The hiker, identified as Michelle Modglin by the Town of Zionsville’s Facebook page, was walking along the Big-4 Rail Trail when she saw the eastern rat snake, also known as a black rat snake.
Though it’s not clear how long this particular serpent was, these creatures typically reach lengths of 3 to 5 feet, though they can be longer, per the town’s post.
“Although their size can be intimidating, rat snakes are predators to mice and rats and help keep our local habitats healthy. They will also eat squirrels, chipmunks and birds, as well as bird eggs. Rat snakes are excellent climbers, and prefer to relax up in the trees instead of down on the ground,” it reads.
“Poisonous or not I’d be scared to death!” commented one person in response.
“Great picture of a beautiful animal,” said a second.
“Wow, I would surely turn around and RUN the other way, non-[venomous] or not!” a third wrote.
Park goers in Zionsville can also come across a variety of other snake species, such as midland water snakes and garter snakes, among others.
Black rat snakes are keen swimmers and climbers; skills they often use when catching prey, according to the National Wildlife Federation. These serpents are also constrictors, meaning they use their body to suffocate their prey.
“All snakes can bite or musk if they feel threatened,” warns the Town of Zionsville in the post. “We ask that you show respect, give them room, and take lots and lots of pictures.”