What is the King of Snakes in Texas
TEXAS HAS SEVERAL VARIETIES of king snake. These are generally accepted by ranchers and farmers because they eat other snakes including venomous ones.
There is a snake however in Texas that is king even over the king snake and it too eats other snakes. I am talking about the Texas indigo snake.
A threatened species, this is the largest serpent in the United States, attaining verified lengths of up to 8.5 feet. A South Texas deer rancher, however, told me of having one get stuck in his high fence on this deer ranch due to its girth. They freed the snake and said it was in the 10-foot range.
Stories of even larger ones are out there but because of habitat changes in South Texas the snake is difficult to find in many areas.
I spotted two near Moore in 1995 as they were wrapped together in a mating ritual beneath my bowstand on a warm October day. Those snakes were in the seven-foot class. My girlfriend (now my wife) was in the stand with me. Although the snakes had already disappeared into the brush, she jumped from the second rung of the ladder and ran down the trail toward the truck.
I saw an even larger one crossing a sendero near Freer in 2013.
The Texas indigo snake extends its range well into Mexico, and its fame as a killer of rattlesnakes is well known. Numerous YouTube videos of these huge serpents show them impressively overpowering big rattlers.
Snakes such as the indigo have an impressive ability to swallow creatures close to their size. When a snake eats a large prey item, it has to relax for a while and let it digest. If we ate a live five-foot-long rattlesnake, we might need to relax too.
The indigo snake is unique in that I have never heard of a hunter, rancher or farmer intentionally killing one. As previously mentioned, the idea of them killing rattlesnakes has earned them allies, but I think there is more to the story.
These gorgeous, elusive and huge serpents stir the imagination. They remind us just how wild the brush country of South Texas remains despite highways, high fences and cities.
There are still wild things out there and some of them happen to slither.
If you see one, consider yourself blessed. The indigo snake is one of Texas’s most amazing creatures.