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article imageSnakes taking over gardens in West Virginia town Special

By Kim I. Hartman     Jul 3, 2010 in Science
Charleston - Are they black snakes, black racers or black rat snakes? While no one seems to know what they are, one thing they all agree on - they need to go back to where they came from. See the videos of snakes in the gardens and backyard in this small town.
First spotted in early May, these fast snakes are taking over in one West Virginia residential neighborhood. Over Memorial weekend at least 5 were known to have been killed by unhappy parents who found the snakes sunning themselves not only in the gardens and woods but in the manicured lawns where their children are playing, according to Mayor Scott Edwards of Hurricane, West Virginia.
These aren't black snakes. Black snakes do not share the characteristics of these mean snakes, nor can they move at the speed these snakes travel when they see something worth eating or attacking around it. They can move as fast as a small dog and would definitely catch up to a young child who might find one and try to run away.
This baby robin was chased by the snake and then eaten. The snake had dined on 3 robins and later re...
This baby robin was chased by the snake and then eaten. The snake had dined on 3 robins and later regurgitated them in the garden when it was confronted by humans.
Researchers say that these snakes can lay up to 20 eggs at a time and average 8 to 12 hatched from each nest. They range from 4 to 6 feet in length and breed from April to May and as late as August.
When born these babies are 8 to 12 inches long and ready to eat as soon as they can learn to hunt for a meal. Until then the mother snake will hunt for them and then return to the nest and regurgitate the rodents, birds and baby rabbits for the newly born snakes to dine upon.
The Black Racer is a completely black snake, some have markings like the ones shown in these pictures with a little white-ish grey or yellowish marking under the chin and front portion of the body. There are northern and southern black racers and perhaps other varieties that vary slightly in color and markings including this blue racer caught and filmed by Dylan, a young herp hunter. It is a non-venomous snake that can give a very painful bite. It got its name for being an extremely fast moving snake. It is an excellent climber but spends most of its time on the ground.
This is one of a few black racers spotted in the garden where it lays waiting for robins looking for...
This is one of a few black racers spotted in the garden where it lays waiting for robins looking for worms and the occasional baby rabbit searching for a meal of fresh cabbage leaves.
When threatened, it normally will flee into thick brush, but will often stand its ground according to Brandon another Herpetologist. This young man finds his passion fueled by all the snakes he can find to catch and study in the mountains and rural areas of North Carolina.
While he catches these snakes with his hands, he has been bit numerous times and is now exercising caution when catching snakes such as the black racer in this video. He doesn't recommend people who are inexperienced to be catching snakes they aren't familiar with.
Snakes can be deadly and many are poisonous, this young man knows this first-hand check out all his video's to see some of the most dangerous snakes that can be found in the South and throughout the mid-Atlantic states.
Another picture of the black racer in the garden after eating the baby birds. It is vomiting up the ...
Another picture of the black racer in the garden after eating the baby birds. It is vomiting up the birds in this picture. Quality of the pic is blurry, sorry I was backing up FAST when I took these.
Both the black racers and black rat snakes do not like being handled and are very aggressive. They will follow you and bite you as well as being known for laying in wait of prey, including pets, birds and rodents for food. They will also bite small children and gardeners and seem to have no fear when it comes to anyone or anything in "their environment."
Lawn and garden centers sell chemicals and other combination of items to keep snakes from your yard. Many old-timers swear by moth balls as a snake deterrent. Gardeners, home owners and plumbers have been scattering moth balls under and around homes and garages for many years.
While some see the snake as an unusual reptile worth studying and watching, others say the only good snake is a dead snake and will kill any of them they see. Black racers are daytime feeders and can move so fast they will be out of sight or on your leg in the blink of an eye.
When most persons have encountered snakes they describe as "black snakes" they have usually encountered either the Black Racer or the Black Rat Snake. If the "black snake" quickly slithered away it probably was a Black Racer. If it froze in place or crawled deliberately away, it was probably a Black Rat Snake.
Some think the only good snake is a dead snake and these two men sent one snake to serpent heaven af...
Some think the only good snake is a dead snake and these two men sent one snake to serpent heaven after it refused to be relocated from the garden to neighboring woods. The identity of the sharp-shooters has been protected.
If they raise their head up off the ground like a Cobra would do then it is probably the black racer who mimics the movements of the Cobra by raising itself up off the ground to look for it's next meal.
Sensational serpents or a herpetologists delight? You decide for yourself and if you have any tricks or tips on how to get rid of these snakes by humane ways with tips on snake deterrents that can be applied or spread around gardens and yards that won't harm children or animals be sure to share it with us in your comments below.
Be careful when handling all snakes. The summer snake season is upon us and these reptiles can be found anywhere, at anytime. Keep this is in mind when moving rocks or stacks of wood you may have accumulated. A snake can be found resting in these cooler spots during the heat of the day and overnight when weather provides nice cool evenings for sleeping.
If you look closely you can see another black racer crawling through the potato plants after being s...
If you look closely you can see another black racer crawling through the potato plants after being spotted by my camera.
A baby robin exploring its surroundings.
A baby robin exploring its surroundings.
This is the snake that regurgitated three baby robins when she became aggitated after an attempt to ...
This is the snake that regurgitated three baby robins when she became aggitated after an attempt to move her to a wooded area a few miles away. You can see the two slime covered baby birds she had inside her near her head.
These snakes have become so brave they can be found hidden under tomato and potato plants or sunning...
These snakes have become so brave they can be found hidden under tomato and potato plants or sunning themselves on the concrete and garden stake.
More about Snakes, Racers, West Virginia, Rat, Herpetologist
 
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