Wednesday, May 22, 2013

King Snake or Copperhead?

My first snake of the season slinked across my path today as I came from the carport to my front door.

A shiver ran up my spine. Unlike what I would have done some years ago, I stopped and observed his slow progress until he disappeared under the rhododendron bushes. 
My thoughts were, Oh, I hope this is not a copperhead. The whole body is a bit copper-colored, but his head is not shaped like a pit viper. I don't think it is. 
He has no rings on his slender body, just a blotched reddish-gray pattern. Should I kill it? I don't want to kill it if it isn't poisonous. Oh, well, by the time I find something to kill it with, it will be gone. It might be a king snake but I think a king snake is black. I am going to have to be careful walking in my yard!
Even if it isn't a poisonous snake, it can make me hurt myself if it surprises me in a place I don't expect to see it.

After it cleared the path, I hurried inside and went to my computer. After lots of searching through snakes in North Carolina, I am sure it is a mole kingsnake. It looks just like the one in the photo on this page. I have learned something new. I had never known there was a mole kingsnake. The info on this guy says he is often killed because we humans confuse him with a copperhead. I certainly did at first. I'm glad he is not a copperhead. I am deathly afraid of them, and would not want one in my yard. 

The mole kingsnake eats rodents, lizards, birds, and hides out during the day, usually. So, I might not see him again even though he lives here. I would be happy if he stayed well hidden. My mother instilled an irrational fear of snakes in me. I just can't help but want to flee when I see one.


DJan said...

Good for you for figuring out what the snake actually is and not allowing your fear to win over rationality. I actually like snakes as long as they aren't where I might step! :-)

Lise said...

When we were kids, we used to have snakes for pets, because my mom was highly allergic to furry friends. We had a boa constrictor at one point that grew to 6 feet! We ended up adopting it out because it was still growing and it wasn't fun to feed it the types of food it needed anymore (rabbits and chickens). But those experiences helped me not be fearful of snakes. Glad you discovered this one wasn't poisonous, he'll help keep unwanted critters out of your carport!

Anonymous said...

Although I've lived in Wyoming for years, a snake is a snake is a snake. When I was growing up in Arizona, someone gave me a rubber snake as a Christmas gift. It was the most disgusting thing I'd ever touched, and I had little to do with it. Here in Sheridan, I've never encountered snakes while walking around town which is probably just as well since I might accidentally kill a harmless one with my white cane.

Glenda Beall said...

I owe my late husband for making me realize that all snakes are not harmful. He was a boy scout and an outdoorsman so he knew all about nature including snakes. But he did shoot a five foot rattler that was trying to get into our house down on the farm. My little orange cat was stalking this monster reptile until I ran out and grabbed her up. That story will be in my memoir.

Glenda Beall said...

Lise, I knew a girl who had a pet snake. One day she had it in the car and it got away and hid in the car for over a week. The problem was - the car didn't belong to her, but to my niece who had to drive around with the snake loose in her car never knowing when it would appear. My niece said she hated to watch her room mate feed mice to the snake. I don't think I could have lived in a room with a snake.

Vicki Lane said...

He's a beauty, Glenda. Good for you for taking the time to find out what he is. By the way, his round pupils are anotherr clue that he's non=poisonous. The pit vipers have vertical pupils.