“On Thursday, May 23, 2013 around 11:40am a call came in about a couple of snakes that fell out of the trees. When the snakes fell they scared the children, and everyone fled. This was in the playground area. I responded but found no snakes. I caught one small enough to fit inside an empty water bottle I had. It was probably a black rat snake. They are indigenous to trees and the warm weather is drawing them out.”
Albimar Cuadrasleal, a painter who sometimes does work at a building near the park, tells WTOP the snake sighting occurred around the time when he was parking his car last Thursday.
He says he heard a commotion at the park, and helped remove about six children from the area. He says women at the park said the snake came out of a tree, and he took cellphone video of a snake in a playground at the park which is posted at the bottom of the page.
Cuadrasleal estimates the snake was about 4 feet long, and says he saw a smaller snake come out of a tree at the park about a week earlier.
The police officer who responded to the park for the snake sighting also tells WTOP he took the smaller snake he found to the National Zoo, where it was identified as a northern brown snake.
PoPville notes that the National Zoo says black rat snakes tend to be shy and will avoid confrontation if possible. They are not venomous, kill their prey by constriction and often will climb trees.
The zoo says some of the adult snakes also will “attempt to protect themselves.”
“They coil their body and vibrate their tails in dead leaves to simulate a rattle,” the zoo says. “If the snakes continue to be provoked, they will strike.”
The Northern brown snake, meanwhile, also is non-venomous. Its prey includes worms and slugs.