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What kind of snake is this Part Two


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First let me start by saying I hate snakes. I am afraid of snake and not ashamed to admit they scare me. Why I don’t know.


I raise bantam chickens and I have some baby chicks about four weeks old in a rabbit cage in my feed shed. Last night when I got home and went to feed them I opened the door to the shed and there in their cage looking at me was a snake with a big lump in its middle. It had swallowed one of my chicks. I called a neighbor and he came over and got the snake out of the cage and killed it for me.


This morning about 5 AM I go back to the pen to turn the fan on for them and there was another snake in the cage. This one had gotten to of my chicks. Well I about craped my pants. But I did pull myself together enough to get it out and take care of it by myself.


So what kind of snake is it and how do I get rid of them?




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Looks like a brown watersnake (or northern watersnake) to me...



Agree. And at first glance it will fool you into thinking its a copperhead. I'd suggest a hoe. The farming kind.

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The actual head of a copperhead is usually shaped fairly similar to a spade. Northern water snakes generally have a narrower head - particularly back where the head meets the rest of the body. I can't really make out for sure in the picture to tell you what I think of the snake you killed.


Also, copperheads generally, but not always, have more lighter areas of coloration than dark - although sometimes coloration is somewhat equal between dark and light, and sometimes there is more dark coloration than light. Northern water snakes almost always show more dark than light coloration, which is how I would describe the coloration in the picture you posted.


Lastly, at least in the case of adults, copperheads' bodies have a fair amount of girth to them. Often times almost as big around as a soda can. Juveniles can be narrower. Regardless, your snake doesn't have that thick of a body.

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In a chicken coop eating chicks? I would highly doubt that...


They'll go after anything small they can find if it's easy. You have a good point, though. Unless the coop is somewhere near a body of water of some sort, it's less likely to be a northern watersnake. However...northern watersnakes (and copperheads) generally tend to have a darker color on their underside than prairie kingsnakes, and I think even their "light" color tones tend to be darker.


The particularly purposeful bit of information for Godot, though, would be knowing if it's a copperhead or not. The triangular/spade shape of the head is really the dead giveaway for that. I believe pit vipers (like copperheads and cottonmouths) generally have longer fangs as well. Also...copperheads have vertical slit-shaped pupils. If Godot can muster up the cojones to peel open the eyelids, he might be able to figure that out.


As for keeping the snakes out...that's a tough one. Raising the coop will help some. Maybe wrapping it with hardware cloth instead of chicken wire as well?

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