Kentucky’s Largest Snake Species Is a Constrictor…But Also a Friend
People who hate snakes probably took one look at that headline and called me an idiot, or something close to it. Hey, I get it. I can't stand snakes, and here I am writing this story.
Trust me, if I ever encounter one, "friendship" won't be the first thing that comes to mind. But I do understand that most snakes actually ARE beneficial, and I also know that many snakes that do help us out--in terms of what their prey--are killed every year simply out of fear. Copperhead lookalikes are especially under the gun.
Kentucky's Largest Snake Species
One of those snakes that should be left well enough alone--because it will return the favor, by nature--is the gray rat snake. It is the largest species of snake found in Kentucky.
Are Gray Rat Snakes Cause for Concern?
So, yes, if I saw that thing, it would make my blood run cold and I would freeze right where I was standing. And that's fine; gray rat snakes--like black rat snakes--are not aggressive and want nothing to do with us humans. We're not part of the diet; pests that cause real problems are. Farmers love that part.
Gray Rat Snakes Are Also Constrictors
Also, if you're concerned about the fact that they are constrictors, there's no need to be. They save the big squeeze for rodents and other creatures they like to snack on. Still, I wouldn't exactly take that guy's lead and just pick up a snake without knowing what kind you're dealing with. And THAT gray rat snake is actually a runt compared to how big they CAN get.
According to the University of Kentucky, gray rat snakes--which can be found all over the Commonwealth--can grow to lengths greater than six feet. Humbling, to say the least.
By the way, gray rat snakes are also the largest snakes in Canada. (Forgive me for not realizing Canada even HAD snakes.) Just look at this bad boy.
Again, these are not an aggressive species, but don't corner one, either. All animals get irritated when you do that. Just let this massive thing slither away and do its good work.