While I was out running errands a couple of weeks ago, I came across this beautiful guy. He had been hit by a passing car, but was still in good shape for making some nature studies from. He is a Black Rat Snake, fairly common in central Ohio.
He measured not quite three feet long, not full sized for a Rat Snake. They typically grow from four to six feet long, although some have been known to exceed eight feet.
I love the iridescent reflections on his belly. Rat snakes can discharge a foul smelling substance from their musk glands when alarmed.
This closeup shows the beautiful scales on his back and the subtle brown rings around his body. Most eastern Rat Snakes freeze in position when threatened in order to blend with their surroundings. I hope to use these photos for reference for some paintings.