One of These Things is Not Like the Other

Corn snakes are not common but not unknown on Goose Creek

Can you find the rope that doesn’t belong?

I was working on a blog post, but took a minute to take a piece of nylon rope out to the shed. I discovered a short length of rope a did not remembering hanging in that part of the shed. It had eyes.

At a gut-response level, it caused a reaction of COPPERHEAD! what with the blotched pattern. But it has a ratsnake head, because it is a form of rat snake genus called a CORN SNAKE.

Beautiful, isn’t it? And these snakes have the reputation of being quite docile, so maybe we’ll repeat this acquaintance when the grand daughters are here–which is likely to be the sum total of what consumes me and any blogging I’m able to do for the next ten days.

You were warned, unlike me this morning, hanging up the rope. YIKES!

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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. Ohmygosh Fred! That IS a surprise! And a beautiful one. I think they’re often mistaken for copperheads down here, especially since there appears to be a lot of variation in coloring in this species.

    The barn where Kitty and Claire ride has frequent reptilian visitors (large black snakes, mostly), and fortunately the gals are all savvy enough about the benefits of having them around that that they don’t immediately rush for the nearest pitchfork. The horses certainly don’t seem to mind.

  2. I should tell those of you worrying about the fate of the remaining three hens that lived in our henhouse this time last week: we returned them to more secure quarters at the neighbor we got them from–until they become too big to even attempt to eat, at least by the same snake, who must have been either quite large, or had a very large self-image. This little corn snake would have to grow quite a bit to think about downing anything bigger than a robin’s egg. I do hope we can find this corn snake while the grand daughters are here.