Based on our findings, we suggest that rat snakes represent not only a major predator of kites, but also of other canopy and mid-story nesting species in the southeastern United States. For example, rat snakes are the most dominant snake nest predator of bird nests throughout the Southeast (DeGregorio et al. 2014) and are skilled tree climbers that often occupy arboreal habitats (Jackson 1976, Keller and Heske 2000, Sperry et al. 2009), particularly in bottomland forests (Mullin et al. 2000, Carfagno and Weatherhead 2009). Thus, the role of rat snakes as predators of nests above the understory is likely underappreciated because of the paucity of information on causes of failure among mid-story and canopy nests
Mullin, Stephen J.; Gutzke, William H. N.; Zenitsky, Gary D.; and Cooper, Robert J., "Home Ranges of Rat Snakes (Colubridae: Elaphe) in Different Habitats" (2000). Faculty Publications. Paper 114.