Blissfully Snake-Infested


You know you’re a hopeless tree-hugger if …

… you are tickled all to pieces when you see three different snakes within 100 yards of your house within as many days.

I pulled back the black plastic to finish up the late spring ritual of putting the wood stacks to simmer and dry under cover over the warm months. There sat this creature–in no hurry to move off–so I ran inside to grab my camera. This one seemed to be molting (notice the eyes look sort of gray and cloudy–they molt the surface of the eye as well, which you’ll notice if you find a shed snake skin. They sometimes get a little testy–even good-dispositioned  rat snakes–when they molt.

Notice in the insert the keeled scales. There’s not much pattern, but I think this is a gray rat snake. The other two  snakes this week–under the cover over last year’s gardening donkey manure pile–were a king snake and a corn snake within two feet of each other.

Life is good.

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Fred First holds masters degrees in Vertebrate Zoology and physical therapy, and has been a biology teacher and physical therapist by profession. He moved to southwest Virginia in 1975 and to Floyd County in 1997. He maintains a daily photo-blog, broadcasts essays on the Roanoke NPR station, and contributes regular columns for the Floyd Press and Roanoke's Star Sentinel. His two non-fiction books, Slow Road Home and his recent What We Hold in Our Hands, celebrate the riches that we possess in our families and communities, our natural bounty, social capital and Appalachian cultures old and new. He has served on the Jacksonville Center Board of Directors and is newly active in the Sustain Floyd organization. He lives in northeastern Floyd County on the headwaters of the Roanoke River.

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  1. A king snake and a corn snake within two feet of each other? I would worry about the safety of the corn snake – you may only have two snakes near your house by now! It must be a good week for snakes – I posted earlier this week about the snake in our barn.

  2. WOW! I am a little surprised… I was SHOCKED when my husband and I hiked Buffalo Mountain in your area and crossed the “Rattlesnake Crossing” area!