Georgia doesn’t house as many oak snakes as northern Florida, to the chagrin of reptile lovers and the relief of those afraid of serpents. The southern part of the Peach State, however, sees its share of these sojourning reptiles. Because of their coloring, they blend well in oak trees, earning the name “oak snake” or “white oak snake.”
Like many serpents, the oak snake's appearance differentiates it from other types of snakes. The oak snake possesses light gray skin with dark gray splotches on its back. Sometimes, the jaw is a very light gray, almost white. Although the lengths of these snakes can exceed 7 feet, they generally grow to 4 or 5 feet long.
Oak snakes in Georgia tend toward a secretive or shy behavior pattern, according to the University of Florida. They generally live in hiding places such as trees, in bushes or inside abandoned buildings. They are not usually aggressive unless cornered. When they do bite, they don't release any venom, but you must treat your wounds for potential infection.
The diet of Georgia oak snakes consists primarily of frogs and lizards. Additionally, they feed on household pests such as insects and rats. For this reason, combined with their lack of venom, oak snakes play an important role in protecting gardens. Sometimes, these snakes also feed on squirrels, birds and bird eggs. To kill prey, they use constriction, then consume the animal whole.
Oak snakes can live up to 20 years, though most live for about 12 years. Because the habitat of oak snakes generally stays warm, these snakes don’t experience a full hibernation. Instead, they go through a process called “brumation,” where their metabolic rate reduces and the snakes become slow to respond. During this time, they need less food, but they are more susceptible to attacks.
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