I implore you to help this concerned e-mail writer from Texas. It appears that there is a snake terrorizing her chickens and she can't get a straight answer regarding the species. I trust you can identify the culprit, which so often appears in my inbox.
We live in N.E. Texas and have never seen a snake like this. Can you tell me what kind of snake it is? I have had many locals tell me contradicting answers. One says he's had rat and chicken snakes and this is not one. Another tells me it is definitely poisonous. I don't like to kill snakes, if they are not poisonous, but it was eating eggs one night. The next night, another one (it's mate?) was eating one of my chickens. They both measured between 5 - 5.5 ft. The first one actually shot something clear out of his mouth, when I tried to stop him from leaving the chicken pen. It was different from the eggs he coughed up later from me hitting him. I was a little shaken over the incident.
Let us help Susie out folks. In a follow-up e-mail, she mentioned that she hates killing snakes if they are non-venomous but is concerned for her chickens. Any tips would be appreciated regarding how to deter these animals from her chicken coop in the future. Please also include some identification tips that she can keep in mind for the next time a marauder shows up in her backyard. I'm hoping to hear both from people that think they can identify the snake (experts and non-experts welcome) as well as those readers out there that have successfully solved the problem of living alongside chicken-loving wildlife.