It is always surprising how small the heads of Elaphe obsolete quadrivittata are as they can swallow a gray squirrel whole.  These striped snakes are commonly called Yellow Rat Snakes, but I call them Egg Snakes as they like eggs very much and can eat 5 or so at the time giving themselves a very lumpy profile for several hours.

Unless they have just eaten, elaphe are slender and can easily negotiate the holes in chicken wire.  But, being snakes they think in a snakey way and after stealing eggs, they will try to retreat using the same route they arrived.  They don’t plan out alternate routes or anticipate increased girth.  You can imagine how silly Ralph and his relatives appear with only the first 8 inches having exited through  the wire, and the other end all lumpy with ex-large eggs lined up.   Rather than backing out, they just stay put until the meal digests enough to allow them to pass through the bottle necks again.  I have known people to behave the same way …. with the same comical expressions on their faces.  It may be that elaphe will retreat if no one is watching, but it seems the snakes are more concerned about loosing face while being observed, than being captured, so they just stay put.

Bear …03.29.2014
ⓒ Bearspawprint


Click on the pictures to view the enlarged gallery.  The elaphe obsoleta quadrivittata  pictured in my photos is a light tan with dark charcoal colored stripes and is about a meter long.  His older, relocated,  cousin was a larger version of the same tan darker stripped markings.  I don’t know what factors cause yellow or other color variations in other areas.



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