So having shared some photos of, and raved about, Florida's beautiful corn snakes I must make a confession, the corns were not my favourite of the week's snakes (nor were the pythons), hell - they weren't even my favourite rat snakes of the week. Why? Well because from the moment I saw it, this was always going to be the top critter of the week.
As you can probably guess from its size in comparison with the yellow lines; this was a pretty big snake. To be a little more specific this is a pretty big Everglades Rat Snake, Elaphe obsoleta rossalleni. I probably don't have to tell you that seeing a fat 5 foot bright orange snake in your headlights as you drive a quiet road is a pretty awesome sight. I think that is part of the reason I enjoyed this one so much - it was so spectacularly obvious as to be almost unbelievable which was how I felt about my first experience of proper roadcruising: I couldn't believe it was so easy and so much fun.
'Glades rats are (depending upon whose taxonomy you listen to) a subsepecies of the black rat snake and so are technically the same species as that monster grey rat snake that FC posts from time to time though it looks completely different. It would live a similar life too cruising the forest eating small rodents and reptiles and making the odd foray for nestlings or eggs. All the while looking absolutely spectacular. I would say that critters like this make me understand why so many amercians move to Florida but apparently for many of them these guys are absolutely not a reason to move home (at least not to move toward them!). People are strange. How could you not love this guy?