Surprise Visitor: Kingsnake on the Potting Shelf

King Snake cruising the garden shed

I make a quick run out to the garden shed to drop off some empty planting flats, and had one of those reptile-induced oh-crap rushes just before I put the flats down on top of this 4+ foot king snake.

He was cooperative enough to stay in place while I ran back the house for my camera.

He’s welcome to all the rodents and Phoebes he can eat, but it would be nice if he’d let me know he’s coming so I don’t embarrass myself squealing like a city dude when he surprises me like that.

Also in the herpetological news from Goose Creek: there was a two-lined salamander perched on the chicken’s extra water bowl just outside their pen this morning. Kewl.

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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. Wow. Great photo, beautiful snake. Yes, it’s good to let the king live. I understand they also take care of the “bad” snakes. No, I don’t handle snakes, but they are great to look at and watch.
    Salamanders are interesting also.
    Too bad about your chickens. I say go big time……get 15 more chickens………you never know till you give it a chance………Ha !!!

    Maybe the dog needs more meat in his diet….. 🙂

    Take care

  2. My guess is he decided to retire from the party early and sought out some peace and quiet. I’m glad he didn’t retire to the house or else you really would have heard a city-squeal!

  3. I’m glad rural people also squeal when surprised by a snake. Even this city girl, once I’m prepared, enjoys watching a snake.

  4. We’ve had several garter snakes in our yard, and I try to move them if they’re near where I’m working. Thankfully they’re the only snakes I’ve had in my yard or anywhere near the house to this point. I’ve also tried to clear the thick underbrush within 50-100 feet of the house to reduce the chances of them breeding too close by. BUt, the vacant parcel behind us that’s impossible to fully maintain provides plenty of shelter for them top be all snakey and live…and the rodents they don’t take care of, our cats do.