This morning when K was checking chicks, turkeys, and our broody hen who decided to nest outside of the hen house (not that it would have made a difference in this instance), he started squawking loudly enough for me to hear him in the house to, "Bring the camera!!!!!"
When E and I did bring the camera, we saw the broody hen trapped in our temporary restraining pen with this enormous rat snake. The idea of the temporary protection was to keep the raccoons and skunks away - also yellow dogs who might forget their training. We weren't really thinking of long, thin predators.
We should have been. This snake is certainly a healthy specimen. He or she has probably been feasting on our eggs for quite some time. I think he was about 5 feet long, but none of the pictures show the full length.
K was more enthralled about capturing the dislocation of the jaw. Honestly, I thought it was somewhat gross, but what do I know. These were taken at close range without the aid of special lens. K and I both assumed the snake had such a mouthful that he would be in no position to strike.
What to do? What to do? Should we relocate the hen and her eggs? Or just hope she learns to choose more wisely next time.
Can we count this as science??