Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Another close encounter

Snake crop  Of the snake kind, this time. As I came home from walking I saw a teeny-tiny king snake on the steps outside the front porch. He was seven or eight inches long and the diameter of a pencil. When I tried to move him with my walking stick, he coiled and began furiously vibrating his little tail. “I’m a big, scary rattlesnake!” he said.

He slithered up the bricks and under the weather stripping, so I had to open the door and evict him from the porch. He continued to shake his imaginary rattles at me.

According to my reptile book, “some species are excitable when first encountered, and vibrate the tail, hiss, and strike.” I wonder how this trait developed, evolutionarily speaking. My guess is it is a mimicking behavior and maybe does scare some animals into thinking they have met up with a rattlesnake.

Below is a baby king snake from my rose garden, disguised as an irrigation hose; the picture above is of a more mature one I saw on the back porch a couple of summers ago.

Rose snake 5-15-2009 5-26-31 AM 1966x979


  1. First tarantulas, now this? It's a jungle out there! Or, anyway, a desert.

  2. BEEOOTIFUL King Snake. Thank you. I have always liked snakes -- and respected them. I don't get too close unless I know they are non-poisonous. They feel so silky and are quite beautiful in motion. My daughter likes the Hog Nosed Snake, not because they are beautiful - they aren't - but because of their determination to fake being dead, so that, if you turn one over when he has flopped on his back, he will flop over again, "see -- I'm DEAD!"

  3. Is that your translation of the king snake quote?

  4. I used to have an Arizona Mountain King snake, but my cat let it out and I never found it again. Quite beautiful, red, white and black coloring. He ate little mice. Cute little, white mice. Maybe the cate was jealous.