Sunday, September 30, 2007

Snake Visitation Day


There were a few small, green garden snakes and a few large black snakes that lived with us in Maryland. Since then, I haven’t seen a snake at my house until today. We live on a small fraction of an acre in suburbia so who would have thought they’ve been living with us for a while?


The sound of a grown man screaming like a girl is hilarious. He was pulling weeds around the hydrangeas (which, by the way did not produce flowers this year) when I saw him jump back. I guess I would have jumped back, too. My role as house photographer went into immediate action and I directed him to fetch a rake. He came back with a shovel. Hellooo? I knew his heart was pounding and he just couldn’t think. I commented, “Unless you intend to chop its head off, go get the rake. The heavy one!” The rake didn’t work. We lost the snake. You can’t be timid when relocating a snake. I know from experience.


Chloe has had her head in the same garden for days and now I know why. She’s a skillful hunter and recognizes the musky smell of a nervous snake, unlike her sister,


Bella, who fears a hunt and would rather keep herself safe within her hula hoop or behind my legs.

Two hours later…


We have numerous lizards and toads around the house and this poor Skink was about to be called dinner, by this:


Another snake? Two snakes in one day? It looks like a common garter snake to me – no danger. But I’m not quite sure yet.


I had my camera. I had to take a chance. Not knowing if it was deadly or if it would strike, I sat down anyway and scooted two feet away from the pretty snake and whispered, “Let’s see a little snaky lick”. Success!

It became heavenly cool this weekend! Overnight temps in the 50’s and daytime highs in the 80’s probably made the snakes move. They are also very thirsty and I have what they need. Our drought is beyond being called severe or extreme. We are in real danger here and I’m not exaggerating. I read David’s post from Leave Me Alone I’m Digging and I loved it. His frustration with the heat and drought here in NC is shared but entertaining at the same time.


Irrigation systems and spinklers are prohibited, making the pond an oasis. A Mockingbird insisted I leave before taking a dip.


Early evening mirrors the golden sunset on cool water.


The cool evening air invited me to spend a little time to photograph a Canna’s reflection.


It’s out of focus but I like it. We still have some life to see and for that, I am thankful. Now, I'm heading outdoors again to breathe the fresh air and to enjoy the end of summer. It's 6:24 p.m. I need to go see the sunset in an hour.


Q said...

Dear Mary,
Wow! Your snake photos are wonderful! They always are surprising when we see them too. Lizards are very cool. Wow, the reptiles were out in force.
Glad you had a cool down at last.
Now for some nice October rain.
I love Mockingbird. Mine returned. He is singing and claiming his territory. I hope he stays all winter.
Your pond is BEAUTIFUL!
Enjoy the sunset.
Happy October.

Carol Michel said...

Mary, you are so brave around the snakes. I don't like snakes. I don't know what I would do if I found one in my garden. I'd scream like a girl, which would be okay, since I'm a girl!

Love the other photos, too, but my favorite is the snake lick. Slurp! Slither! Run!

Carol at May Dreams Gardens

thailandchani said...

Wow.. that's amazing. :) Great pictures as always. I take it the weather is cooling down there a bit?

Hope you are well.


Ruth said...

I read this post once and your pictures are great...too good for me! I will have nightmares about snakes in the garden if I linger longer.

KGMom said...

Oh Mary--be careful with those snakes. Some friends of ours have a daughter living in NC, and she was bitten by a copperhead that was IN HER HOUSE! She was rushed to the ER and given anti-venom. Their dog was also bitten.
Our friend (who is a pediatrician) told us that NC has more snake bites than any other state in the U.S.
So, be careful.

~Red Tin Heart~ said...

Mary, I loved the photos. I hate snakes though. I am not scared of them I just don't like them. xo Nita

Anonymous said...

Wow those are such stunning shots and I really love the up close shots! BRAVO

Mary said...

Sherry, we have dozens of Mockingbirds! You are welcome to them! New birds are here... :o) Now I will be outside more often. I want a new camera. I'm praying for rain.

Carol, it was so exciting! I don't want them, but I love to look at them.

Chani, the weather is finally cooling down after 80 days of 90+ temps. We're all ready for this. Rain will help.

Ruth, I also saw a BABY snake. It was not a worm - it was a snake about 4 inches long. We need to keep an eye on this...

Donna, I know... We'll be very careful. I'm outside often and will takes notes. It makes me shiver to think they might be living in the crawlspace or under the deck.

Nita, snakes can be good for keeping mice under control but I'd rather have them living elsewhere!

Monarch, very carefully... I needed that SHOT!

Mary C said...

Mary, it's good you stayed calm. And I'd say you're brave or "nuts!" But those are fantastic shots. BTW, I'll take at least one of your mockingbirds - I love to listen to them sing. ;o)

Mary said...

Mary, the Mockingbirds aren't loud and irritating anymore. They sing beautifully now and I do appreciate them more. Yeah, I'm nuts and very curious.

Lynne at Hasty Brook said...

Cool snake pix May!! You're a brave gal to get so close for that tongue shot to share with us. I'm so happy that it's cooled off for you down there. It's about time.

Susan Gets Native said...

First of all, let me say "Holy shit, you have big hairy cojones" and second, the first snake looks like a black rat snake. How long was it?
And the second one could be a garter...did it have lateral yellow or whitish stripes down it's body?
Third, you take the best pictures. Really.

cat59 said...

Amazing photos as usual. I'm with Bella though--I wouldn't want anything to do with those snakes! To where did you relocate them? Yes; we enjoyed the weather this weekend, too. Thankfully, I didn't see any snakes!!

Mary said...

Linne, yeah, I'm relieved. We sleep with the windows open for the first time since May. Whew.

Susan, I don't have conjones but maybe I'm just a little dim... can't resist getting up close and personal :o) The Black Snake is about two feet long and the Garter Snake did have yellow strips along its body, about 18 inches. They are still here! Eeeeks! Been here for a while, I reckon.

Susie said...

I don't mind seeing the photos of the snakes, but that's as close as I want to come! The sun reflected in your pond is really gorgeous!

LauraHinNJ said...

Shouldn't you be afraid of snakes?

Beautiful pics by the way - especially that close-up of the snakes head! And sweet Bella in her hoola hoop - awww!

RuthieJ said...

Hi Mary,
I was going to ask if that was a black rat snake and Susan answered my question. I hear they like to eat birds and bird eggs, so keep an eye out next spring!

But my favorite picture was Bella inside her hula hoop force field. Good girl, Bella!

I'm glad your weather has cooled down a little. I will try to send some of our rain your way....

dmmgmfm said...

Wow, Mary, wonderful photos (no surprise there). You really have a knack.


Anonymous said...

Mary, I almost missed your lovely pond photos because the snakes make me close my eyes! Oh, they give me the shivers!!!!

Chrissie said...

Hello, Mary. Love your pics of the skink and snakes! Brilliant.

Jayne said...

I haven't seen any snakes here, but I know they are around. You are a very brave girl getting that tongue shot! Your pond is so very beautiful Mary. We're finally having cool mornings too. Ahhhh... blessed relief.

Unknown said...

Great post Mary and wonderful photos.
I can picture you there sitting and inching closer and closer to get that great shot.
I love your description of your husband. That would have been my husband also. As for me I would have jumped even farther.
Wishing you rain.

Beth said...


Okay, just had to vent here. Good pics, actually...and Ruthie's comment about the 'hula hoop force field'? Too funny!

I dreamed about Bella and Chloe last night! They were such happy dogs, even in my dreams. That's a first for me - a blog dream. How cool is that?

Mary said...


I'm glad Chloe & Bella made for a happy dream. I have had dreams of people in blogland before. It's remarkable to dream about people I've never seen in person!

JeanMac said...

Poor Michael! Your pictures are award winning!

Lynne at Hasty Brook said...

HAHAHA! Hula hoop force field! Good one Ruthie!!

NatureWoman said...

Your snake story cracked me up, Mary! Ohhh, I love how close you got to the 2nd snake!! Your photos are awesome, once again!

dguzman said...

Scary snake photos! I've seen only 1 very skinny snake at our house, and I escorted him (read: chased him slowly) into the marsh and then filled up his little under-the-house hole with pebbles. Haven't seen him since, thank goodness.

Your photos are tops as usual. I share your desire for a new camera, but oh my gosh, I mentioned it to Kat the other day, and you'd have thought I'd just told her I needed a new girlfriend! See, she picked my current camera (Nikon CP-4800) out after doing a lot of research and then surprised me with it for my birthday, so she took it kinda personally that I was "already looking for something better!" after only a year. Sigh. So much for that Canon Rebel xti....

Julie Zickefoose said...

Yes, the second snake's a garter, but I was thrilled to see that the first one is a hognose snake--mealanistic to boot (that means it's darker than the normal one.)
See how the tail is curled in a perfect circle, how thick the body is, and relatively short? The large head and particularly the upturned elfin nose are all trademarks of the hognose--one of my very favorite snakes. Very gentle, but it will flatten itself like a cobra when it's frightened. Both garter and hognose are nonpoisonous and non aggressive.
The canna/reflection photo is particularly lovely.
I'm having trouble with your captions--they get bigger and bigger until they're something like 60 pt. type. Is it just me or do others have this problem? And what on earth could cause it?

kate said...

Those are great snake pictures. I like snakes - well, of the non-poisonous variety. We don't have any poisonous snakes around here although we have garter snakes. Lytton is always fascinated by them if we come across them on a walk. He can sniff one out in no time.

Your pond looks lovely ... a little oasis in the midst of what sounds like a desert these days.

I'm glad it is cooling down there!

Mary said...

Oh snakes give me the heeby-jeebies! The photographs are wonderful. I do hope you get some rain soon Mary

nina at Nature Remains. said...

Snakes! I've not seen our resident black rat snake for a long while. Sadly, I'll miss him--he's a great mouser--I'd have to resort to traps if he were to leave us.
It's always a good idea to know the poisonous ones in your region and keep your distance--but those you found are good neighbors to have.

Larry said...

funny-spiders bother me, but I like lizards and snakes.-Nice photos as always!