Have you ever seen a crooked snake? Like the one in the photo? It would fit right in with the Mother Goose Nursery Rhyme about the crooked man. To paraphrase, “There was a crooked man, and he went a crooked mile. He found a crooked blacksnake beside a crooked stile.”

Our common black rat snake, usually called a black snake, has a strange, unusual behavior. When startled or frightened, it can freeze and become wrinkled or “kinked.” The kinking is supposed to mimic the appearance of a fallen branch so the snake can avoid attack by a predator.

Rat snakes are constrictors, like pythons and boas, and kill their prey by squeezing them. Perhaps the kinking is the memory of coiling about their prey and is a form of defense when startled. In any event, once the threat has passed the snake unkinks and moves on.

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E-mail lindsey.chastain@skiatookjournal.com

Managing Editor

Lindsey is the managing editor for the Skiatook Journal. She holds an M.A in English from the University of Central Oklahoma. Prior to the start of her news career in 2011, Renuard was a professor of English at the University of Central Oklahoma.