Common Snakes of India
The Rat Snake
Snakes, as we mostly imagine are a matter of “fear” to most of us. But they are actually beautiful creatures if we care to understand them. One only needs an eye to see this beauty of nature.
In India many types of snakes are found in a variety of forests/vegetations; most of them are non venomous with only around four species being venomous. One commonly found non venomous species is Rat Snake. As is clear from the name, it mainly
feeds on rats, frogs and such small preys. So it is commonly found in all such places where these preys are abundant like fields (mainly rice) and other human habitats. Their length can vary and can be even more than 2 meters. Their color also varies and
can be yellowish, grayish or black. It has beautiful black markings all over the body and the markings on the jaws and head just nearly co inside. The markings on the body differ from that on the tail. Rat snakes are light weight snakes.
Also note that their look has some look- a likes which they resemble. One of them is the Cobra.
When I encountered the snake ( in the experience I have narrated ) I wrongly identified it as a female Cobra.
This snake is widely distributed throughout India and also in other parts of Asia. It is a day hunter and remains completely hidden in the night at various places like under the rocks, holes, dark places like pipes etc. Its habitat varies from sea side
to densely forested areas. The main habitat types where it is found include agricultural lands, forests, human habitats like near food storage, under the rocks and bricks or such other debris dumps. It is also one of the fastest snakes
of India and this characteristic makes it fit to successfully hunt and survive in even the toughest conditions. It also has good climbing and dropping capability. It can stand tall at about half meters from ground and show its anger by
making a sound when the need arises. Like Cobra it can stretch is upper body to look big and defend itself from the dangers.
I shall not make this somewhat boring by discussing only the biological features of Rat snake. Now, about my experience in this encounter with Rat snake!
One rainy morning of this August, weather was pleasant after the rainy showers at night, I was on my way to photograph birds. I stopped at the point near fields to photograph the Indian roller bird for its instincts. I was busy capturing this
colorful bird’s beauty. I was on the pathway photographing the bird in the fields which were at somewhat lower level than path way. I suddenly noticed a stick sort of thing just beside the pathway. As this was my first encounter with rat snake ,
my mind just gave a passing thought of it being a sort of shrub standing, but I decided to look more closely through my lens and that was it ! My senses became more tense with less of caution but more of excitement. There was no end to
excitement of that moment. I was only 2 meters away from the Rat snake beauty. I made no delay in capturing it through my lens to get it recorded forever.
Thrilling moment it was for me. It seemed as if it has come only to give me his/her glimpse and to get photographed. You know, such moments are rare and lucky when you get such rewards from nature, mostly you have to hunt at large for
taking them into your cams.
All in all, with this writing, I want to convey the message that Nature in every form is beautiful and should be explored. Be it the beauty of a Rat Snake or a beautiful woman, you only need to give time and effort to find and explore them
and you get your rewards. Just take time to explore that beautiful world around you. You will realize that the human is not the only beauty God has made.
Wildlife Enthusiast and Birdwatcher