Kingsnake Devours Copperhead

GON Staff | August 28, 2003

Many folks, including Bruce Adams, know that snakes have a place in natureʼs web of life, but it was something he had to convince his wife of last spring when she saw a big snake up in a tree. It was a big eastern kingsnake, and it was eating baby birds out of a nest.

“My wife about had a fit,” Bruce said. “I told her everything has to eat, and I let him stay there. We saw him several times last year and again some this year. He mostly stayed around our garden.”

Bruce owns several rental cabins along Tesnatee Creek in White County called “Cabin on the Creek.” Last month, Bruce was walking down to the cabins when he saw a commotion.

The owner of a cabin rental property in White County watched a kingsnake chase a copperhead out of a garden and then wrap up on it.

“The kingsnake had run a copperhead out of the garden out onto the gravel, and he started rolling up on him. The copperhead was biting at him, and the kingsnake wrapped around it and started squeezing,” Bruce said.

Bruce yelled for Rick Conners, a full-time renter who works at the property, who came outside with his digital camera. They estimated the copperhead at more than 3 feet long, while the kingsnake was about 6 1/2 feet long.

“Iʼm not a snake lover, I donʼt go around with one wrapped around my neck,” Bruce said, “but weʼve killed too many in this state. People need to leave them alone and know they have their place and purpose.”

Commonly on the menu for kingsnakes are other snakes — including the venomous varieties — which makes kingsnakes one of our most tolerated species of snake.

This White County encounter was over in 40 minutes, with the copperhead completely consumed by the kingsnake.


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