Eastern Ratsnake (Pantherophis alleghaniensis)

Teeny Nagini (shout out to the Harry Potter fans!) previously lived at the Augusta County Nature Center Parks and Rec department, but he was rehomed with us when their facility closed in 2019. Despite his name, Teeny is not-so-teeny. He’s about 7 feet long and weighs approximately 1 kilogram. Teeny he enjoys greeting folks from his enclosure in our front lobby.
Eastern rat snakes are the official name for what many folks in Virginia simply call black snakes.
Rat snakes use “countershading” camouflage by having white bellies and black backsides. No matter what angle a predator is looking from, a black snake will blend into its surroundings – even from below! These large constrictors are non-venomous and enjoy swallowing mice, rats, eggs, and small birds and mammals. In doing so, they help to control our pest populations. Though these fascinating creatures may look intimidating, snakes are always far more scared of us than we are of them. The best thing to do when encountering any snake is take a few steps back and appreciate these helpful creatures from afar.
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