Growing up in South Carolina I was made aware of snakes at a young age. We had a whole explosion of copperheads in our backyard one summer and I was always warned to watch my step. In my childhood I thought of snakes as being mean and dangerous. This idea was supported by my father but luckily, in my adult life, I have come to love snakes.
The chicken snake was one of the few snakes that my father didn't kill on sight. A more common name for the chicken snake is the rat snake (Elaphe obsoleta). At my job we have three rat snakes, 1 yellow rat and 2 Everglades rat snakes. They are beautiful but unfortunately, they still musk on us after only a few minutes. One of my goals was to try and handle these snakes more so that we could use them for educational purposes. It's been 6 months on the job and I have only held them twice. I always have good intentions to hold them but something about the way they look at me in their cage unnerves me. I'm ashamed to say that the naturalist has been defeated by a few snakes.