Black Rat Snakes
Elaphe obsoleta obsoleta
Nothing will bring an outdoor class to a screeching halt faster than someone sighting a snake! During our 2006 Science Explorers Camp in Oak Ridge my colleague was teaching a class on Flight and Hovercraft outside the cabin. I noticed two of the boys pointing toward a large tree. They said they saw a snake. I walked over to the tree to check it out. The "snake" turned out to be two snakes, they were mating in the tree! It was amazing to see them coiling and writhing in the fork of the branches. As 24 kids came running up, the snakes moved to the other side of the tree. Suddenly, the snakes lost their "footing" and they fell together 15 or so feet to the ground. Amazingly, they were unfazed! The campers learned the meaning of the word "oblivious"! (see next photo) I have had a lot of exciting things happen in the 17 years that I have taught at science camp, but this had to be one of the most exciting yet! For once, it was good that some of the kids were distracted and not paying attention to the teacher! Ha!