I prefer winter and Fall, when you feel the bone structure of the landscape — the loneliness of it, the dead feeling of winter. Something waits beneath it, the whole story doesn’t show. ~Andrew Wyeth

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Snake Encounter: A chance meeting. (Not for the squeamish.)

Yesterday I drove to town. When I got about half way up to the highway, I saw something in the road. I realized that it was a snake, so I pulled over.
This is snake country. We only have one really poisonous snake here. That's the Rattlesnake. We have lots of them, but we also have the gopher snake that, at a distance, can look much like a Rattler.
So my next move was one of caution.
You never confront a snake in the road, without checking to see what it is. We have lots of gopher snakes in this area that look a lot like a Rattlesnake. They are both beautiful snakes but one can leave you in a world of hurt and there better be a hospital near by.
There are very distinct differences which are really good to know wherever you live.
Here they are...
This image really shows you how the heads and bodies differ.
I walked up to this snake and took a good look at it.
It was a beautiful ol' gopher snake being very still and it seemed cooperative.
"Hello there, snake."

No snake every looks really friendly. From their biblical reputation, most folks think that this is a sly, conniving and dangerous dark angel, that would offer you an apple and change your life forever. But it's not.
It's one of the most interesting reptiles that we have around here and I have gotten use to living in their world. 
This one seemed a little non- responsive, but I think it was either sunning itself (you know how you feel after lying in the sun on the beach? Warm, sleepy...) or it just came out of its hole from hibernated all winter. Either way, it seemed all right with me taking its picture and I was able to get some great shots. It didn't move... except for its black tongue, which was moving back and forth. It knew that something was there and this "something" was about to be a problem.
I finished with the "photo shoot" and reached down to touch its tail. I gently encouraged the snake to get off the road and be safe. While it didn't appear to mind me being there, it did not like being touched. That was a no-no.
It turned around, started shaking its tail like it was a big, mean Rattler and moved away from me, into the grass.
And then... it turned around and starts out to the road again. Like, "Hey lady... I was nice and warm out there and you are getting on my nerves."
I knew it was going to have to be woman against snake here. I move in front of the snake near the edge of the road. Like a weird game of checkers... the snake moved, then I did... and again we danced. Then the snake, wondering what the heck was going on, stopped and only moved its head from one side to the other.
  Snakes really can see.( I looked this up.) It's a misconception that snakes cannot see. They can, but they are very near sighted and they have trouble seeing things that aren't moving. Snakes have cones in their retinas which perceives color in hues and shades. He knew I was there by my actions and possibly, my plaid shirt. Whatever it was that wasn't letting this snake back onto the warm tarmac was getting on its last nerve and I guess that I had exceeded the bounds of what the snake was going to tolerate. 
In the photo above.... Can you see the hole in the upper right corner? Well, this snake saw an out. This snake was tired of playing checkers with me and it moved like greased lightening into that hole. I mean that snake moved so fast that I almost didn't get this photo below. He was ~Gone in Sixty Seconds~ ( even less..). Nicolas Cage would have been amazed. 
 I love the way my camera caught the speed of the snake moving into that hole. You can't even see the diamond pattern on its skin as it made its move. I love this camera. I love this environment.
So, I looked down the hole and didn't even see a tail. I got back into the car and drove into town. On my way back home, I looked for the snake, but there was no snake anywhere near the previous point of encounter. Guess it decided to find a more hospitable place to catch the sun. 
Today it's overcast and much cooler. I suspect that the snakes stay underground on days like this... but you never know. You always keep an eye out for them around here. I thought about it when I went out to feed the chickens this morning. You never reach into the egg boxes without looking first. Snakes LOVE eggs.
Well, now that I have given you all the heebe geebe's... Have a nice day.


  1. Beautiful & fascinating close shot of the intricate patterns on his back. Snakes are amazing creatures, and you captured that.


  2. Best snake photos EVER!! How lucky for you to get so close...we seem to have lots of big garter snakes in the garden this year and they say that's a sign of a healthy garden...yay! Now if only I could persuade those darn wasps from building nests everywhere I look!.
    I also love that action shot! Almost makes a "swooshing" sound!

  3. You are a very brave lady. I would never have gotten out of the car to check the snake out. Your pictures are great especially the one of the snake going into the hole. Have a blessed evening and take care. Madeline

  4. Great photos, I almost stepped on a King Snake in my driveway last week when it was almost dark.

    Last year I read on Sand Flats Farm blog they put golf balls in their hens nest box, for dummy eggs, snake swallowed 6 golf balls.

  5. No heebee geebees here; GREAT photos! But I'm glad I don't live there. ;-)

  6. ok when it dove into the hole i might have passed out...ha...actually snakes are very beautiful...you have to be careful but the same can be said of many creatures...

  7. wow, i love your new camera too...amazing photos.

  8. You did indeed give me the heebeegeebies Farmlady you know how I feel about reptiles I make no secret of it! In Aus the snakes are mostly VERY dangerous, deadly, & here in AZ we have all the rattlers. I could NOT live where you do, no ma'am! But kudos to you for your courage and the pics.
    My oldest son removes the rattlers from his yard to a few miles distant, he's a good guy!


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