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When I came across this fairly large snake, which I think is a Northern Black Racer snake (Coluber constrictor constrictor), I was happy that I had a fairly long telephoto lens.

He looked to be about 48 inches long (1.2 meters) and was partially coiled on top of a bush at the edge of the beaver pond at my local marsh. Although he was basking in the sun, he was definitely alert, which was one of the reasons why I was very cautious. The photo provides a close-up view of his head, but it was shot with my zoom lens at about 340mm, so I was not close and personal with him.

Wikipedia notes that this snake usually swallows its prey alive, despite the “constrictor” in its Latin name. Although these snakes will try to avoid predators, “once cornered they put up a vigorous fight, biting hard and often.” I’ll definitely keep that in mind.

One other interesting bit of trivia that I discovered about the Northern Black Racer snake (and I recognize that I could be wrong in my identification) is that the snake was designated as the official state reptile of Ohio in 1995.

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Michael Q. Powell. All rights reserved

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