Video: News Producer Frees Red Shouldered Hawk From Coils of Black Racer Snake

June 16, 2014

Red-shouldered hawks eat snakes, but in this case, it seems the tables got turned for a short while as the intended prey item, a black racer snake wrapped itself around the neck of the hawk, immobilizing it and preventing it from getting eaten.

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That is when a Florida news producer came to the rescue. And it was all caught on video with his iPhone. News 13's Evening Producer Brett Haskell saw the red shouldered hawk in distress and decided to intervene. Haskell got a stick and uncoiled the snake from its grip on the hawk, and once the hawk was free from the grip of the snake, it promptly flew away.


WMBB News 13 - The Panhandle's News Leader

The hawk apparently didn't get its talons into the snake when it first grabbed it, which would have helped immobilize the snake, Stan Kirkland, a spokesman for the Florida Fish and Wildlife Coservation Commission told News 13. Kirkland also said that the snake in this case didn't pose any significant risk to the hawk and in cases like this, it is better to let nature take its course.

black racer snake

Brett Haskell

The red shouldered hawk tried to eat the black racer snake but got wrapped up. News producer Brett Haskell removed the snake from the hawk, which flew away. 

Now I go hiking around the concrete jungle of Southern California and see all sorts of wildlife but I've never seen something like what this news producer saw when he was out for a walk in Eastern Bay County, Fl. SO the question is, do you intervene in a situation like this or do you let nature take its course. This appears to be a common occurrence as YouTube has several videos just like the one that Haskell shot with his iPhone. 

John B. Virata currently keeps a ball python, two corn snakes, a king snake, and two leopard geckos. His first snake, a California kingsnake, was purchased at the Pet Place in Westminster, CA for $5.

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