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      The Nature Report: Valley Snakes Take To The Trees

      First light reveals a huge indigo snake ascending an ancient oak.

      The shiny black serpent is at least seven feet long and wonderfully adept at gliding its impressive length up the tree. The snake is through in its inspection of hollows and even ventures out onto fragile branches in search of nestlings or other potential prey.

      Thin branches are no impediment to this skilled climber who is intent on examining every inch of its arboreal domain. Finally, the indigo snake daringly descends thru the branches and stretches down to the ground where it resumes its hunt. Bull snakes are also accomplished climbers and readily take to the trees in search of a meal.

      The 6-foot plus snake is as at home in an oak as on the ground.

      This exceptionally large specimen has undoubtedly explored many a cavity and raided numerous nests. Like the indigo snake, the bullsnake doesn TMt hesitate to venture out onto thin limbs as it slips thru the uppermost branches of a tall oak. It TMs not at all uncommon to find a large indigo or bull snake gliding thru the branches, but occasionally a diamondback rattlesnake will also ascend a tree.

      Coiled motionless in the fork of venerable oak, this rattler waits patiently in ambush for a meal to appear. The deadly snake TMs rattles hang limp as it lurks in ambush for a scampering mouse or squirrel to move within striking distance.

      Eventually, the diamondback abandons its post and glides down the thick trunk to hunt the land below.