(Juvenile Northern Black Racer, photo by John White)
Here’s a comforting thought. It’s baby snake season. The little slithery guys are out there in large numbers, waiting for an opportunity to scare the bejeezus out of approximately half the human population. I don’t mind snakes, as long as I can see them. It’s the ones I don’t see that cause concern.
- D. Kleopfer with the Game Department says that now is definitely that time of the year when the snake eggs laid back in the spring have hatched and live-bearing snakes, which includes Eastern Copperheads, have given birth. However, a vast majority of the baby snakes you are most likely to encounter are harmless and quite beneficial.
The most commonly misidentified are those of Eastern Rat snakes (aka black snakes) and Northern Black Racers, which neither species takes on their characteristic solid black appearance until they begin to mature as adults.
Juvenile Eastern Copperheads on the other hand look much like the adults, but with a bright yellow tail that is used like a fishing lure to attract prey such as small frogs and toads. In general, the best thing to do when you encounter a snake is to simply “Just Leave It Alone“.