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Columbia Missourian

FROM READERS: A slithery discovery in the shed

July 17, 2013 | 6:00 a.m. CDT
This is a right side view of the Black Rat Snake in Joe Dillard's shed. Notice lumpiness (baby wrens?) of snake and the reflection of the wren house on top of the car just in front of the culprit. Wren house located about a foot above the car.

Joe G. Dillard, a longtime Columbia resident, recently published his first book, "A Full Cup of Joe," a autobiography of his funny life experiences thus far.

We parked Betty's sister's (Mary) car under the overhang up at our shed while she is in the hospital and this is what happened:


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Mary's Snake 1

Left side view of black snake on top of Mary's car after raiding a wren house in the overhang of our shed.

Mary's Snake 3

Mr. Snake feels like he better go now.

Mary's Snake 4

Exit proceeds. I go for gun and get back, Mr. Snake is no where to be seen.

According to the Missouri Department of Conservation's herpetologist, Tom R. Johnson, this was most likely the Black Rat Snake commonly known as the Black Snake. Adult length averages fro 42 to 72 inches. I'd say that this one was at least 5 feet long.

The species is well known for its ability to climb trees (and cars?). They eat rodents, birds and bird's eggs (yep, we caught this one in the act.).

I'm not too worried about this snake being around as they are basically harmless. We do have the occasional copperhead snake visit us which is much more unwelcome species. It is one of Missouri's five species of venomous snakes.

(Info from experience and the Missouri Department of Conservation's publication, Snakes of Missouri printed in 1980.)

I moved the car and the wren came back and started a new nest in the wren house. I think that it is safe now since it is hanging from a rafter. It was safe before until I parked the car under it and gave the snake a "ladder" to climb up!

End of story. Take home message; Don't park Mary's car below your wren house and definitely if you do, don't leave the windows down. I thing that Mr. Snake was looking for a place to take a nap after a good meal of baby wrens!

Have you captured photos of any wildlife where you live? Consider sharing your photos with a section of the Missourian called From Readers, which is dedicated to your voices and your stories. Here's how. Supervising editor is Joy Mayer.