There is a Black Rat Snake who just comes into my backyard. I know they are harmless but I also have a 7 YR old sister who is "eh" over snakes. My parents are terrified of snakes nonetheless but allow Rat Snakes in the backyard (As they are harmless). My question is, If it comes up to us, Should we let it climb on us or should we leave it alone and walk away. The snake might think we are trees and just want to climb on us, but I don't want to put harmful oils on it or deprive it from its knowledge and will to live in the environment. I don't have a picture of it and probably cant get one because it seems to be around at the exact moment I don't have a camera, However i do know its about 4-5 feet long, and i live in the city.

1 Answer 1


It's very unlikely that a wild snake will mistake you for a tree and try to climb on you. Snakes can tell the difference between a tree and a person. Trees are cold and quiet and hold still. People are warm and noisy and move around; even when sitting "still" you're never completely still or silent.

If it does try to climb on you, walk away calmly. But again, it probably will avoid you. As far as it's concerned, you're a large animal that might try to eat it. Leave it alone so it can feel safe in your garden. Non-venomous snakes are good to have around, because they eat mice and rats.

Don't try to pick it up and use it to tease your sister. (I know you didn't ask that, but I assume if you hadn't already thought of this, you would soon.) It will bite you if you try to pick it up. Then your sister will be the one laughing at you. Most wild animals will bite you if you pick them up. A bite from even a non-venomous snake can be quite painful, and could end up getting infected.

  • I think the "harmful oils" comment was referring to natural (human) skin oil. Commented Jun 2, 2021 at 20:49
  • @GregHewgill Thank you. That makes so much more sense than pouring or spraying oil on the snake, which is how I (mis)interpreted it.
    – csk
    Commented Jun 2, 2021 at 20:50
  • @GregHewgill or skincare products (sunscreen especially is bad for many creatures)
    – Chris H
    Commented Jun 7, 2021 at 11:41
  • yes @csk Im Semi-trained in picking up snakes and beleive me, Its quite painful even when a nonvenomous snake bites, and they dont let go until you put them on the ground. Commented Jun 28, 2021 at 13:22

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