Example of Rat Snake Predation

Yesterday morning, my martins were extremely agitated, landing and taking off and being very very vocal. I had greased the pole (Steve warned this doesn't work and it doesn't!!) so it couldn't be! WRONG!!!!! I lowered my main housing unit consisting of wooden houses and natural gourds and inside a 4compartment vertical house, at eye level, a 5 foot rat snake!! I opened the doors on my 24 compartment house to check nest and the upper floor is a few inches above my head, so I reach in to feel and am promptly bit on the finger. I jump and laugh and say " a bird bit me" and my son screams "SNAKE!!!" He's back a few feet and can see in fairly well. Sure enough, a 3 foot rat snake!! Holy Cow!!!!! two of them!! They climbed a 3 inch square tubing 18 feet straight up!! Well, after checking the other 2 poles, I went and got 3 buckets and did what I should have done in the first place. My yard is wide open and everything is kept mowed and weeded, so this should tell everyone that no one is immune. If you don't have guards, get 'em and above all, LISTEN TO YOUR MARTINS!! Regards

- Mike Smith nan193@cs.com Caddo Mills,Tx

Re: Example of Rat Snake Predation

 I had a similar experience here. One morning my martins were afraid to land on their house. I lowered the house and there in the bottom nest was a corn snake. The female martin was laying dead with blood coming out her mouth. The snakes shape showed that it had eaten the male and all the young. My neighborhood has neatly trimmed lawns with no place for snakes to hide so I was certain that there would be no snake problem. The house is up 30 feet on a 2" square pole but evidently that was no problem for the snake. I now have a guard on the pole but hear that may not even be enough. I am thinking about using an electric fence.

-Lou Graue, graue2@comcast.net- Punta Gorda/FL