Sliding silently through the underbrush and thick meadow grasses, snakes are important members of the food chain. With no legs or claws, they evolved special ways of hunting and typically capture their prey by ambush. Waiting in the shadows for prey to pass by, snakes strike without warning. Insects and very small animals are swallowed whole. But larger animals that could seriously injure a snake are immobilized by suffocation or poison. The snake’s jaws unhinge and its ribs flex, allowing it to swallow and digest animals much bigger than itself.
This predation is a natural part of the food chain and by eating the abundant insects and rodents, snakes help keep their populations from growing too large which could damage the habitat. And snakes, too, are food for other animals, such as owls, opossums, raccoons and even other snakes.
In most cases, snakes are not aggressive unless provoked and though none of the snakes at Ladew are poisonous, they all can and probably will bite if handled. The best thing to do when you encounter a snake is to observe from a safe distance and not interact directly with it. Most snakes would be most happy to never see or hear a human.
View a map of the Nature Walk