so, in MA, what would opinions be if I handled a black rat s

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Saybs444
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so, in MA, what would opinions be if I handled a black rat s

Post by Saybs444 » June 7th, 2014, 10:46 pm

? ...... I am not saying that I would. I truly respect all of our native species here in MA, and all snakes in general. But I am curious as to how people would feel about that. Is it that looked down upon? I do realize that they are rare in MA, and my morals would probably truly stop me from pursuing one in such a way that I would apprehend it, but I can't explain how much I wish to gain some hands on experience with this wild species. I never carelessly handle ANY snake, and set out to attempt to spread awareness about snakes, bcuz unfortunately so many people have an almost inherent fear of them, which in most ALL cases is irrational and useless. The black rat snake is an absolutely gorgeous species that I have always wished I'd encounter lol but I know it's very unlikely if I'm not in the expected vicinity. Opinions would be appreciated. I'm looking to find out how all y'all snake enthusiasts would feel about a very short lived catch of this species, in which no harm came to the individual. Thank you much for reading! :)

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pete
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Re: so, in MA, what would opinions be if I handled a black r

Post by pete » June 8th, 2014, 2:10 am

I honestly don't think any harm would come to the snake at all. They are a very durable species and quite tolerant of people. That said, I still think the coolest "interactions"with snakes are the ones where you take pics and observe natural behavior. I'm always pleased as punch ifn I can observe a snake without disturbing it at all. But I do like picking things up as well. There is a fascination that can't be denied.
If you do find your ratsnake, it would be incredibly stupid to handle it and then post an assload of stuff online. Use your better judgement, you're a grownup after all. ;)

Herping is an awesome hobby and we need to act responsibly or more and more restrictions will be placed on us. I don't know about you, but I am tired of having to alter my behavior because others couldn't control theirs.

Hope this helped and didn't sound like I'm jus being a d$ck. not my intention at all. :D

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Re: so, in MA, what would opinions be if I handled a black r

Post by Jeffreyrichard » June 8th, 2014, 5:33 am

They are considered "endanger" in MA, and I believe that means you cannot harass them intentionally ... that means handling them.

Having found numerous black rats in CT, I have no qualms with reasonably handling individuals ... they usually are docile and don't seem to mind being picked up. Again, I stress reasonable. While I'm sure all interactions with humans stress snakes to some degree, you should really minimize any stressful situations. Perhaps some can correct me but it seems rat snakes handle being picked up rather well, particularly if you just let them crawl up your arm or rest them in both arms.

Mike V mentioned in an earlier post about going to CT to find your BRS ... I endorse that. They are fairly common in their range, and it's not illegal (always a plus ...)

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Re: so, in MA, what would opinions be if I handled a black r

Post by Saybs444 » June 8th, 2014, 7:07 am

pete wrote:I honestly don't think any harm would come to the snake at all. They are a very durable species and quite tolerant of people. That said, I still think the coolest "interactions"with snakes are the ones where you take pics and observe natural behavior. I'm always pleased as punch ifn I can observe a snake without disturbing it at all. But I do like picking things up as well. There is a fascination that can't be denied.
If you do find your ratsnake, it would be incredibly stupid to handle it and then post an assload of stuff online. Use your better judgement, you're a grownup after all. ;)

Herping is an awesome hobby and we need to act responsibly or more and more restrictions will be placed on us. I don't know about you, but I am tired of having to alter my behavior because others couldn't control theirs.

Hope this helped and didn't sound like I'm jus being a d$ck. not my intention at all. :D
I completely agree with everything you said. :) and I also love observing and getting them on camera without necessarily handling them. That isn't always doable for me unfortunately, bcuz I don't have the best camera right now. So I need to really get RIGHT UP ON THEM, which of course in the typical situation, scares them away no matter how quiet and painstakingly slow I am lol. I mean I wouldn't stick around for a big monster to get right up on me like that either, but then i get nothing lol. The only way that I can get their natural behavior on camera is when I luck out and HAPPEN to be somewhere sitting quietly when one comes along. Then it's possible to get some cool footage. It happens sometimes.
I did not take your post as being a jerk at all so no worries. :)
But just out of curiosity what do u mean by it being stupid to post a bunch of things online if I came across a black rat snake? I do usually share my videos and stuff on YouTube. I would certainly never EVER disclose locations or upload anything in such a way that someone could figure it out, or get any landmarks/obvious property giveaways in the footage I could get, if I DID ever encounter a BRS (that would go without saying I feel) And honestly that would mainly be due to my paranoia about ignorant people. But I'm unsure as to why having photos, etc online would be stupid. Unless I was recording myself handling the snake I guess. But even then would that be classified as harassing? I am not trying to debate or anything but I'm truly curious.

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Re: so, in MA, what would opinions be if I handled a black r

Post by Saybs444 » June 8th, 2014, 7:11 am

Jeffreyrichard wrote:They are considered "endanger" in MA, and I believe that means you cannot harass them intentionally ... that means handling them.

Having found numerous black rats in CT, I have no qualms with reasonably handling individuals ... they usually are docile and don't seem to mind being picked up. Again, I stress reasonable. While I'm sure all interactions with humans stress snakes to some degree, you should really minimize any stressful situations. Perhaps some can correct me but it seems rat snakes handle being picked up rather well, particularly if you just let them crawl up your arm or rest them in both arms.

Mike V mentioned in an earlier post about going to CT to find your BRS ... I endorse that. They are fairly common in their range, and it's not illegal (always a plus ...)
Absolutely. I would feel a lot more comfortable doing so in CT. Is handling truly considered harassing? Cuz it isn't in all cases, but I just mean legally, would handling be synonymous with harassing? I absolutely do understand that most all interactions with humans for wild snakes is going to be at least somewhat stressful. I'm just getting into semantics I suppose.

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Re: so, in MA, what would opinions be if I handled a black r

Post by Joe Mahoney » June 8th, 2014, 7:35 am

I agree with everything both Pete and Jeffrey said. The following page is very informative and explains what is "unlawful" in MA. Be smart about it if you do in fact encounter one in MA. Good luck!

http://www.mass.gov/eea/docs/dfg/nhesp/ ... iensis.pdf

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Re: so, in MA, what would opinions be if I handled a black r

Post by Saybs444 » June 8th, 2014, 7:42 am

Joe Mahoney wrote:I agree with everything both Pete and Jeffrey said. The following page is very informative and explains what is "unlawful" in MA. Be smart about it if you do in fact encounter one in MA. Good luck!

http://www.mass.gov/eea/docs/dfg/nhesp/ ... iensis.pdf
Thanks! I'll check that out! :)

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Re: so, in MA, what would opinions be if I handled a black r

Post by Saybs444 » June 8th, 2014, 7:45 am

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Re: so, in MA, what would opinions be if I handled a black r

Post by MCHerper » June 8th, 2014, 8:43 am

Rats are unpredictable. They can be biters under the right circumstances, and I think that if you attempted to handle one when it was leaving you would increase the odds. I would think that it would consider your handling a predation attempt, if it recognized you as a threat and you physically grabbed it as it was leaving. Just my $0.02

Also, the harassment language is written into NJ's laws as well. Most people don't know a damn thing about handling herps, and I'd be willing to bet that harassment was written in to honor the drunken idiots who attempt to pick up snakes by the tail to show how tough they are to their friends or something along the lines. There really should be exceptions for herpers who are trying to photograph and document the presence of a species, but even then there are the herpers who 'treasure hunt' and leave a trail of destruction just to try to find a target species. There was a thread somewhere else in the forum where someone found a bunch of dead ringnecks between rocks out in Illinois or Indiana (can't remember which) and the assumption was that someone was looking for another species and just dropping the rocks that didn't have what they were looking for, with no consideration to the abundant ringnecks.

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Re: so, in MA, what would opinions be if I handled a black r

Post by pete » June 8th, 2014, 8:45 am

Not stupid to take pictures of ratsnakes and post them. Stupid to take pictures of yourself handling them in mass and then posting them.
You don't need a great camera to get good observational shots. Moving slowly and deliberately will keep most snakes calm in your presence.

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Re: so, in MA, what would opinions be if I handled a black r

Post by Saybs444 » June 8th, 2014, 9:20 pm

pete wrote:Not stupid to take pictures of ratsnakes and post them. Stupid to take pictures of yourself handling them in mass and then posting them.
You don't need a great camera to get good observational shots. Moving slowly and deliberately will keep most snakes calm in your presence.
I didn't mean regarding their demeanor. I rarely ever get bitten and I handle snakes frequently (although I realize that that is something quite a few people don't like the idea of). The way you approach each snake is certainly important. but the quality of the shots is what I meant. Imo, you do need a decent camera to get good shots, but I'm talking about quality here. Not substance/content.

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Re: so, in MA, what would opinions be if I handled a black r

Post by Saybs444 » June 8th, 2014, 9:23 pm

MCHerper wrote:Rats are unpredictable. They can be biters under the right circumstances, and I think that if you attempted to handle one when it was leaving you would increase the odds. I would think that it would consider your handling a predation attempt, if it recognized you as a threat and you physically grabbed it as it was leaving. Just my $0.02

Also, the harassment language is written into NJ's laws as well. Most people don't know a damn thing about handling herps, and I'd be willing to bet that harassment was written in to honor the drunken idiots who attempt to pick up snakes by the tail to show how tough they are to their friends or something along the lines. There really should be exceptions for herpers who are trying to photograph and document the presence of a species, but even then there are the herpers who 'treasure hunt' and leave a trail of destruction just to try to find a target species. There was a thread somewhere else in the forum where someone found a bunch of dead ringnecks between rocks out in Illinois or Indiana (can't remember which) and the assumption was that someone was looking for another species and just dropping the rocks that didn't have what they were looking for, with no consideration to the abundant ringnecks.
Ugh that kills me just to imagine :( :'( and it is exactly why I unfortunately have what people call a pessimistic opinion of human beings. In general I think most of us are terrible, and lack the ever elusive COMMON SENSE. Do you think it could've been that the rocks were stepped on? I'm not sure what I'd make of that. It's heartbreaking :(

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Re: so, in MA, what would opinions be if I handled a black r

Post by ZantiMissKnit » June 9th, 2014, 7:30 am

Where black rat snakes are classified as "endangered" in Massachusetts, I wouldn't handle them. It does make it more difficult to get a good photo, but, if you think about it, how would you get a photo of a timber rattlesnake or a copperhead? You wouldn't be able to handle them (one, they are again endangered and two, you would be in danger of being bitten).

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Re: so, in MA, what would opinions be if I handled a black r

Post by Saybs444 » June 9th, 2014, 2:51 pm

ZantiMissKnit wrote:Where black rat snakes are classified as "endangered" in Massachusetts, I wouldn't handle them. It does make it more difficult to get a good photo, but, if you think about it, how would you get a photo of a timber rattlesnake or a copperhead? You wouldn't be able to handle them (one, they are again endangered and two, you would be in danger of being bitten).
Yeah, I wanted to get some opinions on it, but I don't plan to try apprehending one in MA. Connecticut however I may makes some plans to visit to see if I get lucky enough to encounter one. I mean I'd love to encounter one in MA too, but I know my chances are really slim.

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Re: so, in MA, what would opinions be if I handled a black r

Post by incuhead2000 » June 9th, 2014, 4:47 pm

Good points everyone. Keep in mind if you find it in the road in most cases it is better to move it off, even in states where animals are endangered it is legal to remove them from a roadway, same goes for flipping it. If you flip it under a heavy cover object there is a chance you will have to touch the snake because it is now in danger of being crushed. The reality is some herp experiences are best kept to ones self...I've seen plenty of shots of snakes that are endangered where we could argue all day if it was "in situ" or not....a recent shot I saw of an indigo comes to mind. Most rat snakes aren't too bitey, just keep in mind like any animal snakes have mood swings too!

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Re: so, in MA, what would opinions be if I handled a black r

Post by Saybs444 » June 9th, 2014, 10:25 pm

incuhead2000 wrote:Good points everyone. Keep in mind if you find it in the road in most cases it is better to move it off, even in states where animals are endangered it is legal to remove them from a roadway, same goes for flipping it. If you flip it under a heavy cover object there is a chance you will have to touch the snake because it is now in danger of being crushed. The reality is some herp experiences are best kept to ones self...I've seen plenty of shots of snakes that are endangered where we could argue all day if it was "in situ" or not....a recent shot I saw of an indigo comes to mind. Most rat snakes aren't too bitey, just keep in mind like any animal snakes have mood swings too!
Thanks! :) All considerations of course!

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Re: so, in MA, what would opinions be if I handled a black r

Post by chris_mcmartin » June 10th, 2014, 3:49 am

incuhead2000 wrote:Good points everyone. Keep in mind if you find it in the road in most cases it is better to move it off, even in states where animals are endangered it is legal to remove them from a roadway,
Not in Texas! Might be the only state where you can't legally move an animal off the road. Working to get that fixed, though.

In Kansas, I've been known to jump out of a moving car (as the passenger) to move a black rat off the road.

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Re: so, in MA, what would opinions be if I handled a black r

Post by incuhead2000 » June 10th, 2014, 4:50 am

My brother jumped out of a moving car once for a corn snake...he was not a passenger.

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Re: so, in MA, what would opinions be if I handled a black r

Post by Saybs444 » June 10th, 2014, 8:09 am

chris_mcmartin wrote:
incuhead2000 wrote:Good points everyone. Keep in mind if you find it in the road in most cases it is better to move it off, even in states where animals are endangered it is legal to remove them from a roadway,
Not in Texas! Might be the only state where you can't legally move an animal off the road. Working to get that fixed, though.

In Kansas, I've been known to jump out of a moving car (as the passenger) to move a black rat off the road.
We've done this for racers here. They look to be pieces of rubber from tires and get hit so much :( every time I see it I feel a pang in my heart. ......that is absolutely APPALLING to me that it is still illegal even when the species is in peril, to move it! .... do you mean period with all animals, our just endangered ones?

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Re: so, in MA, what would opinions be if I handled a black r

Post by Saybs444 » June 10th, 2014, 8:12 am

incuhead2000 wrote:My brother jumped out of a moving car once for a corn snake...he was not a passenger.
My father did this exact same thing. But luckily the passenger took control of the car or the story might've ended less happily. Apparently some reptile lovers can't control their compassion for our scaled friends.

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Re: so, in MA, what would opinions be if I handled a black r

Post by cbernz » June 10th, 2014, 4:45 pm

Let he who has never handled a protected species cast the first stone....

My opinion is that if I were in your shoes and I found a black rat in MA I would almost certainly let it slide through my fingers, at least for a minute or two. As long as it wasn't in the middle of some critical activity like laying eggs, eating, or mating, I don't think it's that big of a deal.

Some black rats will gape and strike the minute you touch them, and some of them could care less - I'd say it's about 50/50. They do tend to be way less flighty than most other snakes, so you can often get great photos in situ without ever laying a hand on them.

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Re: so, in MA, what would opinions be if I handled a black r

Post by niteflyer8 » June 10th, 2014, 6:55 pm

I have seen them before. They seem almost friendly at times. I don't touch snakes...only pictures but I'd bet they could give you a heck of a bite. A cool brs might be the way to go.

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Re: so, in MA, what would opinions be if I handled a black r

Post by chris_mcmartin » June 11th, 2014, 3:27 am

Saybs444 wrote:......that is absolutely APPALLING to me that it is still illegal even when the species is in peril, to move it! .... do you mean period with all animals, our just endangered ones?

All animals (except invertebrates). We Texans are working to get that restriction overturned (it only came about in 2007).

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Re: so, in MA, what would opinions be if I handled a black r

Post by mikez » June 12th, 2014, 2:39 pm

There's no question, in Ma, the letter of the law says hands off [harassment]. In actuality, I doubt many game wardens would pinch you for picking up a rat snake, as long as you don't walk away with it.

My opinion is, they are extremely hardy, calm and human tolerant. They frequently live in densely populated suburbs and invade houses in southern states where they are extremely common. It is very hard for me to see how such a robust animal could be harmed by gentle handling. I find it hard to resist picking up such a beautiful, large and [usually] calm snake myself, but never found one in a state where they are protected.

Don't forget, the people who tell you that you may not gently handle the snakes have no problem grabbing them up, taking them back to the lab, cutting them open and stuffing radio transmitters into their abdomens. The fact that the snakes not only survive the handling and surgery, but also drag around the transmitter and go about their business proves how tough they are.

Also, bare in mind, they are protected in Ma because they are "rare" here, but in actuality, they are at the far northern limits of their range. In the main body of the range, they are very secure and abundant, often being the most common large snake. Certainly one of the most common roadkill species.

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Re: so, in MA, what would opinions be if I handled a black r

Post by Saybs444 » June 12th, 2014, 4:11 pm

cbernz wrote:Let he who has never handled a protected species cast the first stone....

My opinion is that if I were in your shoes and I found a black rat in MA I would almost certainly let it slide through my fingers, at least for a minute or two. As long as it wasn't in the middle of some critical activity like laying eggs, eating, or mating, I don't think it's that big of a deal.

Some black rats will gape and strike the minute you touch them, and some of them could care less - I'd say it's about 50/50. They do tend to be way less flighty than most other snakes, so you can often get great photos in situ without ever laying a hand on them.
I think I'd feel most comfortable trying to gain some hands on experience with this species in Connecticut probably. Mainly bcuz I really do care a LOT about our snakes and thinking that I could disrupt the delicate balance where they're not very common doesn't sit well with me. But I totally hear what you say. I can't say for certain how I would react in the situation. Id go about it in the safest kindest way possible (if I did find myself unable to resist) and if the situation didn't present itself in such a way that I COULD do it in a gentle way, then I wouldn't at all. I see both sides of it and I think in general it's probably best to act like it's a no no, bcuz you really never know what kind of person is going to try to go out and handle them, and how it is they're executing this attempt. They do fascinate a lot though. They're so gorgeous.

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Re: so, in MA, what would opinions be if I handled a black r

Post by Saybs444 » June 12th, 2014, 4:12 pm

chris_mcmartin wrote:
Saybs444 wrote:......that is absolutely APPALLING to me that it is still illegal even when the species is in peril, to move it! .... do you mean period with all animals, our just endangered ones?

All animals (except invertebrates). We Texans are working to get that restriction overturned (it only came about in 2007).
I'm glad you are!! :)

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Re: so, in MA, what would opinions be if I handled a black r

Post by Saybs444 » June 12th, 2014, 4:15 pm

mikez wrote:There's no question, in Ma, the letter of the law says hands off [harassment]. In actuality, I doubt many game wardens would pinch you for picking up a rat snake, as long as you don't walk away with it.

My opinion is, they are extremely hardy, calm and human tolerant. They frequently live in densely populated suburbs and invade houses in southern states where they are extremely common. It is very hard for me to see how such a robust animal could be harmed by gentle handling. I find it hard to resist picking up such a beautiful, large and [usually] calm snake myself, but never found one in a state where they are protected.

Don't forget, the people who tell you that you may not gently handle the snakes have no problem grabbing them up, taking them back to the lab, cutting them open and stuffing radio transmitters into their abdomens. The fact that the snakes not only survive the handling and surgery, but also drag around the transmitter and go about their business proves how tough they are.

Also, bare in mind, they are protected in Ma because they are "rare" here, but in actuality, they are at the far northern limits of their range. In the main body of the range, they are very secure and abundant, often being the most common large snake. Certainly one of the most common roadkill species.
Very good points you make!

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