The (Rat, King, Coachwhip) Snake who came to breakfast

This small snake was on top of the curtains this morning as we ate breakfast… probably the cats brought him in under the garage door, like the lizards that show up sometimes. I had seen him disappear down a furnace grate a week ago, and figured he’d turn up again. Dirk removed one end of the curtain rod, he dropped to the window sill, and while he was getting his bearings, I flipped him into an empty cat litter bucket  with one finger. I walked without the cane across the lawn to release him at the edge of the woods near the sheep pasture fence, far from the wrens’ nests around the house.
He’s black with gray diamonds, narrow head, no rattler, very slender and active. Thought he was a black racer until I got him out in the sun. Guesses from friends include a King Snake, Rat Snake, but he moved like the Coachwhip Snake, slender and snapped around, is a climber. I see a different type of snake every year, it seems, that I’m trying to identify by unclear pictures in books. My list of NC Snakes includes 37 types, and most of those are not in my books, but I’m sure would be available on a web search. They describe snakes in ways that I’d need to have both ends of him in my hand to turn him over and check out the scales on his belly to give him (or her) its proper name. I knew he wasn’t poisonous, but I didn’t want to handle him without gloves. He was a very energetic snake… Nearly climbed out of the deep bucket before I could get him outside the house.
That was a surprise, sitting down to eat and there he was! Had fleeting thoughts of leaving him there to catch flies for us… but he wouldn’t have stayed there…  Besides, if any one of these guesses is right, he would have wanted a diet of eggs, small snakes and lizards. Hope he decreases the Copperhead population.


Filed under cats, gardening, wildlife

4 responses to “The (Rat, King, Coachwhip) Snake who came to breakfast

  1. and to think I was upset to have a mouse in my house!

    • Add the snake and you have the whole cycle!
      Yes, I am kidding! I’m sure Mr. Snake was relieved to be back outside again. I have cats who do a pretty good job with the mice in the garage where we keep sheep feed and bird seed. The vet says I can’t use poison or if the cats get their mouth around one, even if they don’t eat it, the poison is in the mouse’s fur. YUK. I’m putting mousetraps where the cats can’t step on them… No snakes in the garage!

  2. Well, that must have been quite a surprise this morning! Yikes!

    • Much easier to cope with than the cottonmouth coiled inside the pasture gate spitting at our dogs a month later! That one frightened me. I don’t mind the benign ones, my “cheap” employees, who eat up pests in the garden and yard. Not so much welcome inside the house, however!

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