Jake, The Pillow Snake


Whilst hiking pleasantly with Mr. Walker and Charley on a sunny morning, we encountered this rather large black rat snake at Long Branch Farm.


At first much to my dismay…since I mistook the poor thing for a rattle snake and ran of not in my usual calm nature loving kind of mood but screaming my head of pulling Charley along;o)


To my defense, it was rattling its tail and it was a generous 5 feet! Apparently they imitate rattlesnake tails, to scare predators…very effective I’d say!


Fortunately, staff members Lisa and Tom came walking up and were delighted to meet up with this magnificent creature and explain all to me and most importantly how innocent and useful it is. Farmers love them for their good appetite for rats…hence the name.

They were checking up on the nest boxes and had just stated to each other that they had not seen snakes yet this Spring…

Mr. Walker clearly had more common sense and shot these gorgeous photos. It has these milky blue eyes because it’s about to break skin. After that, the eyes will be gleaming black again.

Look it is almost smiling.

Niet schrikken…maar kijk eens wat wij op een zonnige morgen tegen kwamen in Cincy Nature centre tijdens een hike.
Ik stapte bijna op deze 1.5 meter en zo dik als mijn pols black rat snake. Ik schrok me rot en rende ras de andere kant uit met de sirene op vol en Charley op mijn hielen. Deze slang heeft namelijk net als een ratelslang een ratel aan zijn staart.
Er kwamen net twee stafmedewerkers aan gewandeld die nestkastjes controleerden en die waren helemaal blij deze schoonheid te zien. Het is natuurlijk een volkomen onschuldige en erg nuttigde slang die boeren graag in hun stallen zien om ongedierte op te ruimen, vandaar de naam, rattenslang.
Meneer Walker was natuurlijk weer de koelheid zelf en nam een paar fraaie kiekjes.

De ogen zijn overigens nu blauwgrijs omdat het dier op t punt straat te vervellen. Als dat achter de rug is, dan zijn ze weer gitzwart.

Love and Liefs, Johanna

81 thoughts on “Jake, The Pillow Snake

  1. Son of a biscuit! Just looking at those pictures makes me shudder. Glad it wasn’t a rattle snake.

  2. Just wanted you to know I stopped by looking for more cute drawings but couldn’t look at anything you wrote. If there is a snake attached, I’m out. Nightmares in the daytime even.

    • Marlene, I am so sorry!! i wish you were able read it because I was telling the story how I was startled but it turns out this is a harmless rat snake who takes care of rats and I am so scared of rats again!!! Can I make it up to you and draw a sweet and cute snake, as cuddly as it gets??? I hope your nightmares are gone by now!!! xo Johanna

      • I am just starting to get used to the little garden snakes in my yard. We used to live where there were lots of poisonous snakes and when I came across one, I would fly without my feet touching the ground. Funny how other things like lizards don’t freak me out the same. No sweat. I’ll keep reading till something cute shows up again. ๐Ÿ™‚

  3. It looks a friendly “smiling” fellow,but even the word “snake” horrifies me.It’s so convincing.Beautiful Mr Walker’s photos,dear Johanna.Have more “safe” lol walks at the nature centre ๐Ÿ™‚ xxx

    • We had lots of useful, harmless snakes in our firewood piles in canada, I was used to them. But it was while since I had seen a snake…poor thing was probably more scared of me than I of it. Farmers here let them happily life in the stables since they clear out the rats and mice ( I am rather scared of rats though…)

  4. Glad we don’t get anything bigger than adders here! Beautiful photography by the way ๐Ÿ™‚

  5. Gorgeous creature. Good on Mr. Walker for taking the photos. Wow! Think of all the mice and rats (not to mention unsuspecting frogs) that creature must eat!

  6. I encountered a garter snake in our backyard. I jumped and my cat jumped too! Lol! ๐Ÿ˜‰ I would have taken off running too, Johanna! That is one bad looking snake!

    • We had lots of useful, harmless snakes in our firewood piles in canada, I was used to them. But it was while since I had seen a snakeโ€ฆpoor thing was probably more scared of me than I of it. Farmers here let them happily life in the stables since they clear out the rats and mice ( I am rather scared of rats thoughโ€ฆ)

    • I apologized to it for screaming ;o) Normally I am not scared of harmless snakes but I really thought it was a rattlesnake and I was scared for Charley. I even held snakes at the zoo a few times and was amazed to find dry and warm instead of cold and slimy.

  7. AMAZING pictures, J. That tongue, though! Yikes. Mom says my tongue looks like a piece of baloney. That forked thing looks flat-out deadly! I can certainly understand your initial fear.

    Love and licks,

  8. These are amazing photos but for a person like myself who is petrified of any type of snake, it is more than my mind can handle. I can’t handle seeing a 6″ garden snake. This would be one animal I’m not suggesting you sketch. ๐Ÿ™‚

  9. Oh poor Johanna and Charlie! I think I’d have been scared too if I’d met this one. I don’t mind looking at snakes but I do like to know it isn’t going to hurt me! Mr Walker has taken some superb shots of it!

    • We once camped out somewhere in Pennsylvania and we were handed a leaflet that told us that the difference between their local poisonous and non poisonous snake could be determined by a ring around the eyes….uhm, would you take the time and examine???
      Mr. Walker blushed slightly with all those compliments on his photography!!

  10. I would have been running too. Although I appreciate all the good that snakes can do, they always startle the heck out of me. I hope this fellow stayed away from the bird nest boxes and kept those baby blues focused on rats.

    • I hope so too…but Lisa from the Nature Centre told she once stuck her hand in a bird box to find one of these instead of the birds!!! Even she screamed at that point and I felt a little less silly after her story ;o)

  11. Okay. So. The photos are great and all that but this is NOT what I expect when I come to happy Johanna’s happy blog! I nearly jumped out of my skin!

    • Oh Kelly, I am so sorry!!! It won’t happen again..though Charley says that your cats cause more trouble that this snake. Mr. Walker blushed slightly with all those compliments/remarks on his photography!!

  12. No way would I get close enough to take those beautiful pictures – I don’t care how tame and helpful a snake he is. But enjoyed viewing it from my screen instead of in person.

  13. I am reminded of years ago – my mom was lying on the dock of my aunt’s cabin. She felt a little tickle on her ear, she opened her eyes to see that it was… a snake! (A harmless species). She is not skiddish at all, but boy did she jump and let out a scream!! Haha. I would have, too.

    Nonetheless, this is a beautiful animal, and such an interesting post. (The temporary blue eyes!) I know many people are afraid of snakes, and it is wise to have a healthy respect for them and give them their space, but they do a lot of good, too, and are important to the ecosystems. Amazing pictures!

  14. I would have screamed and ran, too. I know two women who’ve been bitten by a rattle snake, and it is not something to take casually. One spent two weeks in hospital and had complications afterword. The other was flown by helicopter and was treated faster. I am happy to hear this is not a deadly snake, (unless you’re a rat of course) and agree that these photos are stunning.

    • What a nasty experience indeed! When walking in Nature, no matter how respectful, you are bound to meet up with all kind of creatures. We still hear different stories wether rattlesnakes are here or not. Better be safe than sorry. And I will pass your lovely compliment on to Mr. Walker!

      • I agree 100%. I hope you’re enjoying summer so far. We’re in for another heat wave this week. The hills are already turning brown and the risk of wildfires has returned. I miss spring.

  15. Johanna, I’ve been trying to figure our something nice to say because I HATE snakes. Lol.๐Ÿ˜ As great a helper this one is to a farmer’s field (shiver). Well, I can say, it has nice blue eyes. โ˜บ Good post.

  16. OMG! Brave photos Mr. Walker. Tho I can only look briefly at them. So chilling even if benign. Did Charley try to go after it? Our girl would run too. ๐Ÿ˜€

    • Well, donโ€™t be too impressed we had quite the lens on our camera and where still at a respectful distance ;o) And no, Charley wants to be where her mom is, but she does always think I need protection so she would have gone for the snake had we come closer…brave girl she is! Mr. Walker was nevertheless very pleased with your compliment!

  17. Fantastic photos! My hubby and I encountered a couple of young snakes on a hiking trip we took last week – I am like you and want to run and scream whenever I see them. They’re fascinating creatures but I just cannot get over my fear of them.

    • Well as long as I am sure that they are harmless, and of course , I am always even more affraid for the we’ll being of Charley! But Mr. Walker was very happy with your compliment!

  18. Fantastic photographs! The snake is ready to attack, and it leaves nasty bites even if it is not venomous. Poor thing is scared, and almost blind. After a week it will shed his skin ๐Ÿ™‚

    • well we were not that close…mr. Walker had quite a lens the camera;0) And I was happy to learn so much about this wonderful creature in a still new to us environment! And it was rightfully scared indeed with me screaming in alarm! Seeing you hugging a fox, i am sure my post told you nothing new ;o)

  19. Wow! Incredible photos…but like some of the comments above…not my favorite subject! ๐Ÿ˜‰ And funny…a large black snake crossed the road in front of me yesterday and after he left I thought “I should have gotten a photo.” But I assure you it would have been from the safety of my car!! ๐Ÿ˜‰

    • Wise woman! Stay in the car indeed. And Mr. Walker was still on safe distance since he had a good telelens on his camera ;o) I hope my next post will be more of your tasting ;o) Thanks for the follow and your visit, your blog is awesome! Xo Johanna

  20. Such a beautiful snake! I too would have been a bit surprised to find it on the trail, but it’s aggressive posture was due to the upcoming shed. When their eyes get that opaque covering, they’re not able to see clearly , hence the dramatic pose. For them, it’s better to appear tough than assume they won’t be eaten. Thanks for sharing your photos! Too bad people get so freaked out by them….

    • I agree, I wholeheartedly apologized to the gorgeous creature and I would also be very nasty if someone would ran away screaming when I was only basking in some warm sunlight ;o) Last year, I spoke about my fondness of vultures, the fly so gorgeous and they are very sociable amongst themselves…not many shared my ideas then either! Nice to meet a kindred spirit!

      • I too love vultures! I’m always keeping track of when they migrate in and out of our area every year. ๐Ÿ˜„
        Keep those drawings and photo coming!

  21. These are amazing photographs–I run from snakes, I must admit. They terrify me and I felt when I was looking at these terrific images, I was right there staring along with you at Mr. Snake- ๐Ÿ˜ฎ

  22. Crikey! You may have been looking at a streak of aqua runners ahead of you and not been able to hear your own shrieks over mine. Gah! I’ve actually never seen more than a garder snake in nature, so this would be a drama for me too.
    Glad it’s a friendly one and kudos Mr W for getting such swell photo’s….still they creep me out. Especially the tongue one, which Cupcake’s mom cleverly referred to as baloney. LOL. Dear Genevieve’s so clever. xo k

  23. Oh, I love this gorgeous snake, although he is in a scary pose. We used to see big rat snakes in Peoria, south of here. You’d see them half way up a tree sometimes, or lounging in the grass. I never saw one “rattle”~ I would have screamed and run also!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s