Be careful where you step and be sure to look up in Overton Park. This after several snakes were spotted there over the weekend.
Park officials told Local 24 news some of the park’s snakes moved to higher ground after heavy rains.
One runner managed to capture a photo of both a Rat Snake and a Copperhead right off the running trails.
“I was trying to keep my distance,” said Steve Ballou. “I didn’t want to disturb them because they’re in their own habitat. I didn’t get any closer than I needed to, so I zoomed in on it. When I zoomed in apparently it made it look like a monster.”
Ballou said he uploaded the photos to Facebook without giving it much though.
“This is their natural habitat,” he said. “If you’re out and about in Overton Park you are going to see them. I just never saw one in the tree like that.”
The post quickly started circulating with people questioning what kind of snake it was and how big.
“I thought it was around 7 feet, maybe 10 feet. That is huge,” said Harrison Greene.
“I thought it was at least 5 or 6 feet,” said Tyera McFarland.
Turns out the snake was a rat snake and not nearly as large as people guessed.
“My son helped me identify it,” said Ballou. “It was no bigger than two to three feet.”
Curators at the Memphis Zoo identified the snakes photographed as a gray rat snake and a copperhead. Rat snakes are not poisonous and can grow up to 7 feet long.
“Rat snakes like to go up in trees,” said herpetarium keeper David Billard. “They like to eat birds and move around off the ground whereas the copperhead will be more on the ground. So, it’s more of a rat snake thing to be up in the trees.”
Billard said it’s not uncommon to see snakes in the area, especially with the warmer weather in our area.
“It’s a little strange,” he said. “They typically don’t come out until the end of April. It could have been hungry as well.”
As for Ballou he said the whole experience proves you just need to respect nature.
“This is their home first,” he said. “You’re going to see them. They’re part of the environment. They’re good things. They help control the rodent population.”