CASTILE – Hikers in Letchworth State Park stumbled upon this exceptional specimen of New York State’s longest snake.
On May 26, Diana Hurlburt Haley uploaded a photo to Facebook of a massive black rat snake slithering away at the Great Bend Overlook in Letchworth State Park, and others were quick to comment on it.
“That’s a big sucker!” posted Heather Borden. “I’m glad that we have not came across any of them ourselves.”
According to the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation, the black rat snake is the longest snake found in NYS, reaching up to six feet in length.
It has black, satiny scales, sometimes with white skin in between, giving it a blotchy appearance.
Black rat snakes are not venomous. They kill mice and rats by wrapping around them and constricting them in their clutches. The DEC says that although the snake is a predominantly woodland creature, it can often be found around barns because of its taste for rodents.
“I grew up next to the park and on really hot days they like to lie on the road in the shade to cool off,” commented Charity James. “It actually is really neat to see it when you drive thru there… Also the black snakes help in keeping rattlesnakes’ population down.”
Nature photographers have been taking pictures of another black rat snake, which has taken up residence in a tree alongside Lee’s Landing Trail.