VIDEO: Yellow Rat Snake (Elaphe obsoleta quadrivittata) - Huntington Beach State Park, Murrells Inlet, SC 3-26-11
Our first wildlife encounter after we headed down the trail to the lagoons was to see this snake across the concrete pathway. We thought it was dead, but I hoped it wasn't. Thinking it was a garter snake I readily approached to talk to it. Surely my voice would bring it back to life, right? It seemed he had been run over by a bicycle at one part of his body (you can see this in the video). His eyes were open and upon inspection, he moved. Yeah! He then decided he'd feel a whole lot better in the woods and headed that way. Yellow Rat Snakes are large constricting snakes with the adult size being in the range of 42 to 72 inches. This snake was about 42 so a young adult. Adult Yellow Rat Snakes are distinguished by 4 dark stripes against a lighter background of yellow. Young rat snakes are strongly blotched against a gray background and could be easily mistaken for a different subspecies. Yellow Rat Snakes are found in the coastal areas of South Carolina. Yellow Rat Snakes very much like to climb in trees. They are not venomous, but may bite if handled carelessly. Ratsnakes are relatively slow moving and will most often freeze when first encountering danger. This is why so many are killed on our roadways. When freezing while crawling on the ground they will often take on a rippled posture, looking like a large unironed ribbon. That's exactly what he was doing when we first saw him.