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 — 03.228.2014 —Elaphe obsolete quadrivittataralphs — He looks like Ralph’s cousin
Bear — 03.28.2014 — Ralph’s cousin from the other end
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.
So far, the diseased snakes submitted by Wildlife Monitors to the NWHC are attributed to wild populations from nine states, including Florida, Massachusetts, New York, New Jersey, Tennessee, Illinois, Minnesota, Ohio, and Wisconsin.
Northern water snake (Nerodia sipedon) with crusty and thickened scales overlaying raised blisters as a result of a fungal skin infection, captured from island in western Lake Erie, Ohio, in August 2009 (case 22747). Photograph by D.E. Green, USGS National Wildlife Health Center.